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Wednesday, December 23, 2020


Trump's order stipulates that new buildings commissioned for the federal government must be "beautiful" and names classical and traditional architecture as the preferred style, but stops short of banning other styles, such as brutalism (pictured above: San Francisco Federal Building). 

Lame duck US president Donald Trump signed an executive order earlier this week insisting all new federal government buildings must be considered "beautiful" and ideally be designed in the classical or traditional style, reports a host of architectural industry trade publications, including dezeen online architecture and design magazine. 

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) says not so fast as it "unequivocally opposes" Trump’s lame duck architecture rules. "Communities should have the right and responsibility to decide for themselves what architectural design best fits their needs," said AIA CEO Robert Ivy. "We look forward to working with president-elect Biden to ensure that," he added. 

To read Trump’s Executive Order Click here. 

AIA Publicly Declares Trump design mandate "appalling" 

GUEST BLOG / By India Block, Executive Order on Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture, the last-minute decree from Trump rails against an "architectural elite" and states that classical and traditional building styles are "the preferred architecture". 

The AIA expressed relief that the final order was less concerning than the draft order published earlier this year, which threatened to ban modernist architecture styles such as brutalism and prompted the AIA to send over 11,000 letters to the White House in protest. 

"Though we are appalled with the administration’s decision to move forward with the design mandate, we are happy the order isn’t as far-reaching as previously thought," said Ivy. 

AIA backs "diversity" in architecture styles Still, the AIA took exception to the executive order's attempt to prescribe architectural styles and establish a new design council that would report to the president. "It inappropriately elevates the design tastes of a few federal appointees over the communities in which the buildings will be placed," the AIA statement said. 

Instead, the AIA said it maintained a "style-neutral" stance on public architecture and remained committed to "diversity" in American architecture. Earlier this month the AIA banned its members from designing spaces for execution or solitary confinement in a move to "dismantle racial injustice".

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