Revised Gehry Design Approved by Eisenhower Commission

Revised Gehry Design Approved by Eisenhower Commission
After years of congressional bickering and Eisenhower family protests, the latest revision of the hotly debated Eisenhower Memorial in Washington D.C. has been approved by the commission set up to manage it. The new design was unveiled Tuesday in order to help quell months of of criticism regarding architect, Frank Gehry’s original design. 
The metal tapestries that surround the urban park areas are to remain to the dismay of many. However, the new design gives more prominence to the Eisenhower statue as a centerpiece. Gehry submitted a statement that endorsed the amount of negative feedback he was receiving – dubbing it “collaboration.” According to the architect, “It is a process that I think is vital to the success of any endeavor and one that was necessary to make sense of sometimes contradictory characterizations of President Eisenhower.”

Some background per the Washington Post:

The Eisenhower family criticized the original design as invoking images of Soviet mythmaking and Nazi-era barbarism. The family did not attend the Tuesday meeting but is expected to weigh in on the new design before the commission meets again, possibly within a week. At that meeting, the commission is expected to decide whether to send the plan forward to the National Capital Planning Commission.

Planners hope to break ground on the four-acre memorial this year. Projected to cost an estimated $110 million, the memorial would be bisected by Maryland Avenue SW, just south of the Mall and would be situated in front of the Education Department and across from the National Air and Space Museum — buildings that tie in with Eisenhower’s legacy.
It remains to be seen how the family and other members of Congress will react to the design. However, this is a step in the right direction for a memorial that has only seen conflict and criticism for as long as it has been on the drawing board.
Published in Blog
Benjamin Boyd is a landscape architect practicing in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ben often tweets about landscape at @_benboyd.


  1. It is still terrible, and remember, the commission approved the last one as well. Some in Congress want to look into the whole setup and finances of the commission, as they burned through millions for years with little to nothing to show for it. It still is not a promising future for the Gehry design.

  2. Jason – agreed

  3. I too am not a fan of the design. However, I do believe that it is going to be built and this is a step in the right direction. The amount of tax payer dollars spent on getting something everyone is going to like is starting to add up. I think they have had enough passes to get it as close as they can now and without a complete redesign I believe they will move forward.

    On the topic of monuments – the sites on the mall have long had a history of controversy. The Vietnam design was considered too simple by may and I personally think the WWII memorial is an ornate travesty. Let’s hope that the Gehry design surprises us. He does have some good projects built after all.

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