Gehry pens an open letter to the commissioners of the Eisenhower Memorial
After Gehry’s concepts for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington were criticised by some of the project’s commissioners - the Eisenhower family, the Department of Education, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the Commission of Fine Arts - for its representation of Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, the architect has responded with renewed designs and an open letter stating the alterations to his concept.
An excerpt asks: “How do you represent a man of such towering achievement whose modesty was one of his core values? I have refined the design to incorporate this feedback, which I believe helps tell the story of Eisenhower with more dignity and more power.” Gehry later continues: “The memory of Eisenhower deserves the best that we all can deliver to help future generations understand the impact of this great leader on everything we are as a nation. I would be proud to wear an ‘I Like Ike’ button every day for the rest of my life. He represents what we should all try to be.”
Prior concepts by Gehry were panned by the Eisenhower family for the representation of the former President as they felt that the design focused too much on Eisenhower’s youth in Kansas and lacked information on his accomplishments in later life.
Alterations to the design include the removal of bas-relief sculptures in exchange for three dimensional figures including General Eisenhower with 101st Airborne troops prior to the D-Day invasion, supplemented with quotations on lintels above. The tapestry images have also been changed, ‘sustaining a unifying theme of Eisenhower’s roots in the heartland’.