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NCPC Final Approval of Site and Building Plans


The National Park Service (NPS), on behalf of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, has submitted final site and building plans for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. Congress authorized the memorial under P.L. 106-79, enacted October 25, 1999, as amended. The project is located on a four-acre site in Southwest Washington, DC. The overarching design concept of the memorial continues to be based upon the notion of a commemorative object within a temple, similar to how the Lincoln Memorial is organized, that establishes a layered experience that transitions visitors through a series of defined spaces that move from the busy urban surroundings, through active and passive park spaces, and finally into an intimate commemorative core where
the story of President Eisenhower unfolds.

A centrally located memorial core containing limestone bas-relief blocks, free-standing bronze sculpture, and quotations will commemorate Dwight D. Eisenhower's legacy and his role in American history as a Military General and as President of the United States. As a backdrop to the core, a large-scale stainless steel tapestry, supported by a monumental colonnade, is proposed along the southern edge of the site. The tapestry is approximately 80 feet high and 447 feet in length. The columns that support the tapestry are approximately 10 feet in diameter and 80 feet high. As proposed, the tapestry serves both functional and commemorative purposes. Functionally, the tapestry and supporting colonnade are used to define the southern edge of the memorial and provide visual separation from the Lyndon B. Johnson Department of Education Building. As a commemorative element, the tapestry will depict landscape scenery of Abilene, Kansas,Eisenhower's hometown, and is meant to honor Eisenhower's Midwestern core values of strength, modesty, and integrity.

Two freestanding columns on the north side of the memorial help define a park space within the larger site and surrounding precinct. The freestanding columns are the same diameter and height as those supporting the tapestry, and are placed in alignment with each other, and with the end columns of the south tapestry approximately 155 feet to the north. The columns contribute to the layered experience of the memorial as they mark a threshold as one enters the site from the northwest and northeast. The landscape design of the memorial reinforces the tapestry imagery through plant materials that are characteristic of the Kansas plains. The memorial ground plane includes groomed lawn along the historic Maryland Avenue cartway, and slightly taller grasses throughout the rest of site. Several types of canopy and understory trees are arranged in clusters throughout the site to frame the Maryland Avenue viewshed and views of the memorial core and tapestry. Visitor services will be located in a one-story information center placed in the southeast corner of the site. The building has a footprint of approximately 2,400 square feet and will contain restrooms, a bookstore, and an NPS ranger contact station. Paved entry plazas at the northeast and northwest corners of the site
will receive visitors and direct them along walkways through the park space and towards the memorial core. The threshold into the memorial core will be delineated through the use of paving materials that differ from the walkways.

Finally, a new pedestrian promenade is proposed between the memorial and the Department of Education Building. The promenade, to be known as LBJ Promenade, will serve as a new entry forecourt to the Department of Education Building and provide outdoor seating, exhibit areas, and a memorial overlook that can accommodate gatherings of various sizes.
 
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