Trump order: New federal buildings must be ‘beautiful’

Trump order: New federal buildings must be ‘beautiful’

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Treasure Building, Washington DC
image captionWashington is a city of columns

US President Donald Trump has issued an order that future federal buildings across the country must be “beautiful”, and preferably built in a classical Greek, Roman, or similar style. 

The executive order says too many federal buildings reflected “brutalist” designs of the last century.

It says new government buildings should look more like America’s “beloved” landmarks such as the White House.

Although traditionalists will welcome the move, many others are unhappy.

The American Institute of Architects said it “unequivocally opposes” the initiative.

The order – titled “Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture” – creates a new council to advise the president on future federal buildings.

“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,” the order reads.

The White House
image captionClassical buildings such as the White House are “cherished landmarks”, the order says

President Trump, a property developer, has only a few weeks left in office after losing November’s election to Joe Biden.

His executive order says that federal buildings built in Washington DC in recent times have created “a discordant mixture of classical and modernist designs”.

It said that with some exceptions, the government had “largely stopped building beautiful buildings”.

The use of classical and other traditional architecture “should be encouraged instead of discouraged”, it adds.

A draft of the order was first made public in February, raising objections from the American Institute of Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

On Monday, the institute said that communities should have “the right and responsibility to decide for themselves what architectural design best fits their needs”.

The head of the institute, Robert Ivy, said in a statement: “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.”

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