Congress enters Eisenhower memorial debate

WASHINGTON – Congress is wading into the dispute over the memorial for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, which is expected to be built near the National Mall.

The Eisenhower family doesn’t like Frank Gehry’s design, even after changes, and California Rep. Darrell Issa is demanding more answers.

At a subcommittee hearing, the National Capital Planning Commission’s Preston Bryant says he also has his own questions about key parts of the design, like metal mesh scrims. Bryant questions whether the materials are designed to last and will stand the test of decades.

“The architects are continuing to work and to test the materials to answer those questions,” Bryant says.

Engineers want to make sure the permanent structure will hold up for a century, but National Civic Art Society head Justin Shubow says that is not good enough.

“One hundred years is far short of permanent,” Shubow says.

He calls the design a postmodern eyesore, and says it clashes with the tradition of presidential memorials and D.C.’s classical style.

WTOP’s Max Smith contributed to this report. Follow Max and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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