After 15 years of planning, bickering, and threatening, Frank Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial design has received final approval from the National Capital Planning Commission. In a 9-1 vote, the commission approved the memorial to be located on a four-acre site along Independence Avenue SW.
"This is an important day for those of us who are committed to memorializing Dwight D. Eisenhower, a brilliant military strategist, a visionary world leader, a man who saved Western democracy, and a proud Kansan." — Senator Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican and chairman of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.
The source of funding for the $162 million memorial park is still unclear, according to Washingtonian. Gehry's firm has acquired $16 million since 1999 from the Eisenhower Memorial Commission to design the Eisenhower Memorial, and there's now tension over how much money Congress will give to construct the project. There is the possibility that the commission won't receive any additional funds if a draft House Appropriations bill proposing cutting off commission funding and replacing current staff gets approved.
Previous designs for the memorial included large metal tapestries on both ends of the park. When the proposal to eliminate these tapestries was brought up, Gehry threatened to remove his name from the project. From the beginning, Gehry has faced opposition on his design, even from the Eisenhower family. The family described the memorial park design to that of a concentration camp and scenes from Planet of the Apes. The concept design was approved in October 2014 by the National Capital Planning Commission.
· Long-debated Eisenhower Memorial design clears final federal hurdle [The Washington Post]
· Eisenhower Memorial Gets a Big Push Forward [Washingtonian]
· Frank Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial to Break Ground in 2015 [Curbed DC]
· Frank Gehry is Just So Done With the Eisenhower Memorial [Curbed National]