So the Eisenhower Memorial gets dedicated tomorrow.

I see coverage of the dedication memory-holing how unhinged the competition happened, but we shouldn't because it had warning signs of the world we live in now:
The memorial had a careful gestation 2001-2010 designed to avoid the problems of the World War II Memorial. They used technocratic processes to get things right early: NCPC's site selection process and an RFP + limited competition modeled on the GSA Design Excellence program
Everything was going fine until 2012, until the then-social media coordinator for the Federalist Society, named Justin Shubow, took over a lethargic trad arch group in DC, the National Civic Art Society, and began agitating against the memorial.
Now I am sympathetic to traditional architecture, and actually attended two meetings, but found the politics not my cup of tea.
Shubow registered eisenhowermemorial dot net and published a 153-page report condemning the design. He's changed the versions that's online a little, but the wayback machine remembers the sort of venomous lies in it:…
This is Q*anon stuff. But journalists ate it up, repeated his slanders, and always gave him the credibility of having an organization behind him, especially when they ran a counter-competition in 2012.
Around this time, Eisenhower's family began to back out of the process, primarily over the fact that Eisenhower was only figuratively represented as a boy.
But I wanted to see if Justin really believed this stuff, and I met with him. The things he told me were so alarming, so appalling I joined twitter and started researching.
He told me that fundamentally he believes that Gehry is a nihilist seeing to force nihilism on the world (through crazy shapes, I guess), and that an enlightened elite should use architecture to manage the public. Pure Straussianism.
I also discovered that his pattern of lying was typical, including secret recordings, taking people out of context in deliberately misleading ways, or just misinterpreting things because he doesn't know a lick about architecture.

I wrote that up.…
After that went public he got into a habit of doing what everyone else said he did: emailing people to discredit me with misleading, cherry-picked quotes from me.

I did have issues with the design, but I staid silent so he could not misuse my words. I wasn't the only one.
For example, Shubow cast the project's size and cost as singularly excessive using sloppy and misleading statistics.

His manipulations made it hard to have a real conversation about the bloating size of memorials and America's runaway construction costs.…
Shubow knew he could get away with this because the Memorial Commission and all the Design Review agencies are forbidden from disputing non-factual claims, so journalists were hearing "both sides" without understanding the context.
I could say a hundred other things about the specific allegations, but Shubow was on the outs and got fired from FedSoc after a contentious vote by the politicians on the Commission.
Donald Trump subsequently appointed him to the Commission of Fine Arts, and he is likely behind Trump's classical architecture EO, which showed just how shallow his understanding of western classical architecture is.
At that point, the real question became whether the designers could get the Eisenhower family on board, and whether they could persuade the NCPC project reviewer, Shane Dettman that the project met certain planning criteria.
Gehry eventually acceded to the family and NCPC. Contrary to Shubow's caricature, the design you see is radically different from the competition one. The CFA library as packets that show at least 10 iterations due to feedback.
Shubow of course accused, uh, Gehry Partners-Gensler JV of being fatcat elites for charging for architectural services, including physical mockups.
Opponents made a rallying cry of the fact that this was a "secret competition" - it wasn't, it was solicited to prestige firms and posted on FedBizOps, and invited four firms to compete. You can find their designs online.
What learned was that the history of competitions on the National Mall shows that power in the brief and the design jury, no matter how many entrants there are. Likewise, the quality of the memorial depends on much more than a good entry.…
I certainly have mixed feelings about the design, where I love the parti and spaces, but cannot like the sculpture.

The poor quality is due in no small part to the fear of getting mis-quoted and exhaustion caused by the 4-year-long derailing of the design review process.
After the design was approved in 2016, people involved in the memorial said they thought what happened was analogous to the Tea Party Movement:

The Commission was older, establishment Republicans; the opponents were younger, bolder reactionaries. It was a mistake to miss this.
America is a failed state with a waning hegemon, due for some soul searching about its monuments, and I hope the completion of the memorial is an opportunity to delve a little deeper.

I hope this thread helps.
Oh yeah, wait how did I forget the weirdest event: when disgraced illinoisan Aaron Schock came to NCPC to testify against the memorial, to impress certified lizard person Darrell Issa?
Correction - Gensler did the site selection process, Aecom was the JV landscape partner.

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More from @jg_bollard

25 Mar
I am not convinced we'll see long-term spatial consequences from covid itself. From the economic consequences, that sounds more plausible.
If the ICC is paying attention, we will see more consequences in the design of ventilation.

I am fascinated by this detail in the SARS epidemic, where SARS viruses were aerosolized in toilets and then spread back through bathroom floor drains.… Image
This says that the transmission required small bathrooms, negative ventilation pressure, and dry traps in the floor drains.

Most US apartment bathrooms don't have floor drains and a lot vent separately, so IDK about this pathway here. But...
Read 34 tweets

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