WASHINGTON — The federal Commission of Fine Arts approved a revised design Friday for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum at a meeting marked by criticism of the concept and claims that it would violate constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.
The commission unanimously accepted the modified design, which scales back the Hall of Remembrance, a hexagonal memorial connected to the five-story museum structure, and creates space for an adjacent garden.
The vote came nearly one month after the commission voted to reconsider the plan and asked architect James I. Freed to "restudy" the design.
"I want to congratulate your responsive presentation . . . you have embodied our recommendations," commission member Roy Goodman told Freed.
At the meeting on May 22, Goodman, a state senator from New York, had described the design as "a gun turret rather than a monument of distinction."
The new design places the lower section of the hall in line with the nearby Bureau of Engraving and Printing--a suggestion made by some commission members last month. The height of the hall also has been reduced.
Before the commission's vote, survivors of the Holocaust and critics of the museum-memorial voiced their concerns.
"The Holocaust experience is not translatable into concrete structures of brick and stone," said Gerda Bikales, a survivor.