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Eisenhower family still not pleased with Frank Gehry design

May 30, 2012|By David Ng
  • Frank Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial.
Frank Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial. (Susan Walsh / Associated…)

The design of the proposed Eisenhower Memorial in Washington has been a long, contentious process, and it doesn't appear to be ending any time soon.

On Wednesday, the Eisenhower family issued a statement saying they cannot support architect Frank Gehry's revised design due to their objections to the proposed use of large metal scrims.

The scrims, which would serve as a backdrop for the memorial, are "impractical and unnecessary for the conceptual narrative," the family said in the statement. They said the scrims are the most expensive aspect of the design and pose potential maintenance and environmental issues.

"For those reasons, we do not support a design that utilizes them," said the family.

Gehry presented his redesign for the memorial this month at a session in Washington. The L.A. architect wasn't present at the meeting but sent a letter explaining his revised conception.

The Eisenhower family had objected to Gehry's first designs for the memorial, saying that they put too much emphasis on the former president's upbringing in Kansas and not enough on his military and political accomplishments.

Gehry revised the design to include statues depicting Eisenhower, which would replace stone relief images. However, the architect decided to keep the metal scrims, or tapestries, that had been in his prior designs.

In Wednesday's statement, the Eisenhower family said that "many of the changes that Gehry Partners made to the design concept are positive and welcomed."

But the family said the memorial must be built with "widespread consensual approval. Until that is accomplished we will argue for more time to break the impasse in this process."

Gehry Partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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