Call to Action: Federal Architectural Style Executive Order
As you probably have seen in the press this week, in a news story first reported by Architectural Record and published today by The New York Times, a draft executive order is circulating among White House staff that seeks to designate classical architecture as the preferred style of federal buildings.
Additionally, all federal public buildings in the Capital region would be required to adhere to the same "classical" style (and all other federal public buildings whose costs exceed $50 million in modern dollars). The AIA strongly and unequivocally opposes this change in policy to promote any one style of architecture over another for federal buildings across the country.
The draft executive order defines "classical architectural style" to mean architectural features derived from classical Greek and Roman architecture. There are some allowances for "traditional architectural style" which is defined to mean classical architecture along with Gothic, Romanesque, and Spanish colonial. The draft executive order specifically prohibits the use of Brutalist architecture, or its derivatives, in any circumstance.
Except for Brutalism, there is some language in the draft executive order that would allow for other architectural styles to be used. However, the high bar required to satisfy the process described within the executive order would all but restrict the ability to design the federal buildings under this order in anything but the preferred style.
AIA National is vigorously opposing this order. The institute has issued the following statement and has been communicating with White House staff on this issue:
“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.”
UTAH ARCHITECTS HAVE AN IMPORTANT ROLE TO PLAY. Senator Mike Lee is currently championing this draft order, and we need YOU to let him know we are in opposition here in Utah. Our voices could help impact the national discussion and insert clarity into the conversation.
You can copy clip any of the text of this email into your email, or write from the heart. If he is your Senator, PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL!
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The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2020 President Jane Frederick, FAIA, and (AIA) EVP/Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA, issued the above letter to the President of the United States opposing this draft executive order.