Updating Gehry’s Ike again

The Gehry design for memorial on top; a design by Howard Blackson. (placemakers.com)

The Gehry design for memorial above a 2012 design by Howard Blackson. (placeshakers.com)

Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill, has a detailed report out on the situation facing the proposed memorial for Dwight Eisenhower designed by Frank Gehry. “House Appropriators Call for ‘Reset’ on Eisenhower Memorial Plans” paints a picture of a memorial process in disarray, and a memorial proposal on death’s doorstep, but a memorial commission still desperately clinging to funds for its staff.

But this report also seems to contradict hopeful speculation that the commission’s new chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, might work to hurry the process by stopping the punch-drunk commission from dithering away the public’s money – already $60 million has been sunk. Roll Call suggests, rather, that Roberts has drunk the Gehry Kool-Aid. I wonder what his constituents think! The Eisenhower family is dead-set against the Gehry design, but that hasn’t carried any weight with the commission so far.

Roll Call notes the commission’s embarrassing private fundraising effort that has cost taxpayers $1.5 million over four years but has raised only $450,000.

It’s way past time for Congress to torpedo this clunker. Taking away the Gehry “tapestries” that mar the design would drive Gehry away from the project. That sounds like a good way to get the process back on track. By the way, check out the interesting design proposed by Howard Blackson, called “The Washington, D.C. Plan” and published by Placeshakers.

Here’s Artsy.net’s Gehry link: https://www.artsy.net/artist/frank-gehry

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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