The Modern White House


The White House, the President’s House, symbol of a nation, architectural inheritor of the best that has been thought, said, done; a domestic house like other domestic houses, home to a family, father, mother, children, model of what it means to be American in virtue at liberty.  Jefferson, an architectural stylist, recommended that buildings of our nation’s capital follow “…one of the models of antiquity which have had the approbation of thousands of years”.

The White House is in a style that grew naturally from antiquity, a style friendly to the body, easy on the eye, a style that suits the mind’s desire for order, the soul’s need of the beautiful.  Part Roman, but not Roman.  Part Renaissance, but not Renaissance.  Part Venetian of the Palladian, but not by Palladio.  The White House was designed by an Irish-American, James Hoban, a devout Catholic.  You can see in the White House the Catholic sense, a continuity of faith in tradition, a sacredness, a clarity, a cleanliness, almost a holiness of a thing from a man created in the image of God.


Modern White House, Park

“PARK HOUSE” by Eric Meyer, Overall Winner, competition for a Modern White House.⁠ “Unprecedented in the history of America, the President has returned the 15-acre White House site to the people in the form of a public park. Finally, the public is invited to participate in civic ritual, share ideas, create art, and play on the very grounds the President sleeps.⁠ Within the park, the President’s house and offices are recessed into a hollowed mound, symbolically honoring the histories of Native American mound building. The only visible facade features are Ceremonial Ramps⁷ which the public use as viewing platforms to walk on the President’s roof and observe the Oval Courtyard¹.

PARK HOUSE by Eric Meyer illustration

At the southern end of the park, the public peers through a cherry blossom tree into the Oval Office² where the weight of America is suspended overhead. The President’s Bedroom³ is exposed to original soil from the site– the air smells of just-wet dirt and clay. Boulders discovered during excavation are arranged as reminders of the past.⁠ .⁠ Unlike privatized estates, Park House invites the public to celebrate and gather on its grounds. Here the President’s most intimate domestic space reconnects to the country and its people.”⁠ These ramps, along with Public Lookout Points⁶, promote interaction between the public, staff, and residents.⁠  Modern White House














Lincoln was a Christian, a close reader of the Bible, a book from which he drew inspiration, style, and quotes.  As he said, “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man.  All the good from The Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.”  At the beginning of his career, in the debate with Stephen A. Douglas which lifted him to the Presidency, Lincoln framed the argument which occasioned America’s Second Founding:

Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.  In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.  ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’  I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.  I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.  It will become all one thing or all the other.


Modern White House, Big

A BIG (WHITE) HOUSE, by Yibo Jiao and Yusi Zha, honorable mention proposal for a Modern White House.⁠ “What isolates the white house from other buildings in its category (an ultimate live-work space/house) is the unique owner-tenant relationship. The conventional power structure between ‘the owner’ and ‘the tenant’ is in challenge, where the public aspect of the building has often been neglected only as a peripheral service of the house. A Big (White) House attempts to reclaim its ownership for the people and bring public presence into the conversation of the perpetual remodeling and reshaping of the space.

A BIG WHITE HOUSE by Yibo Jiao and Yusi Zha elevation and sections

The overall footprint of the main building is sized down and shaved into quarters of rectangular prisms, but the visitor’s circulation has been spatially expanded. The void between walls are carved out for people to rest, to hide and to peek. With a sunken ground floor, the new grading elevates the south side terrain and displays the garden and backyard to the street. The recessed entry is accessed through a series of ascending ramps running parallel to the facade that elongates the way home. The blue room is centered by an amphitheater, along with other outdoor theaters that are positioned against the private offices. Maybe uncomfortable for some, but the new house is now big enough for everyone.”⁠  Modern White House













And so it was, and so it will be, one thing or the other.  Just now there is an America of Classive tradition, of Bible-centered Christianity, of citizens who consider themselves created in the image of God.  And there is the Progressive, those who would despoil our goods and spoil our house, a Godless, soulless, destructive people who smash statues, despise ancestry, and build cold steel-glass structures into an empty sky.  Just now the confident, aggressive Progressive is casting out the passive Classive who fear and are silent.  All is at hazard.

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?  And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.  But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.  Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.  He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.  –Mark 3, KJV


Modern White House, Garden

THE PRESIDENT’S PLANETARY GARDEN, by Gnel Yeghiazaryan, runner-up proposal for a Modern White House.⁠ From the Designer: “The project proposes to shift the focus from the administrative and residential center to the botanical garden creating an environment for human-nature relationships displaying how both influence each other. The project is based on ecological humanism, emphasizing the diversity of species on Earth and the importance of preserving them.

