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Executive Order for Classical Architecture

  • 1.  Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 02-27-2020 16:08

    Another take on the Executive Order:

    We have all reacted in unison to this directive for all the reasons already shared. Maybe we are missing an opportunity? Perhaps we should embrace the idea instead, and revisit a new take on classicism, a sort of post-neo-post-modernism, or neo-fascism? The possibilities are endless! It could be fun! ...and an opportunity to permanently document this unfortunate era (if Trump is re-elected-god forbid), with its own architectural follies.


    Robert Heintges  FAIA


  • 2.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 29 days ago
    To: AIA College of Fellows Discussion Forum

    Excellent suggestion that a resolution in favor of classical uniformity might be more effective.  What's more, it suggests Mr. Trump's favorite self-depiction:  maker of deals.  Here's my draft of a deal for the President in a format he well understands, the quid pro quo.

    1. We, the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, on behalf of the architects of America, promise that throughout your Presidency we will create only beautiful, classically-inspired public buildings, all white.

    2. You, the President of the United States, promise that henceforth you and your Administration will promote and enable an open, inclusive American society, beautiful in its diversity, embracing all colors.

    3.  Mr. President, you go first.

    Robert L. Miller FAIA

    Robert Miller FAIA
    Robert L. Miller Associates
    Washington DC

  • 3.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 26 days ago
    Dear all
    I do not think the idea of Classical Architecture for Federal buildings is a joke.   It is very serious and we should respond in a serious way.
    If not other disciplines such as art, literature, films,..... may also be censored.  Having a letter that has been sent is a first step but not the only way.  We need the public to understand why this is not a good idea.
    Now, how do we do this.
    If every architectural office and school of architecture  were to send two people to Washington to have a peaceful protest in front of the White House then we might have the public's attention. Along with hundreds there could be speakers stating our position to the White House and public.  This might help.
    Remember the poem below
    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out-

         Because I was not a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out-
         Because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
         Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me.


    Jan Wampler FAIA
    Jamaica Plain MA

  • 4.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 26 days ago

    Satire, famously, is what closes after three nights on Broadway.  My attempt at serious humor failed.  But perhaps the underlying message can be salvaged:

    1.  Somehow we need to craft a public message.  Only a very small public cares that their government is about to stifle artistic expression. If they do care,most will 
    think first of censored plays or banned "degenerate" paintings, not hypothetical suppressed modern buildings (Ayn Rand notwithstanding.)

    2.  One hopes the public cares more about two messages behind the Executive Order for Classical Architecture:
         a.  Dictating the style of public buildings across America is what dictators do.  Mr. Trump is a builder and craves the link between big buildings and personal power.
         b.  Classicism is an elastic idea, but it's pretty clear what it means to the Trump faithful:  uniformity vs. diversity, the past vs. the future, white beauty that 
    complements white supremacy.

    In addition to defending the creation of public buildings as a public, local process, I think we should defend the right of a diverse, democratic society to have an environment
    that "looks like us"... and lives like us and like our children.  Also, I hope the idea that Trump's "temples" cover up an authoritarian swamp will get more media traction.

    Bob Miller

  • 5.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 26 days ago
    Good idea...I'd be willing to travel to DC in a peaceful protest.

  • 6.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 25 days ago
    Jan & Colleagues:

    I believe Jeremiah's idea is a very sound one and would get media attention.   Count me in.

    May I add that each firm and school should be repre

  • 7.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 25 days ago
    May I add that each firm and school be represented by a "senior member" and an intern asi this will impact generations to come.

    I also believe that several fellows might attend their Grassroots this summer to discuss this.

    Also ... while in DC, we should meet with our respective congressmen and women ... as we

  • 8.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 24 days ago
    The idea of such an organized protest might be effective. However,  assuming the responsibility for implementing such an executive order would fall to the Secretary of the Interior,  there be a better way in traveling to DC and getting a meeting with that cabinet member and make our case. Rather than just standing outside the gates of the White House and walking around with some cardboard signs, we are a profession of articulate and thoughtful people who should be able to use our words in a civil manner to sell our idea. This is selling a client, a design review board or a committee on a design concept.

    Let's be "Citizen Architects". How might we make that happen?

    Judson A. Kline, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP
    President CIVITAD Services, LLC
    3959 Orangewood Drive Orange Village, OH 44122

  • 9.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 25 days ago
    Rather than letters, satire and or protest, would it be possible, as a collective group, to refuse Federal work that requires compliance with this Executive Order.
    Or, as happens repeatedly in our profession, would someone abide and do the work to get the commission. Surely, the Federal government would not use a non US firm?
    We the people are more powerful than the President if we stand united in opposition.

    Ed Huckaby, FAIA Emeritus

  • 10.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 25 days ago
    Are you kidding me, Ed?  They'll be lining up to take your place if you refuse the commission.  No need to go outside the US to find a compliant architect.

    John Hoffmann FAIA
    Hoffmann Architects
    Hamden CT

  • 11.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 25 days ago
    Great idea, Jan.  We need someone to organize it.

    John Hoffmann FAIA
    Hoffmann Architects
    Hamden CT

  • 12.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 29 days ago

    I am confident that there is a lot of creative talent amongst our brethren who would both have great pleasure and are capable of producing remarkable and funny images in response to your suggestion. However, in my experience growing up on the streets of Lower Manhattan, I've never found schoolhouse bullies to have a sense of humor, and any attempt at it, particularly at their expense, would only antagonize them and exacerbate their boorish behavior. As Jim Croce would advise: You don't tug on Superman's cap, spit into the wind, or pull the mask off the Lone Ranger, especially a malevolent one. When reason fails-and past behavior suggests that it will-then its best to use one's wiles to get the delinquent expelled. That, Mr. Heintges, would be your alternative mission-should you choose to accept it-to apply your energies and creativity towards that goal. Should you fail in your mission, you will not be disavowed, but rather be thanked for your efforts. Your deadline is November 3rd.


    Larry Chan FAIA

    Boston MA

  • 13.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 29 days ago

    As an educator/practitioner, I really endorse Robert's notion of making this a "teaching moment​" and suggest we use the medium of video to spread the word about how irrational and without merit the Executive Branch of our federal government is in wanting to mandate the historic style (Classical / Federalist / you choose!) that architects should use to design federal buildings.   Then again, when led by a pathological liar ... fact could become stranger than fiction.

    Imagine a series in which architects in togas accompany President Trump and Mitch McConnell to the ground-breaking for the first federal building to be built in the District of Columbia under this program or in colonial garb to attend the corner stone laying for a Federalist-style courthouse in Boston./

    My favorite, of course, would be architects as dressed as frontiersmen as they accompany Vice President Pence to the dedication of a new VA Treatment Facility in Columbus, Indiana ... his hometown ... with a pre-cast concrete, log cabin-inspired wall system.

    The possibilities are limitless.
    Tony Costello, FAIA

    Anthony Costello FAIA
    Principal, Costello + Associates
    Irving Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Ball State University

  • 14.  RE: Executive Order for Classical Architecture

    Posted 29 days ago
    Edited by Richard Buday 29 days ago

    I like the idea. I wrote a play instead of a TV series, but effect is similar. 

    Jefferson: the musical

    Richard Buday FAIA
    Archimage, Inc.
    Houston TX