On December 20, 2020, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order establishing a “preferred and default regard for traditional and classical architecture in the design of Federal public buildings. The order criticizes the GSA Design Excellence Program for fostering an exclusively modernist esthetic in Government architecture that is not sufficiently respectful of history or the opinions of the general public.
President Trump cited in particular the US Federal Courthouse in Corpus Christi, Texas as an exception. As the Architects of Record, we at WKMC are pleased by the recognition of our design. It was, indeed, contrary to the very strong preference of GSA for modern design, that our team was selected and instructed specifically to embrace a traditional solution that was appropriate to place, climate, and community. It was no easy thing to depart from GSA’s standard practice. Credit for this very clearly belongs to Hon. Hayden Head, Jr. and Hon. Janis Jack. As the sitting District judges at the time, they persisted in expressing a vision for the courthouse that they felt would be timeless and classic. We are grateful for their guidance and support.
Recognition should also go to our partners at Hartman-Cox Architects in Washington, DC, especially Lee Becker, FAIA as the lead designer. It took a large, highly dedicated team of architects, planners, and engineers to complete the project. They are too numerous to list here but they should be proud of their work.
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