The National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial, soon to be constructed at the National Mall, has entered the final design phase. Located near the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial, this new monument will commemorate the international unity of the U.S.-led coalition that freed the peaceful nation of Kuwait in 1991. The memorial will provide education about this historical event, identify the coalition of nations that united to liberate Kuwait, and present a landscape-oriented design inspired by the unique environmental and battle conditions of 1991. With construction completion anticipated for 2024, VHB is providing survey, civil engineering, and coordination of agency approvals.
At the onset of the memorial design process, the design team engaged with veterans to find out what they believe was the most historically significant accomplishment, what should be memorialized for posterity, and what this memorial should look like and symbolize. Their input was incorporated within the design through various elements, resulting in commemorative themes designed to leave visitors with an appreciation for the achievement, America’s leadership, and historical significance of the war.
VHB’s Metro DC Managing Director, Joe Wanat, is a decorated Desert Storm Veteran, making this project especially meaningful to VHB. “This project is personal for me being a Desert Storm Veteran myself,” said Wanat. “Like me, there are service members and families who were directly impacted by this significant event in history and need a place to reflect, mourn, and celebrate. VHB is honored to play a role in contributing to such a necessary space to educate and inspire the millions of visitors that visit our National Mall each year.”
As a teaming partner to CSO Architects and The OLIN Studio, VHB’s services include survey and utilities investigation, guidance for agency permitting, schematic design, and construction documents. Original design and site selection work began in 2015, with an official site dedication ceremony in 2019 attended by the current Kuwait Ambassador in Washington, DC, the former U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, and former Vice President Dick Cheney. As no tax dollars or government assistance can be used to build the memorial, the National Desert Storm Memorial Association has relied solely on the generosity of citizens, companies, and organizations to fully fund this mission.
In addition to the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial, VHB’s experience at the National Mall includes site and civil engineering for the World War I Memorial, accessibility improvements at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial restoration.