She Pritzker Museum and Library, a non-profit organization in Chicago, has selected “Oyler Wu Collaborative” (a Los Angeles-based firm) as the winner of the cold war memorial competition as a part of the Pritzker archives and memorial park center (PAMPC) project. The main goal of the design competition is to establish a timeless and exceptional memorial that will honor veterans’ service.

The challenge of the design was to provide a conceptual design that adopts the mission statement, represents the vision, and achieves the goals rendered by the Cold War Veterans Memorial Steering Committee.

Cold War Veterans Memorial in Wisconsin to be designed by Oyler Wu Collaborative - Sheet1
Concept design_©Oyler Wu Collaborative

Objective of the Cold War Memorial | Oyler Wu

Cold War:

Between 1945 and 1991, the U.S. and Soviet Union were engaged in a battle of distinct visions for arranging their societies and the world. Most Americans made immense sacrifices for the welfare of the country; the Cold war shaped the nation’s history.

Objective of memorial:

The cold war memorial aims to be a significant piece of Memorial Park Centre in Somers, Wisconsin, and to increase public understanding of military history. In addition, the cold war Veterans memorial’s objective is to give permanent recognition to the immense sacrifices made by Americans in Défense of attaining freedom and democracy so that the history of the era continues to be known to future generations. It is also an understanding of how history shapes the present and future.

The purpose of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library is to acquire and maintain a collection of materials on history, books collection, develop programs focusing on warriors, and stories of armed forces who served the country for the preservation of democracy.

About the winning architects

The firm “Oyler Wu Collaborative” was established by architects Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu in 2004 and is well known for experimentation in design, material research, and fabrication. They have won diverse awards such as the Xenia S.Miller Prize, American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture, etc., and many others. The firm approaches architecture and design with an expository and precise intent that challenges the vision of the built environment.

“What makes the idea of the Cold War Veterans Memorial so interesting is the broad cultural meaning that it evokes,” said Wu. “One significant challenge in the design of any memorial is in finding a balance between the desire to create a collective public experience – one that might be found in an iconic image, for example, versus a more intimate moment of reflection, “added Oyler.

The Winning Design – “Orbits” | Oyler Wu

The competition was launched on April 1, 2021, followed by two-stage entries, reviews, briefs, submittals, and presentations, and the final results were declared on March 22, 2022. The competition was a two-staged process – the first stage was to submit design concepts, and the latter was to evolve their ideas into designs. The winning design entitled “Orbits” will be like a 10-year project development in the village of Somers, Kenosha County, Wisconsin.

The members of the Competition Jury are Brigadier General Clara L.Adams-Ender, U.S Army, ret; Edwin Fountain, General Counsel; Jean A.Mansavage, Ph.D.; Thomas R Oslund, FASLA, FAAR; Harvey Pratt & Gina Pratt; Moshe Safdie, FAIA, FRAIC, OAA, SIA; and Christopher Sturdevant.

It was selected over three other finalists in stage II namely:

  1. Infinite Life by Architects of AMDL circle in Milan, Italy.
  2. The conflict by m+j architects’ studio in Jordan.
  3. External circulation by Shinsaku Munemoto & Associates in Kyoto, Japan. 
Cold War Veterans Memorial in Wisconsin to be designed by Oyler Wu Collaborative - Sheet2
Concept Design_©Oyler Wu collaborative
Cold War Veterans Memorial in Wisconsin to be designed by Oyler Wu Collaborative - Sheet3
Concept Design_©Oyler Wu Collaborative

“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 – Co. Jennifer Pritzker, Founder of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.

Cold War Veterans Memorial in Wisconsin to be designed by Oyler Wu Collaborative - Sheet4
Concept Design_©Oyler Wu Collaborative

Oyler Wu Collaborative’s design not only addresses the mission and vision of design goals for the memorial but also serves as an attraction to visitors. The structure rises from the earth at an angle and the elements – pathways and circulation, walls, and seating spaces integrate with the circular forms and thus blend with the surrounding space.

Concept design_©Oyler Wu Collaborative

The elements, materials include – a concrete foundation laid on compact earth and Piles, a Buttress retaining wall, concrete piles capped into the foundation, stone panels on retaining walls, framing for stone and paneling, board-formed cast in place concrete, formed stone panels, stone paving walking paths, Corten panels and mesh that reveals the structure.

On the whole ,the proposed design “Orbits” manifests the dedication, optimism, and hope that is a remarkable characteristic of the Veteran’s spirit. The structure itself emerges from the ground that becomes an architectural tribute to them. 


  1. “Pritzker Military Museum & Library Announces Selected Design In International Design Competition For The Cold War Veterans Memorial”. Cold War Veterans Memorial, 2022,
  2. “Military Photos, Books, Posters, & Exhibits | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago”. Pritzkermilitary.Org, 2022,
  3. 2022,
  4. “Oyler Wu Collaborative Selected To Design Cold War Veterans Memorial In Wisconsin”. Archdaily, 2022,,served%20during%20the%20Cold%20War.

Sahithi is an Indian-based Architect and Interior designer. While Architecture is her profession, writing is her passion and makes her feel compelling. She believes writing about Architecture can bring a positive change and develop a sensitivity towards culture and Heritage.Despite these,she loves traveling.