David Polzin
David Polzin
February 19, 2020

Our Response to the Draft Executive Order for Federal Architecture

David Polzin
David Polzin

The draft Executive Order currently under consideration that seeks to dictate a uniform classical style for federal buildings and narrowly re-define the guidelines of the GSA’s Design Excellence Program is not in keeping with the spirit of innovation, forward progress and inclusion that has been the hallmark of all things great in America, including our architecture.

When we embrace the varied origins, histories, identities and ideals of all our nation’s people in the course of designing for them, we are able to create a built environment that does not speak to a single history or identity in the way that a single historical style might do, but rather we open our eyes to envisioning something new, with the power to be shared and uniting in its presence. Federal architecture must be held to the highest standard, for in its symbolic gravitas it bears the weight of representing all people in our nation, for today and tomorrow.

Furthermore, the architecture of today and the future must take into consideration the functional needs of new uses and the human needs of its users; the evolving needs of our communities and society, and the needs of the environment on a changing planet. The impact on architecture for these myriad needs is an outcome of scientific, cultural and artful considerations, and when taken together cannot be contained within any prescribed manner.

CannonDesign stands with the American Institute of Architects in opposing uniform style mandates for federal architecture. We celebrate the spectrum of architectural solutions that are richly and thoughtfully considered.

Image: Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building, recipient of the 10-year award from the GSA for being a champion of contemporary judicial architecture.