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FDR Memorial Gets Subtle Yet Powerful Water Views, Critical Praise

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While a much larger-profile memorial is being finished across a river, on the banks of another New York island, we've been keeping an eye on progress at the site of the FDR Four Freedoms Memorial on Roosevelt Island, slated for completion in fall 2012. The capstone of the project, a "room" located on the southern tip, was the subject of two archi-critic tours this week and so far, so glowing.

Bloomberg's James Russell praises architect Louis Kahn's "deceptively simple gestures to minimize distraction and every hint of artifice"in juxtaposing a minimalist structure of 36-ton granite blocks with views of the city skyline, the New York harbor, and the path articulating the FDR memorial park, which instills "the kind of awe inspired by the stony perfection of ancient temples." Besides The Room, the first finished portion of the $45 million project, Kahn's design calls for "a monumental staircase leading up to a wide lawn flanked by two rows of linden trees"—as Paul Goldberger points out in The New Yorker, former U.S. ambassador William vanden Heuvel raised the construction costs through an LLC and has kept the memorial precisely the way Louis Kahn planned. Goldberger approves: "Like all of Kahn's best work, the memorial is abstract, simple, and powerful."
· Kahn’s FDR Memorial Rises in N.Y.C. River After 40 Years [Bloomberg]
· Talk of the Town: Roosevelt's Room [The New Yorker]
· FDR Memorial coverage [Curbed]