The new America First Caucus advances the demand of the previous guy that all future public buildings should look like the neoclassical architecture often called Federalist. Not coincidentally it also is the official state facade style promoted by authoritarian movements in the last century. The RWNJ culture war is a battle of wits fought by the disarmed.
“The America First Caucus will work towards an infrastructure that reflects the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture, whereby public infrastructure must be utilitarian as well as stunningly, classically beautiful, befitting a world power and source of freedom.”
Recall that Trump’s feelings about Brutalist style architecture came when he tried to manipulate the GAO projects to relocate the DC FBI building, only to soft-pedal it when he discovered that it would encourage potential competitors against his own DC hotel.
Late Wednesday, President Biden revoked a controversial executive order that then-President Donald Trump signed in December called “Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture.” The announcement from the White House was included in an executive order that revokes a number of Trump's actions as president.
When Trump first proposed his executive order, it was clearly an out-with-the-new, in-with-the-old approach to architecture. He called modern federal buildings constructed over the last five decades (think boxy, concrete-heavy Brutalism) “undistinguished,” “uninspiring” and “just plain ugly.”
While the specifics are not yet clear, Biden's executive order instructs the director of the Office of Management and Budget and any related departments and agencies to “promptly consider taking steps to rescind any orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies, or portions thereof” that would've implemented Trump's actions. Biden also calls for the abolishment of any “personnel positions, committees, task forces, or other entities established” to fulfill Trump's actions, “as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.” This will likely eliminate Trump's Council on Improving Federal Civic Architecture, which was established in his executive order.Biden's executive order may put his administration at odds with the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, an independent federal agency established in 1910 that advises lawmakers “on matters of design and aesthetics.” In 2018, Trump appointed one of modern architecture's biggest critics to the CFA: Justin Shubow, president of the National Civic Art Society. The organization was the driving force behind Trump's executive order. It also led a six-year campaign against Frank Gehry's Eisenhower memorial, which forced the architect to make some changes to his original design.
President Trump, a former builder, signed an executive order Monday intended to promote neo-classical architecture as the official style for federal buildings in Washington, DC., and at new federal courthouses elsewhere.
The order defines “classical” as including Neoclassical, Georgian, Greek Revival, Gothic and other traditional styles. It also establishes a new President's Council on Improving Federal Civic Architecture, which is intended to ensure proposed federal buildings are “beautiful and reflective of the dignity, enterprise, vigor, and stability of the American system of self-government.”
The order cites ancient Greece, ancient Rome and language from the constitution of the Italian city of Siena in 1309 as preferred models.
“President George Washington and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson consciously modeled the most important buildings in Washington, D.C., on the classical architecture of ancient Athens and Rome,” the order says. “They sought to use classical architecture to visually connect our contemporary Republic with the antecedents of democracy in classical antiquity, reminding citizens not only of their rights but also their responsibilities in maintaining and perpetuating its institutions.”
Not unlike Allan West’s attempts to promote Texas secession, there will always be those predisposed to false consciousness.