The design for a proposed Eisenhower Memorial has inspired much heartache and anger among historians, architects, veterans and even the Eisenhower family, who say this wasn't the way they imagined a monument to the 34th president and D-Day commander.
Now, a video strives to show the public why.
The video, created by the National Monuments Foundation in Atlanta and shared with Whispers Tuesday, uses digital modeling to show viewers exactly what the unbuilt monument would look like, and the foundation says the results are troubling.
The current design, by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, consists of giant columns, towering tapestries, and a small statue of Ike near the center. Eisenhower's granddaughter Susan told Washingtonian Magazine in January 2012 that it looked "like a theme park."
The memorial is also costing taxpayers a pretty penny: So far, the Eisenhower Memorial Committee has spent more than $30 million on the yet-to-be built monument, and the total estimated cost of the project is $142 million — three times the usual cost of presidential memorials in today's dollars, and twice what was originally proposed.
National Monuments Foundation founder and president Rodney Cook, who previously testified before Congress on problems with the design, says he hopes the video will convince members of Congress to scrap the current plan and start over.
A photo taken of giant industrial steel “tapestries” planned for the Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts)
"This is a giant creation that the general public needs to experience before it happens," he says. "The material used is unstable, it does not last long... There are even pieces of canvas that could be falling on people's heads."
National Civic Art Society President Justin Shubow, a vocal critic of the Gehry design, says the video didn't go far enough. Shubow notes the memorial also includes twisted steel cables that "look like Medusa's head" and that close up images would show "just how ugly it is."