President's House design criticized (Philadelphia)

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As construction of the President's House memorial is poised to begin, sharp criticisms have been leveled at the architectural design, catching officials by surprise and focusing attention on purportedly historically inaccurate elements of the project.

The house's dimensions are incorrect, the arc of a bow window is distorted, and the building's now-infamous slave quarters are incorrectly located, the critics assert.

Some historians and members of a committee charged with reviewing the memorial's design and content say they are stunned by the vehemence of the complaints. Beyond that, they argue that the memorial - which it is hoped will open next July Fourth - is less about architectural detail and more about the difficult story of enslavement at the heart of the new nation.

And the architect says the current plan conforms to the house dimensions contained in various 18th-century plans and revealed in a 2007 archaeological excavation that exposed some foundations.

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