The revised design replaces the memorial’s east and west steel tapestries — depicting the Kansas plains where Eisenhower spent his boyhood — with single columns that mark the north corners of the site, preparing visitors for the entrance. The south columns and tapestry aim to define the memorial’s space and frame the views of the Capitol.
Archive for the ‘Gehry’ Category
This one’s for Lawrence.
The House Committee on Natural Resources has called the proposed Eisenhower Memorial “a five-star folly”. That’s actually the title of their report, which is subtitled (just in case you didn’t get the point), “An Investigation into the Cost Increases, Construction Delays, and Design Problems That Have Been a Disservice to the Effort to Memorialize Dwight D. Eisenhower”.
This has been going on since 1999. So far, according to the report, “Approximately $41 million has been spent or obligated so far, including almost $16.4 million for the designer and more than $13.3 million to the multiple parties responsible for managing the design process and providing administrative support.” And there’s basically nothing to show for it.
Except for the design itself, which lots of people don’t like. Including the Eisenhower family.
Congress subsequently withheld construction funds for the memorial two years in a row, and this month, the House released a draft budget that also zeros out operating funds and calls for a new design competition. In April, the National Capital Planning Commission voted 7 to 3 to oppose the design. The House committees on oversight and appropriations are also investigating the memorial.
The designer? Lawrence’s favorite living architect, Frank Gehry. To be fair to Mr. Gehry (who I actually kind of like), this wouldn’t be the first time a controversial memorial design in DC has turned out okay. And I’m not clear on what exactly the objections are:
Mr. Gehry’s original concept to honor the World War II military leader and 34th president called for a four-acre site partly enclosed by transparent woven metal tapestries displaying images of the Kansas plains, where Eisenhower grew up. The most contentious element initially was a statue of the young Eisenhower sitting on a low stone wall, a characterization inspired by a photograph of him at that age and by a homecoming speech he made after the war in which he recalled his days as a “barefoot boy.”
That doesn’t sound too awful or disrespectful to me.
In response to objections that this was insufficiently respectful, Mr. Gehry replaced the child with Eisenhower as a 20-year-old West Point cadet and changed his depictions of two famous photographs into statues instead of bas-reliefs. But family members still expressed concerns that the design was costly, undignified and would require too much maintenance.
Yeah, I don’t get the “undignified” thing, either. But I haven’t seen anything other than the photo in the NYT. I do find it interesting that, according to the congressional report, the initial jury thought all of the submitted designs were “mediocre” and wanted a second round of submissions. Whoever was in charge overruled the jury and picked Gehry’s design.
And there’s other boondoggles, too. Sole source contracts, paying $1.4 million to fundraising firms (which have managed to raise about $500,000), questions about ongoing maintenance costs, etc. etc. etc.
I like Ike. But I have serious questions about our need for an Eisenhower Memorial outside of the Eisenhower Presidential Center and about the design process for this one.
…aka “My one reader who is a Frank Lloyd Wright fan and doesn’t read Balko’s blog“:
I wonder how many architects have done doghouses; I know that a few years back, Frank Gehry offered a doghouse design in a benefit auction, but I can’t find out it if was built, or if his design is online anywhere.
Bunch of stuff from the NYT this morning. Sorry, but that’s how things roll sometimes.
First up: I didn’t know there were plans for an Eisenhower memorial. I like Ike, and the artist’s conception doesn’t strike me as being too awful. However, I’m skeptical of the need for yet another memorial in DC. The big news here is that Eisenhower’s family is now raising “concerns” about the design.
“He was chief of staff of the Army; he was a two-term president of the United States,” said Susan Eisenhower, a granddaughter. “It’s in those roles that America has gratitude for him, not as being a young boy with a great future in front of him.”
Extra bonus points: the memorial designer is WCD’s (and Lawrence’s) favorite architect.
The pilot — feet near the surface, head near the bottom, sightless — was to disconnect himself from the buckled straps, wiggle free, open the window and pull himself through and out, a series of movements intended to simulate what he might need to do in an aircraft that had struck the sea at night.
