Gehry Partners, LLP, has been selected by the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission and the General Services Administration to design the national memorial to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The project will be within site of the Capitol, and a block over from the National Mall [reported by Bustler].
Allow me to say: What?!? A national memorial designed by Frankie G? For serious? Eisenhower Memorial Commission Chairman Siciliano released a statement saying â€œItâ€™s appropriate to have one of todayâ€™s most outstanding architects design a memorial for one of our countryâ€™s greatest leadersâ€.
But is it really appropriate? Regardless of opinions of Gehry’s work from a design / construction / aesthetic standpoint, the fact remains that a large amount of his status stems from his being a ‘starchitect’ and an American pop-culture phenomenon. To me this seems to present an issue why he was chosen – was it for his body of work, or for Bilbao and Disney?
What I’m wondering here is: is Gehry truly one of today’s ‘most outstanding’ architects, or has pop-culture reduced him to the ‘most famous’? How often does someone find out your an architect and bring up Gehry’s name? It’s as if in the US architecture is reduced to the ‘two Franks’ – Wright and Gehry. And that’s fine – I’m glad people know the names of any architects at all. I just can’t help but think that the adoration he receives isn’t actually based on his work. His two most ‘famous’ [seemingly] projects have served to bolster his fame by making him into a name brand – but have also created expectations of what his work will ‘be like’.
Long story short: I’m slightly worried that this thing will turn into some kind of curvilinear, amorphous thing that will be sheathed in metal so shiny that it accidentally sets the Capitol ablaze. I guess I should just be happy they didn’t choose Stern…
Posted: April 2nd, 2009
at 9:41pm by orangemenace
Comments: 2 comments