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Architects in shock as Trump wins US election

Donald trump (25218642186)

Architects have spoken of their hurt and disappointment after Donald Trump was chosen as president elect of the United States

The controversial billionaire businessman and Republican candidate beat Democrat contender Hillary Clinton in a result which has surprised many in the profession and around the world.

Trump, who made the headlines with a series of outbursts including his proposals to build a ‘great, great wall’ between the US and Mexico, is the first president in modern times to take office without any governmental or military experience.

US architect Stephan C Reinke of London-based Stephan Reinke Architects described the news as ’disappointing’, adding: ’The US is a deeply divided nation, so not really surprised. [I’m now] hoping now for a positive way forward.’

Jason Rosenblatt, director of design at US architecture company NELSON told the AJ: ’I don’t believe in the doomsday scenarios associated with a Trump victory. Nonetheless I do view this as a disappointing step backwards for our country.

’As part of a profession that has always strived to provide solutions for the betterment of all society without discrimination, this hurts.’

The US stock market is expected to plunge and other markets around the world to follow in the wake of the victory by the 70-year-old, who was described by the Clinton campaign as ‘unhinged’.

Among Trump’s election promises include the mass deportation of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the US, a ban on Muslims entering the country and the introduction of restrictions on free trade.

As news of his triumph broke this morning, Trump made a victory speech in which he pledged to build infrastructure that was ‘second to none’. 

’For those who have chosen not to support me, I am reaching out to you for your guidance and help so we can unify our great country. As I said from the beginning ours wasn’t a campaign, more an incredible movement.

’Working together we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding this nation and renewing the American dream. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

’We are going to rebuild our inner cities and our roads, bridges and infrastructure – which will become second to none. We must reclaim our country’s destiny and dream big and bold.

’I want to tell the world community, that while we will put our interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone. We will seek common ground not hostility.’

The property tycoon recently completed a £100 million revamp of the Turnberry Golf Club in Scotland overseen by 3DReid in collaboration with conservation specialist Peter Drummond Architects and Covell Matthews Architects.


Dan Ringelstein, director of SOM

’Even though we saw things shifting over the past few weeks, I’m still in shock.

’Of course, people here are calling this Brexit 2.0. This election followed suit with the global trend of more nationalistic / isolationist movements… and as in Britain, the voters came out against the establishment in favour of change. But who knows what form of change this particular decision will bring.

’People in the ‘heartland’ are feeling left out since the global economic crisis. What is difficult for many to understand here is how Trump became the answer to their voice.

’How did Trump become the answer?’

‘We need to hope now that the strong divides revealed by this historic campaign don’t expand further. And we have to hope the global economy and geo-political forces stay the course.’

Jason Rosenblatt, director of design at NELSON

’Oh hell. I almost want to leave it at that because it is such a perfect summation of my feelings. That said, I still have (an admittedly naïve) faith in the checks and balances in our political system and the grassroots organisations that are out there protecting free speech, the rights of minorities and the other ideals that Trump seemingly threatens.

’His victory is by no means a broad referendum; our country is polarised and not swinging heavily in either party’s direction. It saddens me that this will be the first president that my daughter will know, especially contrasted to the president she could have known in Hillary and what she represents to the aspirations of women and young girls.

’I don’t believe in the doomsday scenarios associated with a Trump victory. Nonetheless I do view this as a disappointing step backwards for our country. As part of a profession that has always strived to provide solutions for the betterment of all society without discrimination, this hurts.’

John Ronan, of Chicago-based John Ronan Architects

’This election uncovered a new plot line in the American story, pitting those harvesting the fruits of globalisation —mostly city-dwellers — for whom the new economy is working reasonably well, against a disaffected population living predominantly in suburban, ex-urban and rural areas, whose existence has been upended by forces they don’t control or understand and whose vote represents both an act of resistance against a system that they feel has ruined their lives and a rebuke to the technocratic elite who brought it about. 

’This election closes an ugly chapter in an ongoing story whose plot is unresolved; it will look more like a comma than a period, in retrospect.’

Robert Rhodes, director of the AIA UK Chapter

’My concern is for what effect the Trump presidency will have on our image as Americans abroad. I worry he is bad for the brand, for all things American. We should be prepared to be plunged back into the darkness we lived in before the Obama years, when being an American was deeply uncool.

’I worry Trump is bad for the brand, for all things American’

’As an American abroad during the Bush years, I felt the need to apologise for my country, and for being American. President Obama changed all that. He brought dignity back to the office of the President, and gave us a brand ambassador who was as cool as a politician could ever hope to be. Even more than Bush, Trump seems to epitomise all that is unpleasant about America and Americans. Obama was capable, eloquent and hopeful. Trump is shifty, crass and vulgar. Most of all, Trump is deeply uncool – and for our brand as Americans, I worry he’ll also be toxic.’

Paul Finch, AJ editorial director

’The United States needs few lectures about democracy (and none at all about checks and balances) from a Europe which has yet to resolve its own attitudes to federalism, and appears incapable of running a single currency without imposing mass unemployment on poorer countries. A president who said Britain would be last in line as a trading partner is being replaced by one who says we will be first. In unexpected situations, it seems sensible to note what may be silver linings.’

