Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial finally approved by former US president's family
The Eisenhower family has withdrawn its rejections to the Frank Gehry-designed memorial, proposed for Washington DC to honour the 34th president of the United States (+ slideshow).
After years of opposition, the almost $150 million project has finally gained approval from the family of Kansas-born Dwight D Eisenhower – who led the US from 1953 to 1961, and was also an army general during the second world war.
Gehry's structure for the National Mall, comprising giant stone blocks and metal surfaces, was considered too extravagant by former president's relatives.
However, discussions with the memorial's advisory commission have led to undisclosed changes to the design that have satisfied the family, according to Reuters.
Their support could now allow construction to go ahead.
"I believe we have reached an excellent compromise and that the proposed modifications appropriately honour Eisenhower, Kansas' favourite son, as both general and president," said senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican and chairman of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.
The family's main opposition was to the 447-foot (136-metre) steel mesh "tapestries" that would depict the Kansas plains where the Eisenhower spent his boyhood.
US lawmakers were also concerned about the tapestries, as comparisons were drawn between the metal sheets and an iron curtain – the name given to the divide between the former Soviet bloc and the west, before the fall of communism in 1989.
Congress moved to block the design in March 2013, citing the project's cost and controversial design, but an amended proposal was then approved later that year after Gehry made alterations.
The architect – best known for projects including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao – added plans for sculptures showing Eisenhower with troops of the 101st Airborne Division at the Normandy landings and signing the first Civil Rights Act since the late 1800s.
"The memorial celebrates Eisenhower as general and president," Gehry said at the time. "In bronze and stone, he is represented by his words and by the people who helped him accomplish so much."
The Los Angeles-based architect's other significant projects include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in his home city, and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
He was recently granted permission for a mixed-use development on LA's Sunset Strip.