The commission voted unanimously to approve the $110 million project, which has been gestating for 14 years and has been the subject of a fair amount of controversy, including vocal objections by some members of the Eisenhower family. The memorial will be built across the street from the National Air and Space Museum, a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol.
To win the commission's approval, Gehry tweaked the design of statues depicting Eisenhower as a young man, a World War II general, and president. A bas relief that had been removed from the design was restored, and excerpts from Eisenhower's celebrated Guildhall Address—delivered in the wake of the allied victory in Europe—will also be included.General P.X. Kelley, who chairs the commission's advisory board and who helped oversee development of the Korean and WWII memorials, called the updated design "spectacular."
Gehry offered prepared remarks before the commission, saying he has "spent the last four years immersed in Eisenhower's words, and the words of those who have shaped how history will define him." The architect said that new imagery, including the D-Day landing at Normandy and Eisenhower signing the Civil Rights Act of 1957, was added in part to respond to concerns by family members and other critics.