The Pritzker Military Museum & Library has selected Los Angeles-based Oyler Wu Collaborative as the winner of an international design competition that aims to honor members of the United States Armed Forces who served during the Cold War. The winning design, titled Orbits, embodies the "dedication, optimism, and hope that is emblematic of the veterans' enduring spirit", as the structure emerges from the ground to become an architectural tribute to the war veterans.
In April 2021, the Chicago-based Pritzker Military Museum & Library, launched an international competition for the new Cold War Veterans Memorial as a part of the Pritzker Archives & Memorial Park Center (PAMPC) project. The competition was a two-stage juried process: the first was an open call to submit design concepts, and the second gave finalists the chance to further evolve their concepts to create fully defined designs.
The competition's guiding vision was to create permanent structure that pays tribute to the ongoing thoughts and studies that honor American military members and civilians who served and sacrificed during the Cold War era (1945-1991). In line with the Pritzker Military Museum & Library’s mission, the memorial aims to increase the public understanding of military history, and highlight how it has contributed to modern times.
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The design challenge was to provide a conceptual design for the Cold War Veterans Memorial that "embraces the mission statement, exemplifies the guiding vision, and achieves the design goals authored by the Cold War Veterans Memorial Steering Committee". As explained by Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu, founders of Oyler Wu Collaborative, the winning entry draws inspiration from a range of artifacts and imagery from the Cold War, and creates an immersive experience that evoked by a set of circular ‘orbits’ through the landscape.
The final decision was tough, but after much discussion, we believe that the Orbits design will truly resemble a place where everyone who contributed to the Cold War will be honored. This memorial is special and very dear to many because people who sacrificed during this era are not recognized enough. Our goal is to make sure that our gratitude to these individuals is signified through this project. -- Col. Jennifer Pritzker, Founder of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library.
The Jury commended Orbits' discovery-inviting imagery, which respects the site and gives visitors a variety of paths and experiences that can be explored.
Late 2020, Oyler Wu Collaborative and Taiwanese partner Ren Lai Architects won a competition to re-envision the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan. The winning design was selected among entries by Asif Khan with C.M.Chao Architects, Sou Fujimoto Architects with WSAA Design Team, and Liao Architects and Associates, as it proposed a new exterior that seeks to "reconnect the building with its evolving context".