The design, illustrated above, for a national memorial to the 34th president of the US recently was approved by the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, according to Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), a commission member. The design by California architect Frank Gehry represents the first presidential memorial of the 21st century and only the seventh in U.S. history, and it will be built on a four-acre site at the base of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC between 4th and 6th Streets SW, south of Independence Ave.
“I want to congratulate Frank Gehry and his team for creating a design that honors not just President Eisenhower and General Eisenhower, but also Dwight David Eisenhower - the humble man from Abilene - who accomplished great things in leading our nation through some of our greatest challenges," Roberts said. “Eisenhower was my boyhood hero, and history has judged him to be one of our greatest presidents and a symbol of America’s greatest generation. I’m proud we are moving forward with a fitting tribute on the National Mall. This memorial will remind all who visit Washington for generations to come of the legacy of Dwight David Eisenhower.”
Gehry describes his design not only as creating a gathering place for memorial visitors but also representing Eisenhower’s ability to bring people together to achieve goals on behalf of the citizens he served. From a central location featuring a grove of oak trees, visitors will move to different parts of the memorial and witness themes from Eisenhower’s life. Gehry's concept includes columns along the north and south edges of the site, paying homage to the memorial traditions of the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. Large memorial tapestries of woven stainless steel mesh supported on the colonnade of limestone depict images of Eisenhower’s life.
“The approach to the design was to create a cohesive and important civic space and urban monument in the heart of the capital region that provides a quiet and contemplative space for learning about the vast accomplishments of President Eisenhower,” Gehry said. “He was a masterful but modest leader. My aim was to capture that spirit with the design."
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission was created by Congress in 1999 to manage the memorial development. The bipartisan Commission has 12 members — four Senators, four Representatives, and four private citizens. It is led by Chairman Rocco C. Siciliano and Vice Chairman Senator Daniel K. Inouye, both combat-decorated World War II veterans.