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.

Continue reading after the jump.

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.

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

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.

Protest> The Eisenhower Memorial at the Tipping Point

East, Newsletter
Friday, November 9, 2012
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Frank Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy NCDC)

Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy NCDC)

How many Americans know that the Eisenhower Memorial will be the largest presidential memorial in Washington, D.C.? Or that it will be using untested, experimental elements for the first time? Or that it will cost nearly as much to build as the neighboring memorials to Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson combined? These basic facts are still not widely known because the current design has emerged from a planning process that limited rather than encouraged public participation. It has also led directly to a controversy that has stalled the project in regulatory and political limbo and left its supporters and critics without common ground. We need public input to find the consensus that this and every memorial needs.

Continue reading after the jump.

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