President Donald Trump signed an executive order declaring the classical style of architecture as the preferred style for federal buildings in the nation’s capital, a White House official said on Monday, Bloomberg reports.
Instead of outright mandating that all newly constructed federal buildings are built in the classical style, the order states rather simply that they must be “beautiful.”
The other specific architectural styles allowed, as mentioned in an emailed statement from the office of the White House press secretary, are the Neoclassical, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Beaux-Arts, and Art Deco styles. On the other hand, styles akin to brutalism and modernism, which became popular during the mid-20th Century, will not be preferred.
In accordance with the order, a “Council for Improving Federal Civic Architecture” will be created to recommend updates to the General Services Administration’s (GSA) architectural guidelines.
For months, the administration has been drafting this executive order, according to Bloomberg. On top of that, an early version that would have prohibited modernist design triggered a strong rebuke from the American Institute of Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“Architecture should be designed for the specific communities that it serves, reflecting our rich nation’s diverse places, thought, culture and climates,” the AIA said in a statement. “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.”
In spite of this rebuke, the White House official said that polling revealed a vast majority of Americans prefer traditional designs and said some modern structures weren’t easily identifiable as public buildings, according to Bloomberg. New construction should command respect by the general public and not just architectural elites, the official said.
The GSA, before selecting a design, will also be required by the executive order to seek design input from the general public and future staff of federal buildings.
There are some Democrats, though, who have bashed the White House’s measure to enforce a unified and classic architectural design across federal buildings, with Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) introducing legislation that would prohibit the GSA from blocking modernist designs.
“Imposing a preferred architectural style for federal facilities runs counter to our nation’s democratic traditions,” Titus wrote in a letter to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy. “Attempting to implement this misguided mandate from Washington, D.C., by circumventing Congress and gutting decades of GSA policy and practice without any public notice or hearing is even worse.”
With 30 days until Trump leaves the White House, he and his team have been trying to solidify a legacy that will outlive him. This rather small but consequential executive order will likely impact the way Washington, DC and other places are adorned with grand federal buildings in the coming years.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’
Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social, “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”
Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”
It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.
Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.
And the escalation of war is visible.
Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.
Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.
Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”
Morning. Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.
— Oleksiy Goncharenko (@GoncharenkoUa) January 26, 2023
The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”
F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.
Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.
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