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Ike Memorial Review: More Detail Needed

Thursday, January 26, 2017

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One of the federal agencies charged with giving the “all clear” to the revised design of the President Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial has a few more questions before doing so, reports say.

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts stopped short Monday (Jan. 23) in giving its “final approval” to the reworked Frank Gehry Partners design, citing concerns over the controversial 400-foot metal tapestry and other aspects, Architect Magazine reports.

Eisenhower Memorial Commission

The Memorial Commission hopes that the revised concept, which will be situated at the base of Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., will be built in time to open on June 6, 2019—the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The latest version of the project received family approval last fall with some changes to the tapestry included.

More Detail Needed

The Fine Arts commission is requesting additional details regarding the tapestry’s image clarity on the steel material, the removal of trees from the park and the new location for the young Eisenhower statute, the magazine relates.

A former version of the tapestry depicted Eisenhower’s Kansas roots; however, the revision includes an aerial view of a beach in Normandy, France, where Eisenhower helped carry out the invasion on D-Day.

Responding to critics, the late leader’s granddaughter Susan Eisenhower has noted that the new image reflects what Eisenhower’s legacy was really about.

The Effort Continues

This isn’t the first setback the Eisenhower Memorial Commission has encountered in its multi-year effort to honor the former president and five-star Army general. Congress originally approved the memorial in 1999. Gehry won the design competition in 2008.

Frank Gehry

Architect Frank Gehry presented his original design concept to the Commission of Fine Arts in 2012.

Many were displeased with the architect’s first design for the memorial, including the family members of the Eisenhower family, and in 2013, with the memorial’s authorization set to expire, some in Congress threatened to scrap Gehry’s plan altogether when it re-authorized the project, and restart the design process entirely.

The Memorial Commission hopes that the revised concept, which will be situated at the base of Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., will be built in time to open on June 6, 2019—the 75th anniversary of D-Day, reports note.

The National Capital Planning Commission is scheduled to review the project on Feb. 2.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Architecture; Artists; Color + Design; Design; Frank Gehry; Government; Government contracts; Monuments

Comment from B Pittman, (1/26/2017, 10:40 AM)

Without knowledge of the site first hand, will this 400 foot tall steel structure create a microclimate (on either side, but especially the side of the Department of Education building) where it will be unpleasant to be next to? ( ie. Hot in summer, cold in winter) What about heat reflected back onto the adjacent trees in the park? Artwork of this magnitude needs to be viewed from a distance to be fully appreciated. By the looks of the renderings, you will have to be almost under it to see the images. It would be like sitting on the front row of a movie theater? Been there, done that , and don't intend to watch a movie that way again. Surely they have taken all this into consideration?

Comment from Jesse Melton, (1/27/2017, 9:11 AM)

It's 400' tall? Are you sure? That's considerably taller than the US Capitol Building. Even with the extra bump from the hill a 400' structure will completely block the view of the Capitol.

Comment from Jill Speegle, (1/27/2017, 12:59 PM)

Thanks for reading D+D! We apologize for any confusion on the dimensions. The 400 feet referenced above is the approximate length of the tapestry. The element will be 60 feet tall, according to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (1/30/2017, 8:18 AM)

The whole "metal tapestry" idea still seems silly and likely to be poorly executed. All the online images of metal tapestries I have found show muddy, indistinct images. It's also going to be a nightmare to keep clean.

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