New changes to the contentious design for the Eisenhower Memorial were publicly unveiled on Tuesday at a session in Washington. Architect Frank Gehry made the adjustments following complaints by members of the Eisenhower family that the design put too much emphasis on the former president’s upbringing in Kansas and not enough on his accomplishments as a military and political leader.
Among the notable changes are the addition of statues depicting Eisenhower, which would replace stone relief images, according to reports. The statues show Eisenhower as a military commander during World War II and as president.
Gehry didn’t attend the hearing in Washington because he is currently working with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on the sets for its production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” But the L.A. architect sent a letter to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission explaining the design changes.
“I have refined the design to incorporate [feedback] which I believe helps tell the story of Eisenhower with more dignity and more power,” he wrote.
He said in the letter that the statues “bring the [Eisenhower[ story to life in a more powerful and accessible way than the bas reliefs were able to do.”
Gehry’s design keeps the metal tapestries that will surround the park-like space. The metal tapestries show scenes from Eisenhower’s childhood in Kansas.
The Eisenhower Memorial is estimated to have cost $112 million.