Yesterday, with hesitation, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) approved the revised concept design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial at the commission’s February meeting in Washington, D.C. Since the commission approved the final site and building plans on July 9, 2015, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission and Gehry Partners have made three modifications to the design: the removal of four trees, a new image for the steel tapestry, and the new location for the statue of a young Eisenhower.
On behalf of the memorial, executive director of the Eisenhower Commission Carl W. Reddel offered remarks about the relevancy of the beaches of Normandy as the new image for the tapestry. Reddel emphasized the importance that Eisenhower’s legacy is correctly portrayed in the memorial. “Eisenhower wanted the beaches of Normandy to reflect in peacetime the emerging light of the peace that makes freedom possible,” Reddel said.
However, the commission voiced concerns about the clarity of the new image once it is transferred onto the steel tapestry. "We are at the risk of coherency," commissioner Thomas Gallas said. The members agreed that the density and transparency of the new image could make it unrecognizable when standing directly below it.
Despite those concerns, the members of the commission agreed that the overall concept of the memorial has not changed with the new modifications. "If I were a CFA member and the central question before me was the imagery, I may vote against this," chairman Preston Bryant said. "The design plan itself has not significantly changed and it does continue to keep with the design principles. So, I will place my hesitant vote in favor of this."
Gehry Partners and the Eisenhower Commission will return to the NCPC for a preliminary and final review in the coming months.