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“Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again"

ChairmanMeow

Cyburbian
Messages
114
Points
5
I thought it was an Onion headline when I saw it in my FB feed. Sadly, it's not. I don't hate classical architecture. I also feel mildly confused bc this is an exec order from a man who likes his buildings to feature gold and his name in large letters.

RECORD has obtained what appears to be a preliminary draft of the order, under which 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. Entitled “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again,” the draft order argues that the founding fathers embraced the classical models of “democratic Athens” and “republican Rome” for the capital’s early buildings because the style symbolized the new nation’s “self-governing ideals” (never mind, of course, that it was the prevailing style of the day).
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
2,388
Points
33
He hasn't signed it yet, but even if he does, how many major federal buildings will be built in the next 5 years? And if they're classical, so what? Then after he's gone the next prez can rescind the order. Lots of things for me to be upset about, but this ain't one of them.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,324
Points
46
I feel like you have to give credit to the Trump Presidency Team - they are really good at focusing on stuff that will leave an impact....... :ha:
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
27,896
Points
70
Count me as a 'nay' vote for mandating a stylistic standard.
 

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
11,036
Points
36
I'm not a fan of Brutalism and enjoy the more classical look. I've posted the sentiment in other threads. However, a lot of what seems to drive design is economics.
 

Luca

Cyburbian
Messages
1,187
Points
21
Then again, one of the hallmarks of populism (if I may be permitted a potentially loaded word) is to advocate policies that align with the opinion of a substantive portion of the population when (indeed especially if) they contrast with the orthodoxy that obtains in 'the market' or among 'the experts'.
In that sense, the decision is not surprising, per se.

The 1962 GSA guidelines, apparently authored by the prominent Senator Moynihan, state that “an official style must be avoided”, that "new buildings should reflect their time" and that “design must flow from the architectural profession to the government and not vice versa".

So, back in 1962, arguably at the height of the academic and high-cultural prestige of 'Modernism', Moynihan de facto delivered the stylistic agenda to the prevailing authority of the architectural profession.
I can only imagine that was very well received by the SOMs of this world.
To what extent the buildings that followed since reflect the GA guidelines I am not able to say.
But I think it is fair to say that the overall record of public-sector architecture in the second half of the 20th C. (and, so far, the 21st C.) is undistinguished at best and damn poor at worst.

Will the new guidelines (which seem a re unlikely to outlive Trump's presidency) result in classical-style buildings being erected?
Would that be a bad thing? I, for one, do not subscribe to the doctrine of ahistoricism (all buildings should be 'of their time', whatever that means).
There is, of course, the danger of poor execution but, from where I stand, a poorly executed neoclassical building is no uglier than 99% of ALL modernist, brutalist, 'high-tech and deconstructivist buildings ever built and no uglier than many (most?) post-modern buildings ever built.

Fascinating stuff...
 
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DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,188
Points
48
I think he's coming from a place of pointing out the Hoover building where everybody agrees that is some of the ugliest brutalism ever. He's the kind that calls for drastic change to what he wants instead due to one or two bad examples rather than look at long term impacts of a policy. I happen to like classical architecture, especially for government buildings, but I would not want to restrict it to just one style. I'm also with Doohickie. Some other president will come along later and repeal it so it should be no big deal.
 

Luca

Cyburbian
Messages
1,187
Points
21
Predictable reply op-ed peice in the NYT.



I will not bore you with a point-by-point refutation of the factual mistakes, glaring ideological / stylistic cant, ad hominems and unsupported statements but I Think the very biased title - subtitle says it all:

"What’s So Great About Fake Roman Temples? A spectacular campaign to elevate the design of federal buildings is under threat from small-minded classicists."

One could simply invert it and ask: "What's So Great About Fake Bauhaus Factories? A worthy effort to stop fugly, inhumane architecture is under threat from a narcissistic architectural establishment"

Re. what DVD said: agree on the likely minimal actual impact (assuming that directive is ever signed).
 
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