Posts tagged with "Donald Trump":

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Department of Homeland Security begins acquiring land for border wall in Texas

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun to amass land along the United States-Mexico border in Texas as the agency makes preparations for the yet to be funded border wall expansion ordered by President Trump. Texas Observer reports that landowners along the border have begun to receive “Declaration of Taking” notices offering cash payouts for land along the border. The DHS letters also threaten the use of eminent domain to take the land if landowners refuse to agree to sell—landowners would still be compensated for their land in the event DHS utilizes eminent domain to acquire the property. The move is potentially controversial because many of the areas that do not already host sections of the existing border wall lie along sensitive or inaccessible terrain. Texas Observer reports the story of local landowner Maria Flores in the community of Los Ebanos near the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande forms part of the border between the U.S. and Mexico and the lands abutting the river were—until recently—protected from any type of new construction due to fears that structures would increase the likelihood of damage to local communities were the river to flood. That changed in 2012 when the American-controlled contingent of the International Boundary and Water Commission that oversees the U.S.-Mexico border area agreed to allow DHS build the wall along the Rio Grande floodplain. See Texas Observer for full text of the Declaration of Taking letter. BREAKING: Department of Homeland Security seeking white papers for “complete physical barrier” with Mexico ADPSR is calling all designers to submit protest proposals for Trump’s border wall The Architecture Lobby calls to resist Trump’s border wall project These architects want to critically engage with Trump’s border wall
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The Architecture Lobby calls to resist Trump’s border wall project

The Architecture Lobbyan organization that advocates for architectural workers and for the value of architecture in the general publichas issued a call to for architects to resist the Department of Homeland Security’s recent presolicitation announcement pertaining to the proposed United States-Mexico border wall project. The group is advocating for architects and engineers to participate in a day of action aimed at showing opposition to the project that, the organization contends, exploits the labor or architects and designers “in the service of xenophobia, discrimination, and racism.” So far more than 300 firms have expressed interest in DHS’s pre-solicitation. DHS posted a second call after the RFP was issued last week as Trump's xenophobic campaign steps closer to built validation. The controversial project, a promise which was at the crux of Trump's campaign, could supposedly cost U.S. taxpayers $15 billion to $40 billion—or as Carolina Miranda of the LA Times puts it, "101 to 270 times the annual budget for the National Endowment for the Arts." Architecture and engineering firm Leo A Daly was one of the biggest names on the Federal Business Opportunities' (FBO) preliminary solicitation vendors list, as of Monday, however, since the listing was publicized, its name can now no longer be found there. The Architect's Newspaper today (3/6) learned that Leo A Daly's inclusion on the FBO's vendors list was accidental. A marketing spokesperson for the firm stated while the firm does do security work (such as the Anzalduas Port of Entry in Texas), the listing on the FBO's website was a mistake. Leo A Daly is not interested in working on the U.S.-Mexico border wall project.  Meanwhile, concrete construction firm LafargeHolcim can now be found on the list. The Swiss-French company is America's top cement producer and is primed to rake in a hefty reward if and when Trump's wall goes ahead. The company is also involved in further controversy in the Middle East having recently admitted to "unacceptable" activity in Syra as it paid third parties for help with armed groups around a plant.  New York firm Victoria Benatar ARCHITECT PLLC is also listed as an interested vendor on the FBO. The Architecture Lobby’s call follows. For more information, see the Architecture Lobby website.
WE WON’T DESIGN YOUR WALL A Day of Action by Architects and Engineers March 10th, 2017 – 4pm EST http://architecture-lobby.org/project/notourwall The Architecture Lobby, an organization of architectural workers, calls for a national day of action in opposition to the building of the southwestern border wall proposed by the Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security. While there are innumerable reasons to stand against the immigration policies of the current administration and this project specifically, this call is motivated by the belief that the fields of architecture, and engineering are fundamentally rooted in a goal to improve our societies by producing structures that render them more just, more equitable, and more beautiful. The southwestern border wall stands in clear and direct opposition to this goal. By participating in this day of action, architects and engineers will make clear not only to the current and future administrations, but also to themselves and each other, that their agency will not be exploited in the service of xenophobia, discrimination, and racism.
The Request for Proposals These concerns have taken on a renewed urgency. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for southwestern border wall (SBW) prototypes to begin the bidding phase of new border wall construction. The proposal is lightning-fast, with the first round of submissions due on March 10th followed by a full proposal from those shortlisted due on March 24th. A design team for the SBW will be selected by mid-April. The DHS site has made public a list of interested vendors that might be good targets for organizing, although we believe most of them to be subcontractors looking to get work after the project has been awarded, and that the largest companies pursuing the project have not listed themselves. A Time to Act We are calling for a 45 minute united action for architects and engineers to leave their desks and walk out to demonstrate our power to withhold our individual agency. The goal of this Day of Action is to encourage a grassroots resistance to this project from and within architecture and engineering companies across the country, coinciding with the closure of the first round of RFPs for the DHS SBW. Additionally we have listed some suggestions and tips on a second page for possible further actions. Take the fight to who you can, where you can, how you can. Share a picture of your empty desks and protest using the hashtag #NotOurWall It Doesn’t Stop There After the Day of Action, we want to hear back. What were the successes, failures, and potential paths forward for us from here? Send reports, photos, statements of support and boycott as a firm or as an individual, and summaries to notourwall@architecture-lobby.org. Note if you would like to anonymize your information or altogether refrain from posting it publicly. We’ll publicize the information on our website. This the first of many steps toward building the solidarity that will make it possible to organize actions against whichever companies make the shortlist after the 10th and are awarded the bid in April.
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These architects want to critically engage with Trump’s border wall

