“War must not be glorified, but war must be remembered.” Friedrich St. Florian set out to do just that. His design of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. remembers not only the sacrifices of American fighting men and women in that war, but the home front contributions to victory as well. The National Mall presents the site upon which to stage this feat of memory, one of our country’s most sacred groves and most prominent plains. It’s difficult to imagine a more meaningful or challenging location.
The National Mall is every American’s town green. It’s the courthouse square of America. With the Nation watching, Friedrich St. Florian set about meeting the high standards, and even higher expectations, to design and build something equal in scale to the sacrifices of what’s been called, “America’s Greatest Generation.”
Born in Austria in 1933, Friedrich St. Florian mastered a degree in architecture in 1958 at the Technical University in his home town of Graz. Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1961 to study at Columbia University’s School of Architecture he received a Master’s Degree in Urban Design before joining the architecture faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1963.
Friedrich became an American citizen in 1973 while working on a fellowship at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies. He served RISD as Dean of Architectural Studies for eleven years (1978?1988) and was acting Provost from 1981 to 1984. In addition, he has taught in London, New York, Boston, Montreal, and Austin.
Educator and administrator, Friedrich none?the?less found time and energy to pursue a wide range of architectural work encompassing large-scale commissions, such as project architect for the Providence Place mall, as well as designer for private residences throughout Rhode Island. His designs are now included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris.
His monumental achievement in overcoming all challenges–physical and political–at the National World War II Memorial has put our entire nation in his debt.