Thumbs down on Eisenhower design

I can not agree more regarding Herman Belz opinion on Frank Gehry's design for theDwight D. EisenhowerMemorial ("Unworthy of Ike," June 11). Mr. Gehry's awareness is slight and lacks aesthetic depth. Certain character fundamentals of President Eisenhower's life should capture our imagination and the memory in principle. A structure, sculpture or monument in the public domain becomes a record of the person we knew in life, his accomplishment and legacy. The emphasis here should be his movement of energy, mass and miracle, bravado and willingness in the face of a better tomorrow for mankind.

Eisenhower had a self-organized sense of feeling, a depth of knowing with a distinct sense of purpose in his organizational commands. The manner by which he communicated and how he entrusted others stems from knowing oneself firmly with conviction. Mr. Gehry has not come close in portraying these virtues.

The design recently shared on-line was a surreal step backward to what appeared to me, a period of fascist monument design. That's how I saw it. What is revealed is the designer's internal motivation and lack of a clear statement. The materials did not communicate well with each other for the depth of placement and integration should somehow create an excitement, a visual display with interactive light and sound knowing a predictable public use.

One has to wonder if Mr. Gehry was selected more because his is famous than because he has a true grasp of form and function. As an old studio guy, this is not just a concept in making good choices, it means a genuine hands-on ability, knowing the feel and the direction of an evolving form, giving it movement means giving it life. Mr. Gehry's work shows no evidence of this.

There is lack of breadth, lack of continuity, too much lineal mounting of mass burdening the landscape and in its final resting, the poor choice of light and perspective is truly sophomoric. I think the Eisenhower family should excuse the association all together.

Gerald J. McCarty, Tucson, Ariz.

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