The Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation (GWOTMF) today announced that its Board of Directors has chosen the award-winning Marlon Blackwell Architects to design the Global War on Terrorism Memorial to be built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This selection is the culmination of a thorough process, outlined here, which began summer 2022 with the evaluation of 177 American and international firms.
“Marlon Blackwell Architects possess the ability, credibility, and humility to lead the design of an inclusive and reverent Memorial,” said Foundation President and CEO Michael “Rod” Rodriguez.
Marlon’s proven track record as a world-class designer, combined with his personal experiences in a family with a history of military service, will contribute to a design that serves as a lasting tribute to the courage and sacrifice of all who have served in the Global War on Terrorism — especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.-Foundation President and CEO Michael “Rod” Rodriguez.
The American Institute of Architects honored Blackwell with the 2020 Gold Medal, the organization’s highest honor, recognizing “an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.”
The Foundation also announced the creation of the Design Advisory Council (DAC), a body of Gold Star family members, veterans, and other Global War on Terrorism stakeholders. “The Design Advisory Council will help ensure that the Memorial reflects the experiences of all who have served and sacrificed in this ongoing conflict,” Rodriguez said. “The Foundation’s top priority is to have Marlon Blackwell Architects spend time with the DAC to receive the inspiration for a design rooted in shared experiences in the Global War on Terrorism.” We are pleased that the authorization for a site for the Memorial on the National Mall is in line with our schedule, and that foundational element will help shape the work of Marlon Blackwell Architects and the DAC in the months to come.”
“It’s a great and humble honor for our firm to design the Global War on Terrorism Memorial,” said Marlon Blackwell. “It is a profound opportunity to provide a place to honor all those who have served and sacrificed to defend our country against terrorism, along with the many individuals and families who have been impacted by this conflict with no clear end in sight. Our firm will create a place of reverence, reflection, and restoration which fulfills the Foundation’s vision and mission.”
“The Board of Directors was impressed by Marlon Blackwell’s passion for the project and illustrious résumé,” said Board Chair Ted Skokos. “Our Foundation’s mission is to honor, heal, empower, and unite. Marlon Blackwell Architects is completely in sync with those tenets, and we look forward to working closely with them to bring this Memorial to life. The Board of Directors would also like to thank the other finalists for their outstanding presentations. It was a difficult decision, and we wish them the greatest success in their work.”
About Marlon Blackwell Architects
Since 1992, Marlon Blackwell Architects has designed award-winning, environmentally responsive projects for its clients, earning the 2016 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture and the 2020 AIA Gold Medal. The firm believes that architecture can happen anywhere, at any scale, at any budget – for anyone – which results in challenging the conventions and models that often obscure other possibilities. MBA advocates a participatory, collaborative design process between the client, contractors, and architect, where all voices are heard from conceptualization to the realization of each project. In every instance, the firm strives to express the richness of place and the ideals of its people and institutions. Meryati Johari Blackwell, Marlon’s wife, is also a Principal and Director of Interiors at Marlon Blackwell Architects, headquartered in Fayetteville, Arkansas.