For the last two years, the National Civic Art Society (NCAS) — a nonprofit devoted to upholding and promoting Western ideals of classical beauty in art and architecture — has waged a relentless campaign against modern architect Frank Gehry’s design for the giant, largely taxpayer-funded national memorial to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, winning a major victory last month when Congress pulled the rug out from under the project by allotting it zero budget for the next fiscal year.
Why are they so determined? For two major reasons:
1) Pointing out that the competition considered 44 entries, whereas the National World War II Memorial considered 407, NCAS called the process by which Gehry’s design was chosen “secretive, elitist, and undemocratic.”
2) NCAS also criticized the Eisenhower Memorial’s proposed design, calling it an “impious, soulless design … [that] suggests nothing noble or heroic” and “represents a fundamental cleavage with the tradition of national presidential memorials.”
And when the Eisenhower family came out against Gehry’s plan, the design, it seemed, was in big trouble.
But what now? What suggestions does NCAS have in place of Gehry’s proposal? Well, they held a public competition to find out.
Despite operating on a shoestring budget, NCAS was able to gather over 30 designs for public display at an event last week (an opportunity the public never had with the previous contestants). The designs, they feel, not only properly recognize Eisenhower’s military and presidential accomplishments, they preserve the traditional beauty of the National Mall.
Here, at The Daily Caller, are 15 of them.
Nicole Choi contributed to this report.