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Gehry's plan for memorial to Eisenhower upsets family


Like any great military and political leader, Dwight Eisenhower had every right to expect that his likeness would one day be immortalised in bronze or marble and installed prominently in his nation's capital. But that was before Frank Gehry came along.

Instead of a traditional statue, the architect has designed a memorial park in Washington DC, framed by 80ft tall metal tapestries carrying scenes of highlights from the US Army general-turned-president's career, such as the Allied invasion of Normandy and the creation of Nasa. In the middle of the site, on Independence Avenue, will be a sculpture of Eisenhower as a boy in Kansas, gazing in wide-eyed wonder at what would one day become of his life.

Gehry's concept has won rave reviews from architecture critics. But their excitement is not shared by descendants of Eisenhower, who was president from 1953 to 1961. They have filed a complaint with the National Capital Planning Commission.

Eisenhower's grand-daughter, Anne, said Gehry had over-emphasised the president's humble roots and neglected his subsequent accomplishments.

"The mandate is to honour Eisenhower, and that is not being done in this current design," she told The Associated Press.