And this is why they do it:
Lieutenant Farley followed the only instructions he knew. “I did exactly what the training had taught me,” he said. “I grabbed a reference point, drew my breath right before the water went over my head and unbuckled.”
As he slipped free from his seat, he could see nothing. He pulled himself toward where he thought he might escape, but lost his way. He does not remember finding the exit, but he must have. Just before his lungs gave out he was on the surface, the last man out.
Everyone survived: two pilots up front, three crew members and the two passengers.
Lecture mode on:
A New York City police officer whom prosecutors called the leader of a group of officers who accepted thousands of dollars in cash in return for illegally transporting firearms into the state pleaded guilty on Monday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
I commend to the attention of Mayor Bloomberg and “Mumbles” Menino Matthew 7:5. Better yet, I commend to both gentlemen and the other members of the criminal organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns the simple strategy of shutting the f–k up.
Edited to add: Oh, drat. I forgot that I wanted to make note of Alberto Contador being stripped of his 2010 Tour de France win. Congrats to Andy Schleck.
Back in November of last year, we made note of the grand opening of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi.
So how’s the museum doing? The NYT tells us: not so great. As in “almost out of cash” not so great. Major problems:
- Insurance, “which is exceptionally expensive for a building that houses irreplaceable art just yards from the Gulf of Mexico”. Gee, that sounds like a problem someone should have thought about.
- Climate control. “Simply trying to keep the galleries below 30 percent humidity to protect art in a climate where the humidity can reach 90 percent costs thousands of dollars every month.” Ditto.
- The museum apparently isn’t getting the level of “support” (that is, money) from the city that they expected. The city says, in so many words, “We don’t have any extra money to give to the museum. We’re broke.”
- The cost of building the museum went from $15 million to $45 million. You know, when it went up to, say, about $20 million from $15 million, I think I would have said, “Whoa! Let’s scale back a little here.”
- Oddly enough, it seems that there just aren’t that many people interested in visiting a museum mostly devoted to the work of “the self-described ‘mad potter of Biloxi’ who died in 1918 and is regarded as a forerunner of the American modern art movement.”
I missed this one until Tam linked to it (with her usual dose of snark):
NYT architecture critic Nicolai Ourossoff reviews 8 Spruce Street, a new residential tower designed by WCD’s favorite living architect, Frank Gehry.
Speaking of Gehry, I can buy Frank Lloyd Wright Legos; where are my Frank Gehry Legos? Wouldn’t you buy a Guggenheim Bilbao set? I know I would. I’d buy a Disney Concert Hall, too, except I think it would be hard to get Legos that shiny.
Things are still kind of up in the air, but improving slowly. In the meantime, have a handful of random crap:
The Pack is back, baby! (Mostly, I’m linking this for the font: may not be valid after 1/24. Did they drag the “Japs Attack Pearl Harbor!” font out of the Linotype case?)
The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art opened in Biloxi, Mississippi on Monday.
Here’s a nice photo of the museum. Can you guess who designed it?
Looking over Wikipedia’s list of completed Gehry buildings, I don’t see a lot of post-1997 that were designed with that intent. The only two I really see as being possible tourist attractions are the Experience Music Project and the Walt Disney Concert Hall; everything else seems to be corporate, college campus, or medical. That just seems like a pointless shot by the NYT.
The University of Texas has acquired Spalding Gray’s archives. I know that Mike the Musicologist is going “squee” with delight at this news.
I also know some folks who tried to go to the “Gypsy Picnic Food Trailer Festival” on Saturday. Their experience was very much like John Kelso’s.
I’ve been trying to get the photos from my recent trips organized and put together for Flickr purposes. Here’s the first set, which contains some photos of a Frank Gehry designed building in Las Vegas (and a couple of other buildings, too):
I’m still learning how to use the Nikon. There’s a fair number of photos in this set where I did one photo with the camera set to full-auto exposure mode, and a second photo in the same position with the camera set to aperture priority and stopped down to f/22 or smaller, so I could get a sense of depth of field. (Most of these were taken with the 18-55 mm Nikon kit lens: I think I used the 80-200 mm VR lens for the Stratosphere/pyramid photos.)
