Health and Human Services building Washington
© Mark Wilson/Getty Images
The Department of Health and Human Services building in Washington, D.C., is one of the city's prime examples of brutalist architecture, which former President Donald Trump disparaged as "ugly."
The former president's action on "ugly" modernist federal buildings received condemnation from architects as aesthetically myopic.

Brutalists, rejoice!

Former President Donald Trump's attempt to favor classical architecture got the ax on Wednesday as part of a sweeping scrapping of Trump-era executive orders by President Joe Biden.

Trump's executive order in December, titled "Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture," disparaged the modernist architectural styles of some federal buildings as "ugly" and a jarring contrast with local architectural styles. The Trump administration hailed Greco-Roman-inspired buildings as an important homage to democracy in antiquity.

The executive order, signed in the final moments of the Trump presidency, promptly met condemnation from architects as aesthetically myopic, though it had relatively weak enforcement. The order only placed a preference for classical styles in future buildings and did not outright ban brutalism.

"Though we are appalled with the administration's decision to move forward with the design mandate, we are happy the order isn't as far reaching as previously thought," Robert Ivy, CEO of the American Institute of Architects, said in a statement at the time.

It was one of a number of Trump-era executive orders the Biden White House declared null on Wednesday. Biden also rescinded an order threatening financing for cities that the Trump administration felt curtailed support for local police amid the summer's anti-racism protests. Biden also tossed an executive action that halted new visas amid the coronavirus economic crisis.