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Biden Scraps Trump’s Classical Architecture Executive Order

President Joe Biden on Wednesday scrapped former President Donald Trump’s executive order that promoted classical styles for all future federal buildings.

The order, titled “Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture” signed in December 2020, harshly criticized modern architectural styles and instead lauded Roman-Greco-inspired buildings. But while it criticized modern and brutalist buildings, it did not mandate that any future works be Greek or neoclassical in design.

“Classical and other traditional architecture, as practiced both historically and by today’s architects, have proven their ability to meet these design criteria and to more than satisfy today’s functional, technical, and sustainable needs,” the order said. “Their use should be encouraged instead of discouraged.”

Trump had reportedly railed against brutalist buildings, including the Health and Human Services building and the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C., calling them terrible and saying that the second was “one of the ugliest buildings in the city.” His administration released a draft of the order in February 2020.

The order was not the only one that Biden reversed on Wednesday. He also revoked an order that threatened to reduce financing for cities thought to curtail support for their local police departments, and scrapped an executive action that halted new visas amid the pandemic and economic recession.

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