|The second-place alternate:|
|The first-place alternate:
The National Civic Art Society wasn’t happy with Frank Gehry’s modernist proposal for an Eisenhower memorial near the National Mall, so they sponsored a competition to design an alternative. The results were released last night, including first and second place winners. Both winners, along with Gehry’s original design, are shown at right.
Gehry’s design has the advantage of offering a more direct connection to Eisenhower himself. Gehry proposes columns reminiscent of the Interstate highways Eisenhower championed, as well as large panels depicting Eisenhower’s life. On the other hand, it’s ugly and wouldn’t do anything to soften the harsh landscape of its site in the Southwest Federal Center.
On the other hand, the two competition winners are both beautiful and would bring a touch of grace to Southwest’s harsh streets, but they both have less to do with Ike himself. They’re each vastly superior as a city square, but probably inferior as a memorial. The second place winner does however bear a strong resemblance to the World War II memorial, which is a nice parallel.
Overall, I’d pick the second place competition design. Of the three choices, it’s the best compromise.