Eisenhower Memorial and PS1 Young Architects Program Receive Rival, Unsolicited Competitions

The old saying “you can’t please all the people all of the time” has gotten a workout in recent days, focused on pieces of architecture. Archinect recently started up their “PS1 Young Architects Program People’s Choice Awards,” an unsolicited competition for the MoMA offshoot. The popular architecture site said they felt PS1‘s real competition “is beginning to show signs that its competitors have outgrown their hosts as an increasing number of entrants feel compelled to look beyond the creation of shade and add new dimensions of relevance to their proposals.” A fun, very interesting exercise, but while voting is still open until March 11th, PS1 has already selected the firm Interboro to design their courtyard for the hopefully-here-soon summer.

Elsewhere, in Washington DC, the National Civic Art Society and the Institute for Classical Architecture & Classical America have come together to form the “Eisenhower Memorial Competition.” The groups don’t like the commissioned Frank Gehry‘s likely soon-to-be-given-the-go-ahead plans, which we reported on back in 2009, shortly after Gehry had won the real competition, as possibly being able to “reinvent our thoughts about memorials.” In opposition, the groups have said of his memorial:”Devoid of, and in defiance of, traditional aesthetic principles, the proposed design does not convey the meaning, inspiration and dignity suitable to commemorate a distinguished general and president of the United States.” Furthermore, they say, “This proposal fails Eisenhower, fails beauty, fails our capital city, and, in so doing, fails our nation.” So they’ve opened up their own competition, inviting architects and designers alike to come up with something better. Will the Congress-created commission who hired Gehry reconsider once they’ve seen these alternate versions? Not likely. But if your heart’s in it, it never hurts to try, does it?