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Kahn's Roosevelt memorial edges closer to completion

Louis Kahn’s posthumous memorial to Franklin D Roosevelt - the 32nd US president who died in 1945 - may finally be completed, 34 years after it was designed.


The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI), which is seeking to complete the memorial, said an anonymous $2.5 million donation had kicked started a $40 million fund raising campaign.




The triangular concrete memorial was designed by Kahn in 1973 - a year before his death - to jut out, spit-like, from the tip of Roosevelt Island in New York’s East River, opposite the UN building.




A raised lawn lined with trees was to guide visitors to an open-topped granite box inscribed with Roosevelt’s Four Freedom Speeches at the memorial’s tip.




The form of the memorial has already been constructed and FERI executive director Gina Pollara told New York’s Architectural Record: ‘Most of the memorial is already there, we only need to plant the trees and lay the granite blocks.’




The memorial is sited on 1.1ha of land included in the Southpoint area of New York City. Under a scheme by WRT Planning and Design, Southpoint is being rejuvenated, but the completion of the memorial is not part of that scheme.




‘Roosevelt Island was renamed because the memorial was going to be put there,’ said Pollara. ‘Many people today don’t even know who Roosevelt was, but his definitions of freedom are more important than ever.’




by Max Thompson

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