After reaching a compromise in September, Frank Gehry, FAIA and engineering and construction firm AECOM revealed their revised renderings for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C. The pressing concern was the vision for a 440-foot steel tapestry that will be fixed in front of the Department of Education. Instead of a portraying a scene from Eisenhower’s hometown of Abilene, Kan., the tapestry will display an aerial view of Normandy, France, where troops landed on D-Day. Granddaughter of Eisenhower, Susan Eisenhower and attorney James A. Baker, III, a member of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission's advisory committee, approved the renderings after the grandchildren disliked the original design. They believed that the landscape of Normandy will better emhpasize Eisenhower's accomplishments during his presidency.
Additionally, the latest renderings, part of materials submitted to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in advance of a review scheduled for today, will relocate the statue of the young Eisenhower which will now stand adjacent to the Department of Education instead of in the center of the new memorial. The new proposed location was selected to reflect the influential efforts made by Eisenhower for the Department of Education while he was in office. As president, Eisenhower was the first president to grant federal aid to public and private education by means of federal student grant/loan programs, graduate fellowships, and grants to improve public school instruction, according to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Commission.
The final design, endorsed by Eisenhower's grandchildren, will be reviewed for final approval at the U.S. Commission of Fine Art's meeting today. If the plans are approved, construction on the memorial will begin this year. This is the final hurdle for the project as its approval is required for the memorial under the Commemorative Works Act.