Back To The Future

So it seems like our public buildings are no longer going to look like this:

…but rather, like this:

all because of this:

Biden Purges Non-Partisan US Commission On Fine Arts In Unprecedented Move Against Popular Classical Architecture

The commission is an independent federal agency established by Congress that advises Congress and the White House on public (civic) architecture on federal lands and in the District of Columbia. Established in 1910, its seven members are chosen from “disciplines including art, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design,” and are appointed by the president to serve four-year terms. No commission member has ever been asked to tender their resignation before their term was up.
The Trump administration stressed classical architecture, though traditionally the issue has been non-partisan and has included such champions as former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and former Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
While classical architecture remains the hands-down favorite of the American public, its opponents are powerful in academia, elite architecture circles, and, it seems, in the Biden White House. Biden revoked former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Beautiful Again” executive order early in his administration, with supporters claiming classical architecture is somehow connected to fascism.

Yup, those pesky Greeks, with their Corinthian columns and friezes, were all about fascism.

Even though the word “democracy” (an Ancient Greek institution) stems from the Greek word demos, meaning “crowd”.


  1. Like just about everything else in this country, architecture schools have been in the shitter for decades. Though the word “architect” is rooted in the word “art”, architects now are more like lawyers than artists. No wonder they don’t have a clue.

    I let my licenses expire about 15 years ago and now consider myself simply a “designer of all things” and abandoned the mental and physical prison that licensure requires. Ever notice how everything an architect designs looks like a prison? That’s because through recent tradition, and heavily constrictive processes, the brain turns into a cage or prison cell.

    1. After my Civil Engineering degree and spending 14 years in construction management I found that most architects are nothing more than graphic artists who think they know math. I’ve seen architects specify 30feet of cabinetry on a 25 foot long wall. Another architect drew up a room for ski lockers that only fit three quarters of the lockers that were needed for a time share condo. He drew the building but never got the details of lockers to determine if they would all fit. Another wanted to run HVAC drip pan lines outside. The architect was down south and the facility was in the north where they get rain, cold, ice and snow for a fair portion of the year.

      On the flip side though, I did work with some very good architects who were very insightful, creative and receptive to collaborative solutions to provide the client with facilities that met their needs and was able to be expanded for future growth.

      I think Neal Boortz made the observation that if he was looking for a municipal building, he just drove around a city’s down town area until he found a building with some sort of ugly nonsense in front of it and he typically found the municipal building


    2. Similar situation, ghostsniper. I still work for an architect but I retired my license in 2000. Ironically, it was for the District of Columbia and I never built anything there in the twenty years I had the license. I still say I belong to the A.I.A., but in my case, it stands for Alcoholics in Action. I haven’t turned a page in Architectural Record or any of the other periodicals in years.

      No CAD when I started out and that was a good thing. I mastered construction documentation first. When I drew wall sections, I drew them like I was building the building. Foundation, wall, roof structure. Then finishes were applied. I was mindful of who the drawings were for.

      Today, the designs are as chaotic as the culture they inhabit. More’s the pity.

      1. The drawings I saw coming from architects when I left construction management were at best 70-90 percent drawings. Some of the engineers were very weak too. The mechanical systems would disappear or a gas pipe would suddenly change size as it went through a ceiling or crossed an area. Some of them wouldn’t even clarify their work. Thank God I don’t have to deal with them anymore

        1. BIM and draconian building/zoning/life safety/FEMA regulations have just about killed everything off. It is to the point now that the construction document prep phase is continuous throughout the construction, resulting in onsite trailers for revisions as the building progresses. Seems like no one has a clue what the final result will be until it is completed. Sorry, but I have to have a view of the little picture and the big picture at the same time. I mean, if you don’t know where the bullseye is how are you going to hit the target? Regarding gov’t structures, which are magnitudes more complex in execution, this retarded absence of logic always results in huge cost over runs that are passed onto the taxpayers in perpetuity. I see no solution except to tear it all down and start anew. The more gov’t is involved, the worse everything is.

  2. When you let Architects design Public Buildings with out restrictions, you wind up with things like Boston City Hall which manages to be both completely impractical and an eyesore at the same time, requires a #8 skyhook in order to build it, and was seriously over budget.

    ……but at least they tore down a pretty seedy part of Boston to build it.

    1. GT,
      That Government Plaza is an utter eyesore and urban wasteland with its sterile and ugly paved wasteland. It’s oppressively hot in the summer and the wind whips through there. I’m glad I don’t work near there anymore.

      How about the hideous clock inside the State House addition? no one can figure out how to tell time with it.


      1. I just took a look at that disorienting concrete jungle POS. First thought was that Chairman Brezhnev’s tomb must be there.
        The architect must have had the same optometrist that Picasso had.

    2. I’ll submit that the designers did almost exactly what the gov’t authorities told them to do, but worse. I’ve sat in on many design and feasibility studies meetings with gov’t authorities like mayors, city councilmen, etc., and not only are they seemingly devoid of basic education and experience but they also are unteachable. Any building is a structure with multiple systems working mostly in harmony and are vastly more complex than the average person can appreciate. To try to convey this idea to people that do not know nor give a shit about even basic mathematics is insulting. I stopped doing gov’t projects back in the early 90’s. All my profit was going to the Pepto-Bismol company and my wife didn’t know me any more. Life is so much better in the absence of gov’t.

  3. Recommended reading: _From Bauhaus to Our House_ by Tom Wolfe. Well written history of the Bauhaus movement in architecture and how it basically destroyed architectural aesthetics in the West.

    1. The Bauhaus movement took its “aesthetic” principles from Midwestern farm buildings, the barn and the grain silo, and other completely industrial buildings. Designs where aesthetics and the idea that human beings were intended to live there were, if not completely irrelevant, were way down on the list of important considerations. Buildings people were intended to live in built with the same considerations for eye appeal as buildings intended for beasts. The ugly cities we have are the predictable result.

  4. The second picture looks like a cardboard box with some holes cut into it. I think I made that out of a refrigerator box and a steak knife when I was 10

  5. I would like to see pretty much all Federal alphabet agencies located in these hideous structures.

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