Jack Pringle, of Perkins + Will

’There is a tide of change sweeping the West based on ‘blue collar’ reaction to immigration taking their jobs and free trade exporting their jobs. In a democracy its rule by the majority and the majority in the prosperous West don’t feel they are sharing in its prosperity.

’The educated elite like their Polish plumbers and cheap Chinese phones but if you’re on minimum wage or a zero hours contract, that cuts no ice. What next? Merkel to fall in Germany and Le Penn to be elected in France?’

Tony Chapman, former head of awards at RIBA

’Watching Trump’s acceptance speech was like watching an embarrassing drunken CEO make a speech at a Christmas party. We might wake up with a hangover from that, but at least we’d wake up.’



Readers' comments (8)

  • Chris Roche

    Mobocracy has replaced Democracy in the West, and America needs rebranding as the Divided States of America.

    Chris Roche / Founder 11.04

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  • However much I dislike the character and attitudes - particularly in relation to women - and my disappointment at the result, my long experience tells me that you never know how the outsider with little experience of top office who wins the top chair is going to perform when they take the reigns of power.

    Let us hope so as the implications not just for the US but the world are almost frightening.

    Trump's victory speech indicated he might not be a bad as his very personal and abusive winning campaign indicates. He will have the support of both Republican controlled houses of Congress so the 'checks and balances' that are the basis of the US Constitution will not apply if he has the support of his party. In four years time we might be applauding the Trump Presidency - but don't hold your breath. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    Architects and thinking people should not be in shock. Big TV and Big Press forgot to be balanced and neutral, and turned into propaganda machines for one side. They then doctored their polls to reinforce their bias and create a false momentum for Clinton.
    Clinton's record in politics is terrible. Her alliance with Wall St, the Clinton Foundation story, her foreign policy empire-building and desperation to ensnare Russia into a conflict, her support for Obamacare and Big Pharma against the people, her total disrespect for the law, all marked her down as entirely unsuitable for the job. What her gender has to do with it is beyond me.
    How on earth the powers behind the throne selected her, is an indictment on their deductive talents, or was it greed.

    And that's without saying one word about her opponent.

    Trump won by taking on the Republican Party, the Press, the Media, 14(?) contenders for the ticket, the Justice Department, Wall St, the Clinton juggernaut, the Snowflakes and a pile of dodgy voting machines. That sounds emphatic to me.

    I think everyone should just wait and see what he is going to do.
    A bit less Huffington Post alarm is required here.

    Trump has been the most visible businessman in the USA for over 30 years ago. I knew of him in the mid 70's. To get that far -whether Pop gave him some seed money or not- suggests he has some skills. Most of the rhetoric he put out over the campaign was because he couldn't get any media coverage without it. Anyone who saw the way they treated Ron Paul last time out, could see that the Outsider had to be starved of coverage.
    Candidate Trump was one personality, President Trump will be someone else entirely

    Just like Brexit, don't believe the hype. The people voted and the people are always right. Even when they are wrong, the majority is right.

    Had the Democrats put up any other candidate, they would have won in a landslide. The cuckoo Hilary made sure years ago, that there was no-one left in the nest.

    If Trump is pro-growth and pro-business, and anti-taxes, and anti-red tape, maybe we should look this gift horse in the mouth objectively. He might be good for construction, and homes, and manufacturing.

    (and I don't have much time for Trump as a character, or either of these corrupt parties)

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  • Trump's wall may end up serving a different purpose than he intended: keeping north-Americans from fleeing the country into Latin America...

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  • Felix Mara

    I'm surprised that architects in Britain are being so wet about this, and the EU referendum. Most businesses, especially architectural practices, treat their staff like shit while hiding behind hypocritical liberal ideologies. No wonder the electorate has lashed out at the establishment again.

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  • Given the distaste for Trump amongst many Republican politicians, it'll be interesting to see how much the president-elect will have to compromise once he's in power; some of his close political associates seem distinctly grubby.
    New Jersey governor Chris Christie (Trump's transition planning chief) might not be a convicted crook, but the publicity of the 'Bridgegate' scandal, his administration's vengeful 5-day sabotage of traffic over the George Washington Bridge - widely believed to be to spite the local Democrat mayor for not supporting Christie's campaign to be Governor - gives food for thought on the likely quality of a Trump administration.
    But we've got Boris as Foreign Secretary, so we can hardly talk.

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  • You all are a bunch of politically correct biased guys. Trump is a brilliant person and americans know well what they are doing fed up of corrupt politics. Be free! Think free! Free yourselves of that obsolete leftist way of thinking.

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  • No matter how optimistically hopeful many people are, I'll believe it when I see it. I remember being hopeful hearing George Bush's initial remarks and look what happened. Trump's election may well be an extinction event. On that note, I am pleased to report that it is clear, sunny and 30+ degrees here in Los Angeles and the world still rotates.

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