Eisenhower Memorial design should be abandoned

Eisenhower memorial should be dumped

For thousands of years, erecting a monument to a great personage or event has involved creating a structure with a powerful physical as well as symbolic presence. The monument might be architectural, sculptural, or both. But going back to Stonehenge and even further, monumentality has always been essentially a matter of construction.

Frank Gehry’s game is deconstruction. He is known for buildings that look like they’re coming apart, such as his Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, his Ray and Maria Stata Center at MIT, and his Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (sic) in Las Vegas. Monuments, like great buildings, have always been designed to convey a sense of permanence. Gehry prefers to convey a sense of the precarious.

If only for that reason, for a congressionally chartered commission to hire Gehry to erect a monument to a great American soldier and statesman in the heart of the nation’s capital makes about as much sense as Pope John Paul II commissioning a requiem from the Sex Pistols.

But that is precisely what the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission (EMC) did six years ago after conducting a dubious portfolio-based competition intended to attract trendy designers rather than appropriate designs. Such a competition inevitably tilted the playing field in Gehry’s favor. Moreover, retired business executive Rocco Siciliano, until very recently the EMC’s chair, is a friend of Frank’s who started dropping the architect’s name at the commission’s very first board meeting in 2001. The competition attracted all of 44 entries — a pathetic sum for a national presidential memorial. Just last week, a competition for a new World War I memorial in Washington attracted over 350 designs. []

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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