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July 31, 2018

Trump looking to remodel the FBI’s brutalist headquarters


President Donald Trump reportedly despises the look of the FBI headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, DC. He also reportedly hopes to remodel the complex, which Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports Trump is “obsessed” with.

“Honestly, I think it’s one of the ugliest buildings in the city,” Trump said, according to a source that spoke with Axios. “The building is terrible … It’s one of the brutalist-type buildings, you know, brutalist architecture.”

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Brutalism rose to prominence in the 1950s after architect Le Corbusier completed his first building in France under Unité d’Habitation a design principle for brutalist residential housing. Although steel was more common at the time, he decided to use unfinished concrete. A hulking concrete structure with repeated, geometric windows on all sides, the FBI HQ features a similar raw, industrial style.

Brutalist buildings are often controversial because they’re not particularly pleasant to look at, according to traditional beauty standards. They refute the western idea of architectural beauty typically found in museums, capitols, train stations, and old churches. Brutalism is much more uniform. 

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