Ian Patrick, FISM News
President Trump issued an executive order on December 21 outlining new policies for how federal government buildings should look. Trump noted in his order that, overall, thought and care should go into this process so “that all Federal building designs command respect of the general public for their beauty and visual embodiment of America’s ideals.”
In the introduction to the order Trump gives a few reasons for why building aesthetic is important:
Societies have long recognized the importance of beautiful public architecture. Ancient Greek and Roman public buildings were designed to be sturdy and useful, and also to beautify public spaces and inspire civic pride. Throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, public architecture continued to serve these purposes. . . . Three centuries later, the great British Architect Sir Christopher Wren declared that “public buildings [are] the ornament of a country. [Architecture] establishes a Nation, draws people and commerce, makes the people love their native country . . . Architecture aims at eternity”
Notable Founding Fathers agreed with these assessments and attached great importance to Federal civic architecture. They wanted America’s public buildings to inspire the American people and encourage civic virtue.
As per this order, Trump maintains that government buildings should reflect the idealism of America while also being distinguishable as civic buildings. As such, any federal buildings should present the “preferred” architecture of traditional or classical.
As for civic structures with different architecture, Trump stresses choosing an overall design which “commands respect from the general public and clearly conveys to the general public the dignity, enterprise, vigor, and stability of America’s system of self-government.” Any redesigns or renovations should consider this preferred architectural style if it is “feasible and economical….”
As a part of this executive order, Trump also establishes the President’s Council on Improving Federal Civic Architecture. Trump designates this Congressional Council to recommend policy changes, in line with what he has laid out within his executive order. The Council is set to disband on September 30, 2021 if no other extension is passed.