If this GSA draft is codified as official policy, Classicism's revival, which yesterday could credibly be defended on both artistic and intellectual grounds, is morally and mortally wounded. Modernists and Classicists should be equally outraged.
Unfortunately, this right-wing hijacking has been in the making for some time, though mostly under the radar. No more. From here on out, there will be no way to separate Trumpism from Greco/Roman forms and details. It's a literal kiss of death.
Shouldn't this also apply to the "wall." Which classical order is most appropriate for that structure? Yes, it will add cost, but don't worry- Mexico is paying for it.Where is Albert Speer when you need him?
I understand that there are some federal judges behind this effort that wrote the draft. They now have a sympathetic ear in the White House.
Ted Kollaja, FAIA
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President Trump's first appointment, in November 2018, was Justin Shubow, the president of the National Civic Art Society, which is devoted to furthering classical architecture. Its website contends that "contemporary architecture is by and large a failure," and states the organization's mission is "to help architecture return to its pre-Modernist roots." Much of the language in the draft document echoes the website for Shubow's organization; it also draws heavily from an article that appeared in City Journal last summer, "Why America Needs Classical Architecture," by Catesby Leigh. Leigh is listed as the 2018-2019 research fellow of the National Civic Art Society.
Shubow became well known for his dogged opposition to the proposed Eisenhower Memorialin Washington, designed by Frank Gehry (which is finally opening this May). President Trump's two most recent appointees to the Fine Arts Commission, made this past December, are James C. McCrery II, AIA, a founder and board member of the National Civic Art Society, and the Indiana-based architect Duncan G. Stroik, AIA, whose work is "informed by the timelessness of classical architecture and the humanism of traditional cities," according to the Commission's website. The terms of the four other members of the Commission expire next December.
It is a good thing for us to communicate with one another over this outrageous mandate from the White House. I agree with Guy Geier that the College of Fellows as a collective group should do something more. But individually each of us, every member of the College of Fellows could and should contact their Congressmen and Senators over this issue. I plan to contact my representatives as well as my local chapter of the AIA and Texas Society of Architects to voice my concern. The more of us they hear from the more impact we will make.
Matt Morris, FAIA, LEED GA Partner LAKE | FLATO ARCHITECTS 311 Third Street San Antonio Texas 78205 p 210.679.2351 Web | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram ARCHITECT 50 01 #1 U.S. Firm in 2019 ARCHITECT 50 List
Our role as citizen architect is precisely to be heard when our voices are not anticipated. It is not a matter of politics but a matter of policy. While it is unfortunate that the former unevenly affects the latter, the offices to which the policy critique are directed are trained to listen. Do not hesitate to sing out for fear. Instead join one voice with another until the song is so loud that it cannot be ignored. Should the sound fall on deaf ears in the current situation, it is on record and easily played again and again.
Let us not "sin by silence".
Elizabeth Corbin Murphy
Elizabeth Corbin Murphy FAIA, LEED® GA Principal
CLEVELAND 13212 Shaker Square | Cleveland, Ohio 44120 (o) 216.752.1800 (w) www.perspectusarch.com (c) 330.351.5200 AKRON 43 East Market St., Suite 201 | Akron, OH 44308 (o) 330.434.9300 (w) www.cmbarchitects.com
here's a link to the piece I ghost wrote for our NOMA president, Kim Dowdell, in response to the pending executive order about Federal buildings and classical styles, and is up on the website: https://noma.net/special-statement-on-executive-order/
Please remember to thoughtfully critique the policy and not the people whose job it is to enforce it-those would be our architect brothers and sisters.
Please be careful to criticize the policy and not our hard-working, passionate and talented AIA members who work for the federal government.