Architecture firm JuneJuly has encountered controversy after being mentioned in a recent Los Angeles Times article as one of the firms that has responded to the Department of Homeland Security’s pre-solicitation for the controversial wall along the US-Mexico border. Unlike some of the large, infrastructure-focused firms in the running for the project, JuneJuly is rather different. It is a small, young practice run by Jake Matatyaou and Kyle Hovenkotter who teach at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and Pratt Institute, respectively. Considering the deeply controversial and morally objectionable nature of the border wall project, the reaction on the internet—as one might expect—been mostly negative. There’s reason for that, of course. Despite what might be well-intentioned efforts on the part of thoughtful designers eager to engage with the wall, practical political realities dog the common argument that the border wall, as explained by another architect mentioned in the LA Times article, is “not political.” For immigrant communities and those who will live with the life-changing effects of the wall—should it be built—the ongoing, so-called critical engagement with the wall, whether academic, hypothetical, or earnest in its interest to affect positive change, has served up until now mainly to reify the wall’s existence as a symbol of xenophobic oppression. The wall project, as it is increasingly incorporated into the architectural discourse retains this loaded socio-political baggage. The question facing architects who seek to engage with the wall project is whether they can fundamentally alter this symbolic meaning.   The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) reached out to JuneJuly for comment regarding the firm’s interests and motivations for being a part of the border wall project, their responses are below. AN: The border wall is obviously very controversial, what are the benefits of getting proactively involved with something many in the architecture community would rather boycott? JuneJuly: It’s been a busy morning. We welcome the opportunity to clarify our position. In an ideal world, there would be no border and certainly no wall. But given our reality, we feel it is most productive to work within its constraints, so we begin with the reality of the wall as described in the pre-solicitation. Our involvement in the process opens a direct dialogue with those who are making decisions about the future of our southern border. We want the Department of Homeland Security to entertain our position and this process is a direct channel for our voice to be heard. Simply “walking away from our desks,” is not the right kind of agency to actively redirect what is happening along the border, nor does it allow us to be part of the conversation. Moreover, resistance as non-participation (which is sometimes necessary, but often not sufficient) maintains the status quo and the non-productive binary of an "us against them." JuneJuly thinks we are all in this together. We realize that the construction of any wall along our southern border will affect human lives on both sides of the partition. But the executive order, which is an immaterial wall, also has real consequences. Given our tools as architects, what can we, as practitioners do to redirect the conversation to a more humane and aesthetically aware border infrastructure, material and otherwise?

