Monday, June 06, 2011

Opposing Designs to Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial Unveiled Tonight

Design alternatives for a memorial to President Eisenhower, solicited by the National Civic Art Society (NCAS), a DC-based nonprofit that "advocates the humanist tradition," together with the Institute for Classical Architecture & Art (ICA&A) Mid-Atlantic Chapter, a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing the classical form, will be judged tonight at the Rayburn House Office Building. A panel will select a $1000 first prize winner, and award $500 to a runner-up, prior to a reception that will serve to ignite dialogue amongst attendees regarding the three highly disputed, yet fairly secure, Frank Gehry designs for the site in question.

Just south of the Mall, the site was approved by the National Capital Planning Commission in 2006, and Gehry was selected as the architect shortly thereafter; Gehry has submitted three designs to the NCPC for review and approval, which is currently underway.

The counter-designs that will be unveiled tonight are an attempt by co-hosts NCAS and ICA&A to generate a thoughtful discussion "about the meaning, inspiration and dignity of designs that are suitable to commemorate a distinguished president." Special guest, and Ike's granddaughter, Susan Eisenhower will be speaking at the event.

The competition sought alternatives from "classical architects and artists" and the judges are expected to "choose the design that best exemplifies the ideals of a meaningful, timeless memorial that is appropriate classical vision of Washington, DC."

In contrast to the Gehry design, the competition called for a design that would be "in harmony with the vision of the L'Enfant Plan and the McMillan Plan" and a sculptural representation recognizable as Dwight D. Eisenhower and "appropriately calibrated to the gravity of the memorial."

Right now the gravity of the memorial as designed by Gehry is public contention, yet, designs generated by the competition will be done in classical tastes - not everybody's cup of tea. The designs, and the direction of the District, are all up for debate.

D.C. Real Estate development news


Anonymous said...

Strike 2 for Gehry, first was the Corcoran.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear the wail of nostalgia criticisms from our local modernist avant guard. As if they never had a warm memory from childhood. God forbid!

Critically Urban on Jun 7, 2011, 9:21:00 AM said...

The intentions here are good, but misguided. The plans created by L'Enfant and McMillan were merely planning guidelines. It's as if these organizations believe that the National Gallery, Air & Space, Hirshhorn, American Indian Museum, and all of the other countless memorials, museums, and monuments should not have been built as is. The visions of L'Enfant and McMillan will still be clearly seen for centuries.

Anonymous said...

L'Enfant, McMillan, Gehry. Names are not important. But ugly is ugly, Mr. Gehry.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...


Banneker Park would undergo major renovations, which include construction of an

intermodal transportation center and parking facility (ITC) within the park property. The ITC

would be designed to accommodate up to 1,150 automobiles and 75 tour buses. The facility

would be recessed into the hillside, designed to blend into the topography of the park. The

highest elevation of the park, which is the same height as L’Enfant Promenade, would remain

unchanged. Due to the modification of the sloping park hill required to construct the ITC, the

existing circular park would be eliminated and the traffic circle would be modified into a

smaller traffic circle at a location closer to I-395..

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