Wednesday, January 23, 2008

CB8 Meeting Focused on Kahn FDR Memorial Design

Despite RIRA President Matthew Katz's own assertions, that the question of whether the Louis Kahn design FDR Memorial is appropriate for this Island at this time and that the issue should be brought to a larger vote by the local populace, the meeting of the Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island committee seemed to focus on the design and the fact that most public memorials are built without consultation or input of the local populace.

Model - Facing UN

The meeting chaired by Patrick Stewart, included a presentation by Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel, who is spearheading the fundraising project on behalf of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. I expect to post a video of his presentation shortly. He indicated at this time only $10 million of the $40 million needed has been raised or pledged and that if the project does not happen these funds woud not be available to another design or park project. They were raised based on the Kahn design and for no other.

Model - Facing North

Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel was President of the Four Freedoms Foundation from 1984–87 and President of its successor, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, from 1987 to 2000. He has served as Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as U.S. Representative to the European Office of the United Nations.

Model - Facing South

The Ambassador indicated upon questioning that no part of the $40 million is for an endowment to upkeep the Memorial after it is built. RIOC President Steve Shane when discussing this issue after the event indicated that an agreement (circa 1970's) exists between NYS and NYC which indicated that the State Parks Department agreed to be responsible for the maintenance but he wondered if this could be upheld as no funding is evident in any state budgets issued to date.

Model - Aerial View of Southern Tip

As noted above the design appeared central to many statements and the members of the CB8 committee were disppointed that the Ambassador and the representatives from FERI had not brought any drawings or materials which would better demonstrate the first person feel of the memorial other than the aerial views which all parties agreed were impersonal and give off a very hard image of the planned memorial. It is expected that before any future planned Town Hall meetings or presentations to CB8 that newly drawn rendering and drawing would be presented.

When given the opportunity the audience members which spoke seemed to be in favor of the memorial by a margin of two to one. My own view given at the event was that I fear the sweeping 360 degree views will be lost to the trees despite my being told and hearing that the foliage would only begiin at above 7 feet in height and as such the views would remain despite my argument that some loss must be acknowledged as 20 foot trees are not invisible and must block views in some manner compared to today. the model photographed above seems to support my concerns.

The photos presented throughout this post were taken from a web site devoted and created in support to a Cooper Union exhibition regarding the memorial I believe in 1998.

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