Eisenhower Memorial Commission Unveils Design Concept for National Eisenhower Memorial

Mar 25, 2010, 17:34 ET from Eisenhower Memorial Commission

Design for Eisenhower Memorial Moves Forward

WASHINGTON, March 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Eisenhower Memorial Commission has unanimously selected the preferred design concept created by world-renowned architect Frank O. Gehry.  The Eisenhower Memorial will be the first presidential memorial of the 21st century, and only the seventh in U.S. history.  In selecting the preferred concept alternative, the Commissioners considered not only aesthetic and thematic issues, but also the impact on historic resources, the impact on the environment, and the estimated construction costs. 

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100325/DC77068-a





David Eisenhower, President Eisenhower's grandson and a member of the Commission said, "We were all impressed with Frank's vision for the memorial.  His understanding of my grandfather's accomplishments and legacy is remarkable, and he was able to translate the key theme of democracy into a compelling visual experience."

The selected design will be located on a four-acre site at the base of Capitol Hill (between 4th and 6th Streets SW, south of Independence Avenue).  This design not only creates a gathering place for memorial visitors, it also represents Eisenhower's ability to bring people together to achieve goals on behalf of the citizens he served.  From a central location featuring a grove of oak trees, visitors will move to different parts of the memorial, where themes from Eisenhower's life will be presented.  The selected design concept includes columns along the north and south edges of the site, paying homage to the memorial traditions of the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, while respecting the historic vista along Maryland Avenue.  Large memorial tapestries of woven stainless steel mesh supported on the colonnade of limestone depict images of Eisenhower's life, amplifying the setting and creating an ideal background for the memorial experience.    

"The approach to the design was to create a cohesive and important civic space and urban monument in the heart of the capital region that provides a quiet and contemplative space for learning about the vast accomplishments of President Eisenhower," said Frank Gehry. "He was a masterful but modest leader. My aim was to capture that spirit with the design."  Mr. Gehry is the founder and partner of Gehry Partners, LLP based in Los Angeles, California.

Memorial designer Frank Gehry and his team were selected in March 2009 as the result of a three-stage design excellence competition process through General Services Administration's (GSA) Design Excellence Program.  GSA is working with Gilbane Building Company to oversee the design and construction management of the memorial. The design process began on January 8, 2010, with the signing of the design contract.   

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission

A memorial to honor and celebrate Dwight D. Eisenhower will be built on a four-acre site at the base of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission was created by Congress in 1999 to manage memorial development.  The bipartisan Commission is comprised of 12 members -- four Senators, four Representatives, and four private citizens.  It is led by Chairman, Rocco C. Siciliano, and Vice Chairman, Senator Daniel K. Inouye who both served in the European theater that Eisenhower commanded.   A location for the National Eisenhower Memorial was selected in 2005 and congressionally approved in 2006.  The four-acre site lies between 4th and 6th Streets, SW, south of Independence Avenue.  It is surrounded by institutions connected to Eisenhower, including the Department of Education, and the National Air and Space Museum which houses artifacts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), created by Eisenhower in 1958.  For more information about the Commission, please visit www.eisenhowermemorial.org.

About Gehry Partners, LLP

Founded in 1962 and located in Los Angeles, California, Gehry Partners is a full-service architectural firm with broad international experience in museum, theater, performance, academic and commercial projects. The work of Gehry Partners has been featured widely in national and international newspapers and magazines, and has been exhibited in major museums throughout the world. Notable projects include: the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Bilbao, Spain; the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California.

GSA's Design Excellence Program

General Services Administration (GSA) instituted the Design Excellence Program to provide top-quality design talent for federal clients.  The Program includes a multi-step selection process and the use of private-sector peers, while retaining the competitive requirements of federal contracting.  The Program stresses creativity and streamlines the way GSA hires architects and engineers, substantially cutting the cost of competing for GSA design contracts.  The Program operates through GSA's Public Buildings Service (PBS).

Media Notes: For more information or to schedule an interview with the Commission's Executive Director or Executive Architect please contact Octavia Saine at 202-296-0004 or via email at osaine@eisenhowermemorial.org.

SOURCE Eisenhower Memorial Commission