Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial Revisions Draw Criticism

 The Frank Gehry-designed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., has drawn some criticism after the architecture team submitted revisions primarily focused on landscape design to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) on February 20.


Detractors of the design, including Representative Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Public Lands, have said the revisions are minimal and "disappointing," after the architects,  Gehry Partners, were asked to consider comments from the CFA and the Eisenhower family,  according to the Washingtonian.

Critics have raised concerns about tall columns supporting large metal tapestries depicting the Kansas landscape of Eisenhower's childhood home, questioning if the design is too large and modern to represent the modest, traditional president and WWII general. The tapestries, and other key elements,  were maintained in the revised concept.



Memorial spokeswoman Chris Kelley Cimko said in an email to  Contract  that the presentation was focused primarily on landscape design, which was one of the changes asked for by the CFA in November.  In a December memo, the CFA asked the architects to pursue a "bolder and more unified conception of the landscape," among other revisions to the design.

"It's progressing. It's moving forward," commission chairman Rusty Powell said after the February 20th meeting,  according to the Washingtonian.

"We are most gratified that Chairman Powell stated at the conclusion of the meeting that the project is progressing and that it is moving forward," Cimko said in a statement. "The CFA commissioners reiterated their support of concept approval, first given in 2011 and again in 2013, and are focusing their remarks today, and in the future, on refinements to that concept. [The] meeting focused on development of the landscape design.   The presentation was met with general approval and we look forward to continuing our collaborative effort with CFA in the coming months."




In January, Congress rejected a $51 million funding request from the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, allowing only a $1 million operating budget. The project was first approved by congress 14 years ago, and the current plans  moved forward in June 2013.


Renderings courtesy of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.