News: AIA to work with Trump, Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again

"Finally getting architecture where it should be again"

In this week's comments update, readers are in disagreement over the American Institute of Architects publicly protesting against an order that federal buildings be built in "classical architecture style."

Back to the future: readers are divided after the American Institute of Architects called on members to sign an open letter to the Trump Administration in response to its plans to introduce an order that all federal buildings should be built in the "classical architectural style".

"What's the big deal here?" asked Elrune The Third. "It's unarguable that this classical style is part of the national identity and design language of the USA for better or worse. I don't see the value in eroding national coherence and image by pursuing alternatives, particularly in such divided times. No-one will die because Studio BIG doesn't win the next contract for a courthouse."

Broman was also in favour of the order: "Finally getting architecture where it should be again."

Pam Weston was less keen though: "Does this sound familiar? Hitler did that. Similar in aesthetics too. Is anyone besides me scared yet?"

"The issue that concerns me is the impossibility of achieving a proper 'classical' building with today's building materials and methods," said JZ. "Economics do not support the use of authentic materials. So what we are talking about here is stage set architecture."

This reader came up with a classical architecture-inspired catchphrase:

What do you think of the order? Join the discussion ›


Kim Kardashian and Kanye West reveal Californian house designed by Axel Vervoordt

For the 'gram: Kim Kardashian gave her Instagram followers a glimpse inside her and husband Kanye West's Calabasas house, designed in collaboration with Axel Vervoordt and Vincent Van Duysen. Some commenters were less impressed than others.

"It's disturbing to see homes that have been designed to be published rather than designed to be lived in," criticised James.

Arematic felt similarly: "If the owner gets more credit than the actual designer, we have a problem."

"So much hate for Kanye West and Kim Kardashian here," replied Le Canal Hertzien. "I have a lot of respect for what Kanye West is doing, it's not everyday that you have an artist of his caliber pushing Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand or Axel Vervoordt to the American masses."

Zea Newland was also a fan: "I wanted to roll my eyes once I read the headline but this looks like a nice space for contemplation. Some pointed out it might not be suitable for children but not everything has to look like an IKEA ball pit."

One missing feature shocked this reader:

Would you like to live in KimYe's house? Join the discussion ›


Portrait of Kai-Uwe Bergmann

A BIG deal: responding to criticism of BIG founder Bjarke Ingels' recent meeting with the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, partner Kai-Uwe Bergmann has responded that working on tourism projects in the country could help alleviate poverty and reduce destruction of the rainforests. Not all agree though.

"It would have been so much smarter if they just avoided that photo opportunity with Bolsonaro. Unless of course, they didn't really understand back then how it would backfire later," said Zea Newland.

"Just admit you are doing work in countries with dubious human rights for the money," continued Abstract. "Hundreds of other companies and professionals are doing the same, you are no different,"

"We'd have the same opinions about Bjarke in a photo op with Trump as we do him with Bolsonaro," added Orange Eli.

Miles Teg was also cynical: "Too little, too late. No one is going to buy this anymore."

As was this reader:

Are commenters being harsh on BIG? Join the discussion ›


Opinion: Frank Lloyd Wright school closure

The Wright decision? in light of the news that Frank Lloyd Wright's School of Architecture at Taliesin will close, student Alex Martinec claimed that it also marks the end of the architect's way of thinking. Not everyone feels the same though.

"This letter represents exactly what we, as a community, are losing," said Rob Glisson on one hand. " I have visited both campuses and have witnessed them as living, breathing institutions where they work, study, train and thrive in a place of amazing texture and richness."

Benny agreed: "The general silence from the architectural community, educators and alumni of the school has been deafening. Make the foundation aware of what a disgrace it is to close an accredited master's program that is a crucial and inherent part of Frank Lloyd Wright's legacy of educating architecture."

"Would it be possible to launch a fundraising campaign to save this school of architecture as I have already suggested?" proposed Archiplain. "If there is no political opposition, and if this school still has as many potential students, it could be viable."

Ron disagreed with Martinec: "Are they burning all his books, all his buildings, all his history and everyone who ever worked for and with him? Are we erasing everything? No, we are not. Sad the school is closing for those who wish to attend, otherwise keep moving. The philosophy will live on without one school. The world has not ended."

This reader was delighted to see the school close:

Is this the end of Frank Lloyd Wright's way of thinking? Join the discussion ›