Major Rejection for Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Threatens Project’s Future

The NCPC rejected Gehry Partners' building and site plans for the Eisenhower Memorial on Friday. (Courtesy NCPC)

The NCPC rejected Gehry Partners’ building and site plans for the Eisenhower Memorial on Friday. (Courtesy NCPC)

The road to fruition for the Frank Gehry–designed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial has been full of twists and turns. And now, it seems, the Los Angeles architect’s plans may have reached a dead end. Last week, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) voted seven to three to reject the preliminary site and building plans for the memorial. The vote followed five hours of testimony from the proposal’s supporters and detractors, including House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). Issa spoke against one of the design’s most (but not only) controversial features: the massive stainless-steel “tapestries” meant to depict scenes from Eisenhower’s life.

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Gehry’s Updated Eisenhower Memorial Design Gains Key Approval

East, National
Monday, July 29, 2013
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(Courtesy Eisenhower Memorial Commission)

(Courtesy Eisenhower Memorial Commission)

Frank Gehry’s design for the four-acre Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington D.C. has sparked controversy for its departure from traditional memorial design around the National Mall from the president’s family and others, prompting a third-party design competition and calls for redesign from Congress. Now the beleaguered memorial is one step closer to reality as the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) voted 3-to-1 this month to approve an updated design with additional changes to proposed woven-metal tapestries that have generated most of the public outcry.

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