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Eisenhower family, Frank Gehry at odds over memorial

Frank Gehry has been sent back to the drawing board by the family of Dwight Eisenhower, who were less than delighted with the famed architect’s plans for a memorial in honour of the former U.S. president and supreme allied commander during the Second World War.

Famed architect's design deemed impractical by family of former U.S. president

This model image, provided by the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, shows the proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial to be built in Washington. Designers from architect Frank Gehry's firm unveiled some changes to a planned memorial honouring Eisenhower after hearing complaints from members of Eisenhower's family. (Eisenhower Memorial Commission/Associated Press)

Frank Gehry has been sent back to the drawing board by the family of Dwight Eisenhower, who were less than delighted with the famed Toronto-born architect’s plans for a memorial in honour of the former U.S. president and supreme allied commander during the Second World War. 

The original plans — likened by some critics to an unfinished highway overpass — would see a four-acre urban park in Washington, D.C., partly enclosed by giant “tapestries” of woven stainless steel. 

The tapestries would depict images of rural Kansas, Eisenhower’s home state, and stand about 24 metres high. They are also high on the list of objections raised by the Eisenhower family. 

His granddaughter, Susan Eisenhower, doubts they will stand the test of time. 

Gehry’s design “doesn’t seem at all practical for the purpose of a memorial that’s supposed to last in perpetuity,” Eisenhower said during an appearance on CBC Radio’s As It Happens. The family also questions the overall plan’s size, price tag and whether it “contributed to the narrative” of Eisenhower’s accomplishments during the war or his presidency.