Despite strong objections from the Eisenhower family, classical architects and many others, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission has issued a statement of support for Frank Gehry’s controversial Eisenhower Memorial design. The statement was signed by every member of the commission, including chairman Rocco Siciliano, vice chairman Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), both senators from President Eisenhower’s home state of Kansas, and five other members of Congress. The commission’s letter reads, “Frank Gehry has followed the direction provided to him by this commission. He has also consulted with the Eisenhower Family. His design for the Memorial is exciting, creative and inspiring. It captures the life and the spirit – and commemorates the historic achievements – of Dwight Eisenhower as one of the greatest generals in human history and one of our finest presidents.” Continue reading for more.
Amongst a grove of trees, the four-acre Eisenhower square is described as a “pedestrian experience”. It features a triptych of sculpture and text with “heroic-scale” stone bas relief’s representing Eisenhower as both a president and general positioned on either side of a sculpture of the young Eisenhower. One of the most criticized elements of the design is the woven metal tapestries supported by 25 meter-tall columns that frame the site. The commission’s statement of support left us with this Eisenhower quote, “For our republic to stay free those among us with the rare gift of artistry must be able to freely use their talent.” Reference: Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission