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New debate over Frank Gehry's design for an Eisenhower Memorial

New debate over Frank Gehry's design for an Eisenhower Memorial
A model image, provided by the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, shows the proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial to be built in Washington. The design is by architect Frank Gehry. (Associated Press)

Architect Frank Gehry's controversial design for the proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial is once again the object of bickering in Washington.

A major architectural organization said it opposes a new congressional initiative to do away with Gehry's design for the memorial. Last week, Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah introduced legislation that would mandate an alternative to Gehry's design and eliminate further federal funding for the project.

The American Institute of Architects issued a statement on Sunday voicing opposition to the initiative. "Representative Bishop's legislation allows Congress to exercise governmental authority in a wholly arbitrary manner that negates the stated selection process," said Robert Ivy, chief executive of the institute, in a statement.

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"It is nothing more than an effort to intimidate the innovative thinking for which our profession is recognized at home and around the globe. We intend to vigorously oppose it."

Gehry's design for the memorial has been the subject of political wrangling during the last several months. Members of President Eisenhower's family have been openly critical of the design and have called for a new direction.

The L.A.-based architect has altered his initial design following complaints from the family.

The legislation introduced by Bishop, who is a Republican, would call for a new design competition and seeks to eliminate $100 million in future funding for the current design by Gehry, according to the proposal posted on the representative's website.

"This legislation will help address funding concerns and will offer alternative designs for consideration," Bishop said in the proposal.

Funding for the Eisenhower Memorial was expected to come from the federal government and through  private fundraising

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