Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Gehry to Brief DC Planners on Eisenhower Memorial

"Starchitect" Frank Gehry briefs The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) on his design concepts for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial this Thursday at 12:30 PM at 401 9th Street, NW (Suite 500N).

A major player in the 1980s "Deconstructivism" movement in architecture, Gehry is perhaps best-known for designing the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Before being selected as designer on the $90-120 million project early last year, Gehry had to duke it out with architects like Moshe Safdie in a multi-stepped, General Services Administration Design Excellence competition.

The Eisenhower Memorial Commission - a 12 member, bipartisan group that includes senators, representatives, former presidential appointees, and President Eisenhower's own grandson - selected their preferred, Gehry-designed memorial just this past March.

But before the Eisenhower Memorial Commission's "tapestries of woven stainless steel mesh supported on the colonnade of limestone" can depict images of Eisenhower’s life and become a four acre reality along Independence Avenue, there must still be many, many meetings with Federal agencies and planners.

According to NCPC Public Affairs Specialist, Stephen Staudigl, Gehry and team will have to present "three design alternatives" including the Eisenhower Memorial Commission's front-runner to the NCPC on Thursday. And while this meeting will just scrape the surface of the three-part, NCPC design review process (read: no concept modifications or rulings to see here yet), the public meeting offers architecture buffs and interested citizens alike the chance to hear how a giant in the world of architecture goes about envisioning a $90+ million presidential memorial. According to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission:
This design not only creates a gathering place for memorial visitors, it also represents Eisenhower’s ability to bring people together to achieve goals on behalf of the citizens he served. From a central location featuring a grove of oak trees, visitors will move to different parts of the memorial, where themes from Eisenhower’s life will be presented. The selected design concept includes columns along the north and south edges of the site, paying homage to the memorial traditions of the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, while respecting the historic vista along Maryland Avenue.

As for the long-term project forecast, Octavia Saine, Deputy of Public Outreach for the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, tells DCMud that the tentative plans are to have NCPC's final concept design approval by fall 2010, to begin construction by 2013, and to unveil the park for the public on "Memorial Day 2015."

Washington DC Real Estate and Development News


Anonymous said...

why would a successful 70-yr. old dude subject himself to this byzantine, kafkaesque review process? bored in santa monica?? egomaniac? and what a clear design progression from his past museums and concert halls (not!).

Anonymous said...

why do we need a memorial for eisenhower? these memorials are getting ridiculous. who is next? when does it stop. shouldn't we save room for the potential of future greatness. eisenhower was a good president but not worthy of a memorial.

Anonymous said...

save your concrete pylons for some elevated highway underpass, give us something beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Dreadful! Go back to the drawing board.

Anonymous said...

What that block needs is a simply attractive piece of art or architecture, too many modernist buildings that are monuments to the ego of the architect that designed it, that now we all have to live with. We don't need yet another here, especially not for a 'starchitect' whose detached from the view of the pedestrian.

NikolasM said...

I think highway pylons are extremely fitting for Eisenhower, enabler of the interstate.

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