THE PRESIDENTS PLANETARY GARDEN by Gnel Yeghiazaryan central elevation

The idea of the project is to create an environment with a collection of plants, smells, and colors that will build a piece of a homeland for each resident, visitor, or guest of the White House. The garden symbolizes the United States of America, which thrives on the differences in cultures, beliefs, and nationalities that make this country diverse. The garden is in the heart of the country, in the White House, where the President lives with his family.”⁠  Modern White House













Recently, Progressives at Arch Out Loud, an activist organization that gives “designers opportunities to create ​innovative solutions for ​issues facing our world,” called for a modern White House.  A few of the winners are pictured above and below.  You will notice that Progressive design and designers destroy all that came before, as do Jihadists inspired by self-righteousness, eager for wealth, power and property.  You will remember that our Classive Founders considered self-evident that men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” and therefore constituted a representative republic suitable to man.  The first building of that Republic: The White House (1792).

Perhaps you suppose that the White House will not be replaced.  Have you lately seen Washington, DC?  Yes, Progressive ideas embodied in buildings overbear Classive ideas embodied in buildings, because the Classives surrendered.  That battle is over.  The Founders lost.  What is the Progressive idea: all is but atoms and the void in a universe of random change directed by creatures who express power through government, technology and a social organization which best suits self-regard and self-interest.  And this change is not their fault, but the will of the Zeitgeist, the “Ghost of the Age”, a specter, a spirit, a phantasm that might take any face serviceable to pride.


Modern White House, Power

“TO RECONSTRUCT THE POWER” by Zishen Pan, runner-up proposal for a Modern White House.⁠ From the Designer: “Early American civic architecture envisioned spaces that embody and facilitates the power of “the people”, which results in “shiny white temples” as in the U.S. Capitol and Virginia Capitol. However, the white aesthetic resulted from flawed knowledge of classical architecture and was used to affirm the supremacy of white physiognomy. Their elevated position also creates a natural defense to public participation aided with fences and arms.⁠

TO RECONSTRUCT THE POWER by Zishen Pan side view

Therefore, in this project, I sought to dismantle the whiteness of American civic architecture, as well as to promote meaningful public interaction, to reconstruct an embodiment of the power of people. Opposing the whiteness, I selected three primary colors for the roof and the columns, creating an amalgamation and interaction of colors. Also, by referring to L’Enfant Plan for Washington D.C. I created leveled paths that aligned with the surrounding avenues that invite the public to traverse and interact with the site, with ample spaces for gathering and ground arts.”⁠  Modern White House














Perhaps you noticed, each recent year the Modern White House has been illuminated in colors stolen from little girls, appropriated from the Bible, God’s symbol of Covenant with man who is to “go forth and multiply”, the rainbow, now a symbol not of promise but of pride.  Mark also records that Christ said, “Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

The White House is not safe.  Notice what has been proposed for Notre Dame.  Notice Progressive additions to Classive buildings in your hometown.  Notice the smashing of statues, the erection of twisting metal and cold light, the smarmy ironies.  Lincoln was sincere.  Jefferson was sincere.  Washington was sincere.  Reagan was sincere, as you know.  Each was at home in the White House.  Might some future Progressive President not be at home in the White House.


Modern White House, Break

“BREAK” by Yuntao Xu & Yutian Tang, was selected as a runner-up proposal in a competition to design a modern White House.⁠ From the Designer: “Given the current trajectories of social and cultural movements, the future White House should be perceived as a stage engaging all kinds of people, a stage for celebration, a stage for different voices, a stage where equality happens.

BREAK by Yuntao Xu Yutian Tang schematic

The White House should be deprived from its original political and symbolic meanings. Just break it! Break the White House into pieces and let inequity, authority and privilege collapse. This central, precious greenland should be a park, a playground. Building fragments will be hidden inside the forest, diffusing their original forms and become public spaces. The president’s home will be the only program remaining in the plot. Let “House” just be a house, and let home just be a home.”⁠ Modern White House














You might, if you choose, trust as Lincoln trusted: “Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.”  Though if you trust, trust as did Don John, who in world altering victory at Lepanto urged, “Gentlemen, this is not the time to discuss, but to fight.

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The Beautiful Home

The Modern White House

Related: Jefferson’s White House

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White House Rainbow. credit zhephotography

Modern White House Rainbow. credit: zhephotography


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Images and architect statements courtesy of Arh Out Loud.

Featured image: BREAK, by Yuntao Xu & Yutian Tang.

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