Friday, April 03, 2009

Mr. Eisenhower, Mr. Gehry Go to Washington

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission has announced that they have selected architect Frank Gehry to design the forthcoming Eisenhower Memorial in downtown Washington. Situated on a four-acre Independence Avenue parcel and straddled by the likes of the National Air and Space Museum and Lyndon B. Johnson Department of Education Building, the prominent location will now host Gehry's first ever project within the District.

After tossing his name into the ring late last year, Gehry's as-of-yet undisclosed design has beaten a slew of potential candidates - including principals from Perkins and Will, Krueck and Sexton, Rogers Marvel Architects, Moshe Safdie and Associates, Natoma Architects and PWP Landscape Architecture – for the chance to lay out what the Commission is calling “a unique and engaging landscaped plaza type memorial, with an integral sheltering element to welcome visitors throughout the year and interpretive elements to bring the Eisenhower legacy to life.”

District residents, however, can look forward to more of DC’s famed downtown road closures once work starts. In keeping with the plans to make the Memorial “a unified, defined square,” the stretch of Maryland Avenue, SW currently bisecting the site will be scrapped in lieu of the congressionally mandated and approved Memorial.

The design phase for $90-120 million project is expected to last until 2013, with construction planned to begin shortly thereafter.


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