Gehry’s controversial Eisenhower memorial opens

The Dwight D Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, DC, will open to the public on 18 September, 21 years after it was commissioned by the US congress, and five years after the design was approved.

Eisenhower led the Allied invasion of Normandy during the Second World War, and was president for two terms between 1953 to 1961.

The development, designed by US architect Frank Gehry, references the war with a stainless steel woven tapestry by artist Tomas Osinski, depicting cliffs at Pointe du Hoc on the Normandy coastline. It also alludes to Eisenhower’s childhood in Abilene, Kansas with a bronze sculpture by Sergey Eylanbekov.

Other elements of the memorial are inscription panels with words from notable Eisenhower addresses, and bas-relief stone images.

The memorial is located in a new four-acre park, close to the National Mall and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

The National Civic Art Society led a six-year battle to stop "Gehry’s atrocious, gargantuan design" being built. Its opposition caused the US congress to halt project funding.

It eventually went ahead with alterations, including reducing its size and removing a statue of Eisenhower as a child.

Victoria Tigwell, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s deputy executive director, said: "We are thrilled that the memorial is opening to the public, so that generations of future visitors can learn about, remember, and pay tribute to the man who helped shape America and the world through his extraordinary leadership.

"As decades have passed, historians increasingly have recognised and valued the significance of Eisenhower’s presidency. Truly great presidents have a vision that lasts well beyond their four or eight-year terms, and Eisenhower’s vision is evident still today. We hope the memorial encourages visitors to reflect on the critical role he played in American and world history."

Images courtesy of the Dwight D Eisenhower Memorial Commission

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News