Architects Respond to a Possible 'Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again' Executive Order

  • February 05, 2020 13:37

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The western front of the United States Capitol. The Neoclassical style building is in Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill, at the east end of the National Mall. The Capitol was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960.
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Architectural Record broke the news that neoclassical architecture could be the mandated style for future federal buildings nationwide according to a leaked preliminary draft of an executive order, reportedly entitled "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again."

AR: "...the White House would require rewriting the Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture, issued in 1962, to ensure that 'the classical architectural style shall be the preferred and default style' for new and upgraded federal buildings."

While a throwback to antiquity and 18th century aesthetic values that have inspired many existing government buildings, the order would counter longstanding U.S. Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture which state, in part, that “design must flow from the architectural profession to the government and not vice versa." 

The American Institute of Architects issued the following statement on Feb. 4: “The AIA strongly opposes uniform style mandates for federal #architecture. Architecture should be designed for the specific communities that it serves, reflecting our rich nation’s diverse places, thought, culture and climates. Architects are committed to honoring our past as well as reflecting our future progress, protecting the freedom of thought and expression that are essential to democracy.”

Tags: architecture

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