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Architect Frank Gehry revises design for planned Eisenhower Memorial in DC after objections

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WASHINGTON - Architect Frank Gehry is revising the design for a memorial honouring President Dwight D. Eisenhower near the National Mall after objections delayed the project.

On Thursday, Gehry's Los Angeles-based team proposed eliminating metal tapestries on the sides of the memorial square, along with some columns. The designers are trying to win approval from the National Capital Planning Commission. The federal panel rejected a previous design in April.

Three stainless steel tapestries depicting the Kansas landscape of Ike's boyhood home were part of Gehry's original design. With two removed, one long tapestry would remain as a backdrop for a memorial park. The site also includes statues of Eisenhower as president and World War II general.

Eisenhower Memorial Commission spokeswoman Chris Kelley Cimko said the group hopes the changes help move the project forward.

Even with the changes, some critics still oppose the use of tapestries and columns in the memorial. Justin Shubow of the National Civic Art Society said the Kansas landscape is unrecognizable in Gehry's design.

Eisenhower's family also has opposed the large columns and the inclusion of metal tapestries, calling instead for a smaller-scale approach. The concept has received mixed reviews from civic art and planning experts who must approve the design before the project can move forward.

One concern has been preserving views of the nearby U.S. Capitol between the memorial's massive columns. The view corridor is wider under the revised design with fewer columns, the memorial group said.

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Follow Brett Zongker on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DCArtBeat

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