Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again

There is a draft executive order being considered that would require government building be designed in “classical architectural style”.

This from the Architectural Record 2/4/20

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).

The AIA (American Institute of Architects) responded as follows:

“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.”

I feel strongly that the government should not try control the design of buildings and fully agree with the AIA.

I’m curious to know how other feel about this.

It’s pretty silly.

I thought all buildings had to be tore down and rebuilt under the green new deal they should hold off.

All the best looking federal buildings are big Art Deco or Neo Gothic piles from the early 20th century though.

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I actually agree with the government here to an extent.

Gimme a moment and I will demonstrate why.


No thanks. Federal buildings should be Brutalist

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Ha. That is perfect.


I find that surprising.

Boston City Hall comes to mind.

So they want everything to look like the federal courthouse in Foley Square in Manhattan? You’ve seen it a million times, because every New York cop show uses it as the establishing shot for the courts at 100 Centre Street, even though they really look like the world’s most boring office block.

This atrocity in San Francisco, which even the people in San Francisco hate, is evidence enough that some measure of control and standardization of Federal Building design is desirable.

Yes, I would allow room for some variation appropriate to the city in question, but NOT to this extent.

There are no doubt poorly designed buildings. It however, isn’t a matter of the style, but of execution.

Have you seen the the Vietnam Memorial in DC? How do you think it compares to the newer WWII Memorial nearby? Which do you find to be a better, more powerful design?

Does this apply to the wall?

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We’re gonna let a man who ■■■■■ on a golden toilet tell us what our buildings should look like?

If the Wall were to be designed after the EO is signed it actually might.

My point is that modern design can be beautiful, limiting our future to “classical” design would be a mistake.

Have you ever seen the movie “The Fountainhead”?

The World War II Memorial is the better of the two in my opinion.

But there is quite a difference when speaking of the design of a memorial and that of a working building.

And the one in San Francisco clearly went beyond the pale. There are other federal buildings that are architectural atrocities.

I am not advocating for one size fits all. In fact, I think a federal building should reflect the general architecture of the city around it.

I do think some standardization and some method of review prior to the commencement of construction would be good.

We don’t want cookie cutter buildings.

We definitely don’t want any repeats of the atrocity that is the San Francisco Federal Building.

I don’t think he is going to actually be involved in the design process.

And despite his many faults, he does come up with a good idea from time to time.

I completely agree with you.

It seems that you are arguing for “cookie cutter” buildings.

As for the Vietnam Memorial, I think it is by far the more powerful of the two memorials.

But there are no wrong answers here and your opinion is as valid as mine.