New Executive Order Promoting Classical Federal Architecture

Last Friday President Trump signed an executive order requiring all new federal buildings to be built according to the principals of Classical architecture.

The order states,

It is time to update the policies guiding Federal architecture to address these problems and ensure that architects designing Federal buildings serve their clients, the American people. New Federal building designs should, like America’s beloved landmark buildings, uplift and beautify public spaces, inspire the human spirit, ennoble the United States, command respect from the general public, and, as appropriate, respect the architectural heritage of a region. They should also be visibly identifiable as civic buildings and should be selected with input from the local community.

The order seeks to eliminate or minimize “Brutalist” and “Deconstructivist” architectural styles that came into use in the second half of the 20th century and replace them with Classical architecture which the order describes as follows:

“Classical architecture” means the architectural tradition derived from the forms, principles, and vocabulary of the architecture of Greek and Roman antiquity, and as later developed and expanded upon by such Renaissance architects as Alberti, Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, and Palladio; such Enlightenment masters as Robert Adam, John Soane, and Christopher Wren; such 19th-century architects as Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Robert Mills, and Thomas U. Walter; and such 20th-century practitioners as Julian Abele, Daniel Burnham, Charles F. McKim, John Russell Pope, Julia Morgan, and the firm of Delano and Aldrich. Classical architecture encompasses such styles as Neoclassical, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Beaux-Arts, and Art Deco.

To achieve its aims, the order also establishes a “President’s Council on Improving Federal Civic Architecture” and requires that any building plans contradicting the order must be brought to the President’s attention.

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