PreservationDirectory.com
PreservationDirectory.com
 
home
preservation events & conferences
press releases & job postings
› main menu
› article guidelines
› submit an article
grants & funding sources
heritage marketing services
preservation library:
articles, regulations & policy
preservation organizations
& resources
museums & historic structures
historic real estate
preservation businesses,
products & services
historic lodging:
inns, b&b's, hotels
historic tours
preservation general resources
historic photo galleries
preservation bookstore
frequently asked questions
about us
join email list
contact us
site map


member login

Featured
Property For Sale
View more information about this historic property for sale in New Albany, Indiana

The Culberston West

New Albany, IN
PreservationDirectory.com
30 Bromley Road
Pittsford, NY 14534
Phone: (503) 308-0500

Email Us!
foo




Atlas Preservation

Mad Dog Primer

University of Oregon



PreservationDirectory.com

General Interest & Miscellaneous News     


General Interest & Miscellaneous News
Back to Press Releases Print   Submit an Article
Society of Architectural Historians Letter in Opposition to Proposed Executive Order
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com -
Contributed By: Society of Architectural Historians
Email The Author: hdean@sah.org
Website: https://www.sah.org/about-sah/news/sah-news/news-detail/2020/02/06/society-of-architectural-historians-letter-in-opposition-to-proposed-executive-order-making-federal-buildings-beautiful-again?_zs=LmW

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) expresses strong opposition to the proposed Executive Order “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again.”

SAH is the principal scholarly organization for architectural historians worldwide. Its members represent a broad spectrum of academic and professional specialties, with membership spanning the globe. Our membership strongly opposes the language in the proposed Executive Order “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again.” We share the concern expressed by our colleagues at the American Institute of Architects.

As an organization whose members have observed, recorded, and analyzed both historic and contemporary architecture since our inception in 1940, we have come to understand that most significant public architecture in the United States has resulted from the intersection of monumentality, permanence, and aesthetic significance and the specific local demands of site and community. While we appreciate and encourage the attention paid to new federal courthouses, federal public buildings in the national Capitol region, and all federal buildings in the U.S. with budgets in excess of $50 million, we nonetheless remain convinced that the dictation of style—any style—is not the path to excellence in civic architecture. 

Democratic by Design: Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture (1962), concluded, “Major emphasis should be placed on the choice of designs that embody the finest contemporary American architectural thought…Design must flow from the architectural professional to the Government, not vice versa.”  An important but often overlooked precept of Democratic by Design was the emphasis on “contemporary American architectural thought,” not necessarily contemporary design. It encouraged both architectural practitioners and government officials to look for ways to express the ideals of American democracy in architectural form by looking to voices of the American public, rather than the amplification of a federal dictate from on high. 

The influence of Democratic by Design has been enduring and wide reaching. This initiative has led to the design of several landmarks of American architecture, including the U.S. Tax Court Building in Washington, D.C. That courthouse was described by architecture critic Ada Louis Huxtable as “a progressive, sensitive contemporary solution fully responsive to Washington’s classical tradition and yet fully part of the mid-20th century—a period of exceptional vigor and beauty in the history of structure and design.” A more recent example of this influence is the Oklahoma City Federal Building that replaced the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, destroyed by a domestic terrorist bombing in 1995. In her Oklahoma City Journal Record piece describing the design of the Oklahoma City Federal Building, architect Carol Ross Barney’s statement echoed the enduring significance of Democratic by Design: “Obviously, the best thing to make it bomb-resistant was to make it hard, make it concrete. But that’s the wrong message.  The message is that government has to be open.” 

A robust return to the principles of Democratic by Design would result in federal architecture that is monumental, permanent, and beautiful. This would be achieved by listening to the voices of the American public, placing emphasis on the communities in which these new buildings are to be located, and stressing the General Services Administration’s role in insuring that this diversity of voices is heard. Instead of prescribing a particular stylistic outcome, such a path would instead promote architectural excellence, and a thoughtful fit between new federal architecture and the communities in which these buildings are to be constructed. 

While SAH opposes the language of proposed Executive Order “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again,” we strongly support a renewed effort to encourage the design and construction of federal buildings that embrace architectural excellence based on the best architectural thinking and technology available. America’s best can be embodied in an architectural expression that is monumental, permanent, community-centered, and beautiful.

Respectfully submitted,

Society of Architectural Historians


Posted: February 7, 2020
Back to Press Releases Print   Submit an Article


Unless noted, the thoughts and opinions expressed in the article are solely that of the
author and not necessarily the opinion of the editors of PreservationDirectory.com.
   



PreservationDirectory.com | preservation events & conferences | press releases & job postings | organizations & resources
museums & historic structures | historic real estate | preservation businesses, products & services | historic lodging
historic tours | preservation general resources | historic photo galleries | preservation bookstore | preservation library
frequently asked questions | about us | join email list | heritage marketing services | contact us | site map

© Copyright 2020 - PreservationDirectory.com | website by Stolutions