The changes famed architect Frank Gehry made to his design of the Eisenhower Memorial were unveiled Tuesday on Capitol Hill, but he left one of the most controversial elements untouched.
In response to the Eisenhower family's concerns about the depiction of the general and president as a barefoot boy, Gehry scrapped that statue in favor of a rendition depicting Eisenhower as a young cadet. Two other statues of Eisenhower flank the young cadet statue: one is a scene with him as a general addressing his troops, the other is of him as an elder statesman. Both older depictions are based on well-known photographs of Eisenhower.
The towering stainless steel tapestries that border the site across Independence Avenue from the Air & Space Museum remain intact, however. The Eisenhower family has expressed concerns about the cost of maintaining the metal, saying they fear it will easily weather over the years.
The Eisenhower Memorial Commission, which met Tuesday morning in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, did not vote on the design. However most commissioners spoke up in favor of the changes and thanked Gehry for his efforts.
The Eisenhower family did not attend the meeting.
If approved, the memorial would then got before the National Capital Planning Commission, which deals more with city planning concerns than design aesthetics. However a representative of the National Civic Art Society, which opposes the Gehry design, said the potential cost of maintaining the tapestries could impact the commission's decision.