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Trump’s classical design aesthetic mandate for federal buildings likely to be felt for years

May limit the number of firms that could compete for contracts.

January 07, 2021 |

Courtesy Pixabay

President Trump may be about to leave office, but his policies on the design of federal buildings are likely to be felt for at least a few more years.

Trump signed an executive order setting a new standard for federal architecture on Dec. 21. The edict denounces modernism and promotes classical design for federal buildings.

Trump also appointed four new appointees to the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts, the independent federal agency that oversees design and aesthetic decisions in Washington, D.C. All of the new commissioners are steeped in classical European sensibilities. Trump also appointed another classical architect to the National Capital Planning Commission, another Washington, D.C., oversight body.

Trump’s executive order will open federal procurement possibilities for stylistically conservative architects who might not win bids on their own merits otherwise, according to an article at Bloomberg.com. It could be a boon for the relatively small number of firms that specialize in classical design, and reduce opportunities for federal contracts for other firms, the report said.

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