The Saga Continues: Congress Rejects Funding for Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial

City Terrain, East
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
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Frank Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy NCDC)

Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial as it stands now. (Courtesy Eisenhower Memorial Commission)

Despite earlier indications of progress, Frank Gehry’s design for a planned Eisenhower Memorial continues to encounter stumbling blocks. In November the US Commission of Fine Arts asked Mr. Gehry to make eight revisions to the proposal, a request that was then echoed and amplified in January when Congress turned down the Eisenhower Memorial Commission‘s request for $51 million in funding, a denial that was accompanied by a message imploring the architect “to work with all constituencies—including Congress and the Eisenhower family—as partners in the planning and design process.”

More after the jump.

Bronze on Your Hands: Diller Scofidio + Renfro Faces Folk Museum Backlash

The doomed Folk Art Museum. (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

The doomed Folk Art Museum. (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Liz Diller faced down a hostile crowd at the recent “MoMA Expansion Conversation,” hosted by the Architectural League, the Municipal Art Society, and AIA New York. Apparently she’s had some practice.

One elder statesman of the New York architecture community reports that Diller made a series of phone calls to prominent architects prior to the public release of MoMA’s plans asking for their advice and support. This gray eminence apparently told her the firm should resign from the commission. At which point Ric Scofidio apparently chimed in, saying, succinctly, “Never!”

An editor from another publication reports rumors of dissent within Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Apparently some associates in the firm have asked not to work on the project, fearing a Scarlet Letter on their resumes.

The MoMA Folk Art Museum Debate, Now on Video

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
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The Architecture League of New York has released a video of the discussion convened last week to discuss to MoMA’s planned expansion. The move, which entails the demolition of the adjacent American Folk Art Museum, is a contentious one and has sparked much debate within the architectural community. Tuesday’s conversation included contributions from the Museum’s director, Glenn Lowry, Elizabeth Diller (principal of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who is overseeing the project), and a slew of other architects, journalists, and theorists who all questioned MoMA’s decision to do away with their Tod Williams Billie Tsien-designed neighbor.

Wright for Wraxall? Bid To Construct an Unbuilt Masterwork in England Quashed

THE DR. HUGH & MRS. JUDITH PRATT RESIDENCE, PROPOSED FOR WRAXALL, ENGLAND, IS BASED ON A 1947 DESIGN BY FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT (NICK HIRST, RIBA/DR. HUGH PRATT)

THE DR. HUGH & MRS. JUDITH PRATT RESIDENCE, PROPOSED FOR WRAXALL, ENGLAND, IS BASED ON A 1947 DESIGN BY FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT (NICK HIRST, RIBA/DR. HUGH PRATT)

Fifty-four years after Frank Lloyd Wright’s death, the village of Wraxall, England just killed plans to build one of the architect’s designs. Last August, Dr. Hugh Pratt, a local parish councillor, petitioned the planning board to build a Wright-inspired house on greenbelt land. Some area residents argued that the building would elevate the community’s aesthetics, but others worried that the house would set a precedent for further intrusions into the greenbelt.

Continue reading after the jump.

Opponents to LG’s Palisades Tree Topper Will Appeal Court Decision.  HOK's design for LG Electronics USA. (Courtesy HOK and Neoscape) Four residents of New Jersey and two public interest groups have pledged to appeal the court ruling upholding the grant of a variance to allow LG Electronics USA to build an 8-story headquarters in Englewood, NJ. If built, the HOK-designed office complex (pictured) will rise above the tree-line and forever change the view of the Palisades from the Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s outpost in northern Manhattan, that sits along the Hudson River facing New Jersey. “We have reviewed the decision and believe that it is erroneous. We plan to appeal,” said Angelo Morresi, attorney for the public interests groups, in a statement. (Rendering: Courtesy HOK)

 

House Bill Seeks To Boot Gehry From Eisenhower Memorial Project, AIA Says Not Cool

National
Friday, March 15, 2013
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The legislation would eliminate Gehry's design for the memorial and cut future federal financing.

The legislation would eliminate Gehry’s design for the memorial and cut future federal financing.

A new bill before the U.S. House of Representatives is seeking to build consensus to junk Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial on the National Mall. The bill, known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Completion Act, was proposed by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah). It cites concerns over the controversial nature of the design and its escalating costs (currently estimated at well over $100 million) and seeks to “facilitate the completion of an appropriate national memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower.”

Opposition to Gehry’s proposal has been brewing for some time. The antagonists include members of Eisenhower’s family and the National Civic Art Society, which published a 153-page report that called Gehry’s scheme a “travesty” and a “Happy McMonument.”

