Gehry Partners were chosen to design the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington D.C. I thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about divided interests in architecture. Whenever you have a monumental site, not to mention the memory of a prominent national figure, there is no way to please everyone. I would point to ground zero in New York City as a recent prominent example of a similar situation. So many people with differing opinions and interests will not be pacified easily, particularly when they have a vested interest in the project. The architect in this instance becomes almost a referee as opposed to an artist. This isn't necessarily a good or bad situation, just the realities of the profession and the world we live in. The point I would make is that regardless of whether you have a high profile site in a country of 350 million people, or a quarter acre site in a neighborhood of 100 families, the approach is similar. Care is taken to tread lightly on the interests of those affected by your work. In this way, being likable and amiable toward others must be a skill acquired during your architect training, because it doesn't matter how talented an architect you are if you can't persuade others to believe in you.
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