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Among the biggest complaints are blocked vantages of the Capitol from along Maryland Avenue and the durability, structural soundness and scope of large stainless steel tapestries proposed for the sides of the memorial.
The NCPC review also backs skepticism from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts about Gehry’s proposed tapestries. They noted that the CFA suggested eliminating the tapestries, out of concern that “their size and placement, may provide a first impression that was incongruent with Eisenhower’s characteristic humility as visitors approach the site.”
To gain the NCPC’s approval on preliminary building plans, the commission, which awarded Gehry the contract on the project in 2009, still needs to work with him on plans for pedestrian circulation, lighting, perimeter security and signage and make sure the plan preserves the integrity of the historic L’Enfant and McMillan plans for the city.
Justin Shubow, president of the National Civic Art Society, said Tuesday after reviewing the NCPC’s recommendation that the agency “meticulously and devastatingly proves why the memorial must not be approved at this time.”
Members of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission — Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, Sanford D. Bishop Jr., D-Ga., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif. — declined to comment on how Cole might affect the project.
Spokesmen for Thompson and Simpson both said the congressmen looked forward to working with all commission members.