The effort to rewrite the Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture is considered among the most egregious features of the order. The principles, part of 1962 document by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the New York senator, who as a Kennedy administration official was heavily involved in design issues in the capital, have endured for over half a century, in part because they discouraged promoting an official style: “The design must flow from the architectural profession to the government. And not vice versa.”
The administration’s draft order, which was obtained by The New York Times, suggests an abrupt reversal of that ethos: “Classical and traditional architectural styles have proven their ability to inspire such respect for our system of self-government. Their use should be encouraged.”
The proposed mandate has triggered protests from architects and critics of the administration who say the president should not have the ability to issue a top-down mandate on how government buildings should look. News of the draft first appeared in the Architectural Record.
The order would also require the U.S. General Services Administration to convene public panels to provide feedback on design proposals. But no experts allowed: The order forbids “artists, architects, engineers, art or architecture critics, members of the building industry” and anyone else involved with this kind of work from participating in these panels.
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