Representing Eisenhower as a teenage boy, as Gehry proposed, would be interesting, Savage said, because it makes people relate to him in a different way, perhaps more closely.
"It's about humanizing the leader, bringing him down into our space and our world, so that we can engage with him," Savage said. "If they had just decided to do a statue of him in a military uniform or as president, in a way it wouldn't have provoked any commentary at all.
"No one would have really paid attention."
Davis Buckley, an architect who has designed other memorials in Washington, said a more daring approach with Eisenhower's memorial makes sense because "Ike" established the basis "for who we are now in the 21st century." Many people may forget that he integrated schools and created and the Federal Aviation Administration.
"He was a visionary, and I think that it is appropriate to push the design envelope in terms of what this memorial is," Buckley said. "It's a question of how they get there."
Susan Eisenhower said the family is trying to be constructive and ensure there is a full public discussion.
"We knew him better than anybody," said Susan Eisenhower. "I just don't feel any part of him in this."
Eisenhower Memorial Commission: http://eisenhowermemorial.org
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