The AIA feels differently. The association released a statement opposing Rep. Bishop’s bill. The statement does not express an opinion about the value of Gehry’s design, but rather disapproves of the “arbitrary nature” of this exercise of “governmental authority.” Lodge your feelings about the bill and/or Gehry’s design in the comments section of this post.

Houses of Worship to Receive FEMA Grants.  Stained glass window in Cathedral of St. John the Divine (Courtesy of Loozrboy) Houses of Worship damaged by Hurricane Sandy were initially excluded from receiving federal aid based on the constitutional separation of church and state. But in an interesting turn of events, the House of Representatives has approved a bill that would provide grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to rebuild synagogues, mosques, and churches. The New York Times reported that FEMA has stipulated that, according to its rules and regulations, it can only allocate federal money to “repair and replace ‘furnishings and equipment,’” which puts into question what items “are eligible.” It comes as no surprise that the American Civil Liberties Union and Congressman Jerrold Nadler oppose this legislation, calling it unconstitutional. (Photo: Loozrboy/Flickr)

 

Architecture Writers Honor Huxtable with Letter Critical of Foster’s NYPL Renovation

East
Monday, February 18, 2013
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Rendering of Foster + Partners' proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Rendering of Foster + Partners’ proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

A group of prominent architecture editors and critics, including AN‘s William Menking, have written a letter to the New York Public Library (NYPL) protesting the proposed renovation by Foster + Partners, under the banner of the “Huxtable Initiative.” The letters requests that the NYPL’s Board of Trustees reconsider the current plan to remove the library’s massive iron and steel stacks for a new atrium and reading room “before such an irreversible decision is made.”

Read the full letter after the jump.

Zaha Falls Victim to Archi-Piracy in China

International
Friday, January 4, 2013
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Zaha Hadid's Wangjing Soho project (left) and the Meiquan22nd Century project (right). (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects / Sina)

Zaha Hadid’s Wangjing Soho project (left) and the Meiquan 22nd Century project (right). (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects / Sina)

In 2010, AN wrote about an identity theft scandal involving some high profile British architects and Chinese impostors leaving some observers at the time to wonder if starchitects like Norman Foster or Zaha Hadid might be next. It now appears the archi-pirates have indeed set their eyes on Hadid’s curvaceous designs, setting of a construction race to see whether the copy-cat can outbuild the original and an international debate about intellectual property. Spiegel reported that Hadid’s Wangjing SOHO tower complex, proposed in 2011 for Beijing and now under construction, has been copied and rebranded as the Meiquan 22nd Century in Chongqing. When placed side by side (above), it’s tough not to see the distinct resemblance.

More after the jump.

Oy, Tannenbaum! Modern Christmas Tree Causes A Stir in Belgium

International
Friday, November 30, 2012
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ABIES-Electronicus, a modern XMAS tree. (Courtesy 1024 Architecture)

ABIES-Electronicus, a modern XMAS tree. (Courtesy 1024 Architecture)

A modern interpretation of a Christmas tree designed by French firm 1024 Architecture lighting Grand Place, the main public square in Brussels, Belgium has some locals seeing stars. Standing 82 feet tall, ABIES-Electronicus, as the modern tree installation is named, is billed as an eco-friendly equivalent of chopping down a living tree, but some politicians in the city say it represents a “war on Christmas” as the symbols of the holiday are abstracted away from tradition. The mayor dismissed the charges, noting this year’s holiday theme was about light, and noting that a nativity scene is set up nearby.

Continue reading after the jump.

MVRDV Responds to Cloud Tower Imagery

International
Monday, December 12, 2011
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An early concept rendering of the Cloud tower and a rendering of the final design released last week. (Courtesy MVRDV)

An early concept rendering of the Cloud tower and a rendering of the final design released last week. (Courtesy MVRDV)

It must have been a rough day at MVRDV’s Rotterdam offices after their newly unveiled Cloud tower set to be built in Seoul, South Korea went viral in a bad way. MVRDV envisioned two towers shrouded in pixelated mist, but others saw the image of a plane hitting the World Trade Center in New York, half a world away. MVRDV released the following statement on their Facebook page along with an early conceptual drawing showing the inspiration for the tower, in a much more literal cloud:

A real media storm has started and we receive threatening emails and calls of angry people calling us Al Qaeda lovers or worse.

MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evokes regarding 9/11, it was not our intention.

The Cloud was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city. It is one of many projects in which MVRDV experiments with a raised city level to reinvent the often solitary typology of the skyscraper. It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, the design was not meant to provoke this.

Check out all of the renderings over here. What do you think? Is this too reminiscent of the Twin Towers? Do you see a cloud or an explosion frozen in time?

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