Dear Mr. Vogel:
In its meeting of 21 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a revised concept design for the proposed tapestries, columns, and overlook wall of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, to be located at Maryland and Independence Avenues, SW. The Commission expressed support for the development of these elements of the design, providing the following comments for this project as it advances toward a final design submission.
In their discussion, the Commission members commented that the life-size statue of the young Eisenhower provides a conceptual fulcrum for the memorial as a whole—linking the aspirations symbolized by the landscape image on the tapestry with the historic accomplishments of Eisenhower presented in the sculptural tableaux and inscriptions. The Commission members also commented positively on the juxtaposition of the small statue, the supergraphic lettering on the wall, and the monumental scale of the tapestries which define the entire memorial site. Regarding the composition of the tapestry image, they observed that the long perspective view between columns works best, punctuated by groupings of trees associated with the support columns behind. They expressed appreciation for the development of the layered structural system that connects the tapestry panels to the stone-clad columns; they commented that this stainless steel assembly will require a careful program of maintenance to ensure the enduring presence of this presidential memorial. They expressed support for the proposed treatment of inlaid insignia and medallic art on the two freestanding columns, and they endorsed the revised design of perimeter security elements on ramps and stairs adjacent to the U.S. Department of Education building. To evaluate the strength and legibility of the overall concept in actual experience, the Commission members requested the review of a mockup of the tapestry, including nighttime illumination, as part of the final approval process for the memorial design.
As this review constitutes the last of several concept submissions on detailed topics related to the development of the memorial design, the Commission looks forward to reviewing a comprehensive final design submission. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Robert Vogel, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: Carl Reddel, Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial Commission
Craig Webb, Gehry Partners