US lawmakers move to scrap Gehry's Eisenhower memorial
News: a Utah congressman has launched an attempt to scrap architect Frank Gehry's proposed Washington D.C. memorial honouring President Dwight D. Eisenhower, citing the project's cost and controversial design.
Last week Rob Bishop introduced legislation seeking to reject the current design by Gehry – whose best-known buildings include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles – and invite new proposals for the memorial while eliminating $100 million of future funding.
The Canadian-born architect's planned memorial, which is projected to cost $142 million, includes statues of the president surrounded by large woven steel "tapestries" depicting images of his childhood home in Kansas – but members of the Eisenhower family have criticised the design as too extravagant.
The congressman's efforts to scrap the design drew strong opposition from the American Institute of Architects, which said last week that lawmakers should not attempt to censor architectural work.
"Representative Bishop’s legislation allows Congress to exercise governmental authority in a wholly arbitrary manner that negates the stated selection process," said Robert Ivy, the institute's chief. "It is nothing more than an effort to intimidate the innovative thinking for which our profession is recognized at home and around the globe."
Before submitting the planning application in 2011, Gehry had insisted he would take onboard concerns voiced by the public and Eisenhower's grandchildren about the concept and scale of the project.
Gehry recently completed a Maggie's Centre in Hong Kong, the first of the cancer charity's units outside of the UK. Earlier in the year he revealed proposals for a rippled 22-storey tower in his hometown of Santa Monica, California, and he's also working on the new headquarters for internet giant Facebook.
See all architecture by Gehry or see more architecture in Washington D.C.