President Biden Overturns Trump’s Executive Order on Classical Architecture

Cathleen McGuigan   /  Source:  Architectural Record

President Biden ordered the revocation of the Executive Order, “Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture,” signed by former President Trump on December 18, 2020. The Trump order, mandating the preference for “traditional and classical architecture” in the design of new Federal buildings, prompted objections across the architectural community against prescribing any official style for government buildings. Trump White House was planning to issue such an executive order in February 2020.

The revocation was one of a series of orders that were overturned yesterday, including one which had sought to bar federal funding to U.S. cities deemed “anarchist” by the Trump White House. Read President Biden's full order here.

On February 25, the AIA issued a statement commending the act. Read the AIA's full statement here.

Architectural Record: President Biden Overturns Trump’s Executive Order on Classical Architecture

Estilos de Estado.  Luis Fernández-Galiano

Donald Trump proposes architectural classicism as the default style of federal buildings. A draft executive order obtained by the magazine Architectural Record sets a list of rules for architecture commissioned by the government. The document – titled ‘Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again,’ paraphrasing his campaign slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ – explains that the Founding Fathers of the United States chose the architecture of democratic Athens and republican Rome for the first federal buildings because it perfectly expressed the new nation’s self-governing ideals, and defends embracing classicism for future constructions, and even for the upgradings of existing ones. The only exception would be regionalist traditionalism in areas where this architectural language is firmly rooted, one case being Spanish colonial in states like Florida or California, but projects would still always have to be implemented in a premodern language.

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