Comments either here or on Flickr are welcome.
I covered a lot of stuff in my previous travel report, so this will mostly just be updates.
- Project e worked spectacularly well at DEFCON. This is the first chance I’ve had to really push the battery life, and I was able to get an good 12+ hours out of the battery without running it totally dry. (This was with the machine set to “powersave” and putting it into “standby” or “hibernate” when I was in the dealer’s room, or driving around with Mike the Musicologist and Andrew. Continuous usage with the wireless would have been more like 6+ hours, I think, which is still pretty impressive.)
- My one regret is that I forgot my Alfa external WiFi adapter. I would have enjoyed playing with that at the convention.
- The 5.11 bailout bag also worked out well for lugging around Project e and various other equipment. Again, I was able to carry a pretty good load, including the laptop, charger, books, a couple of bottles of water, the small camera, and miscellaneous other necessities.
- MtM has the Nikon with him and has been taking a lot of photos. As you saw below, I did use the Nikon to take some Gehry photos. When I have more time, I’m going to put up an expanded and annotated Flickr photo set; I did some side-by-side experiments with aperture priority vs. automatic exposure.
- Food in Las Vegas was, without exception, pretty darn good. The worst meal I had (at the Four Kegs) was still better than average (and I didn’t order the stromboli, which is the house specialty). We also had a very good (if loud) tapas meal at Firefly* on Paradise, the usual wonderful meal at Lotus of Siam, the previously mentioned dinner at Shabu-Shabu Paradise, and a Moroccan meal at Marrakech. (I had not previously had Moroccan food, so I can’t comment on how authentic it was. I certainly enjoyed my meal, and the belly dancer didn’t hurt.)
Vegas does have something of a shortage of good breakfast places outside of the casinos (and even inside of the casinos, if you’re not looking for a buffet). We had several good breakfasts at Blueberry Hill on Flamingo and one excellent breakfast at The Egg and I on Sahara. I know that MtM and Andrew went to a good Italian place in New York, New York while I was at the convention, and I’ll let them comment on that.
- Between Tucson and Las Vegas, the refurbished Kindle I ordered arrived, and it went on this trip. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about the Kindle later on, but my first impression is “Meh”. I did manage to read John Clark’s Ignition! in PDF format and a Project Gutenberg MOBI format copy of Heart of Darkness without too much trouble, but my experiences with other PDF files and eBooks have been inconsistent.
- On the other hand, I finished, and highly recommend, Ubuntu for Non-Geeks 4th Edition and am almost finished with Cisco Routers for the Desperate 2nd Edition (also recommended). No Starch Press rocks. And the coupon code “DEFCON18″ will get you a 30% discount. And they’re running a half-price sale on all e-books.
- My Southwest experience this time was much more pleasant. No misplaced bags, and no flight delays. One thing that was particularly unusual was going through the security line in Las Vegas; I had, literally, no wait. Just walked straight up to the TSA agent and got in line for the metal detector. It took longer to take my shoes off and the laptop out than it did to get through the rest of security.
My thanks to, in no particular order, the DEFCON 18 staff and presenters, No Starch Press, UNIX Surplus, SEREPick, Lotus of Siam, Shabu-Shabu Paradise, Sarah at the iBar in the Rio, and the unknown belly dancer at Marrakech.
Special thanks to my high-speed, low-drag travel companions in the primary, Mike the Musicologist and Andrew “Porous concrete? What were they thinking?” Wimsatt.
After the jump, and especially for Lawrence, some photos I took last night while running around with Mike the Musicologist.
I haven’t gone fishing in a long time, so let’s dig up some stinky old bait from the cooler and see what we can catch.
Vanity Fair asked a bunch of architects (as well as some architecture critics and “deans of architecture schools”) two questions:
- what are the five most important buildings, bridges, or monuments constructed since 1980?
- what is the greatest work of architecture thus far in the 21st century?
Here are the answers. Here is a slideshow (Warning! Slideshow!) of the top 21 buildings. Here’s a special slideshow (Warning! Slideshow!) of the work of one architect in particular. And here’s an article about that architect and his work.