Do you believe it is possible to embed humanitarian considerations in a work of infrastructure defined fundamentally by separation and inequality? Yes. Not all walls are about separation and inequality. For example, the history of memorial architecture plays on the idea of the wall as a device of human connection, and not one of enclosure. It is our job as architects, as it always has been, to propose alternatives to what is considered fundamental to a design problem. What are some of the practical considerations you are contemplating for the wall? For example, the LA Times article references specific instances of human-scale contact, what do you envision happening along the wall's more remote or desolate locations? Architects have proven reluctant participants in discourses of border politics, having little, if anything, to say about the border as either a spatial condition or a cultural artifact. We believe that it is important for architects to engage the border as a specific architectural type as it is a physically experienced and collectively owned part of our design culture. Borders are a special kind of architecture that not only play an important role in how architectural effects are distributed geographically and politically, they literally manifest boundaries—both physical and virtual—in the form of edges, margins, zones, points, and lines, each regulated by rules of access and movement. Whether hard or soft, thick or thin, loud or mute, borders produce and negate various political imaginaries and subjectivities, both individual and collective. The stated objective of the U.S.-Mexico partition is to achieve operational control on the border through systematic surveillance and physical infrastructure designed to regulate the northern migration of goods and bodies. Our goal is to bring this border off-site, and to bring spectators at those sites to the border, transforming the partition into an interface for exchange, intimacy, and immediacy through the very tactics deployed in its policing. We depart from the premise that the border is its own architectural type, distinct from that of a wall or any other material construct. As such, we view it as a place of bodies and a space of flow. Ultimately, we want to dislocate the border from any claim to site specificity in order to emancipate the bodies it attempts to control. I would like to push against this notion that the wall is a foregone conclusion: The plans and money for the wall are not actually in place yet and there's also the issue that we already have many miles' worth of border wall in existence. The efficacy of non-engagement as a form of protest aside, what is the public benefit of utopianizing this type of infrastructure? In no way are we utopianizing border infrastructure. Nor do we say that the wall is a foregone conclusion. What is foregone is that the federal government is soliciting proposals for the southern border apparatus. We are responding in real time to the federal government as an active form of inquiry. There is clear public benefit in the engagement of established processes to achieve change and communicate ideas. We are not saying that counter-competitions, as described in your newspaper, are invalid forms of dialogue and protest. However, they should not come at the expense of direct engagement with official channels of power. To put it directly: We have never said that we are designing a wall. We are responding to the government’s solicitation for a new model of border infrastructure which we hope will provide a corrective to the privileging of iconicity, spectacle, and security at the border.
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ADPSR is calling all designers to submit protest proposals for Trump’s border wall

In the wake of the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) request for proposals for a U.S./Mexico border wall, design advocacy group Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) says it doesn't accept the project and has issued a call for architects, designers, and contractors to "add their voices in opposition."

In doing so, the ADPSR has called for those within the industry to submit protest bids to the federal bidding portal, and gear up for legal challenges to the bidding process. Protests will be published online to demonstrate that the profession, in its view, does "not accept the basic premises" of the CBP's RFP. Adding submissions to the federal portal will place your protest on the record, the group said.

The ADPSR issued the following statement in conjunction with their call to action:

Our professions are committed to protecting public health, safety, and welfare, so we are fundamentally at odds with any project that intends to divide, demean, and injure people on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

This project will undermine peaceful international relations between the U.S. and Mexico, and demonstrate a profound mistrust and aversion towards the rest of the world. Professional design practice and human relations are increasingly global. As decent national and world citizens, American designers and contractors must not participate in an ill-conceived and hostile gesture towards the rest of the world.

We must also take stock of the frequent deaths of would-be migrants in the deserts of the border area. This proposed wall, by making the border even more inaccessible, will increase the number of deaths: an outcome that is completely unacceptable and flies in the face of professional ethics and human rights. Designers can not ethically undertake projects that will kill people or cause harm.

This project is completely unnecessary and hugely wasteful.  We must not be scared by the rhetoric of a “lawless” border; in fact, through many successful projects such as Land Ports of Entry, designers and builders have made the U.S. border more welcoming, efficient, and well-controlled. The idea that people from Mexico and Central America crossing remote borders on foot pose a significant public safety threat or are stealing jobs is not supported by evidence.. Participation in the border wall project indicates acceptance of a worldview that smacks of ignorance and racism.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates the wall will cost $21.6 billion dollars. Instead, the billions of dollars proposed here should be used to sustain the infrastructure truly essential to public health, safety, and welfare that has been neglected for far too long. From public schools and community parks to dangerously unreinforced dams and bridges, or addressing the pressing concerns of climate change on coastal cities, or the housing crisis sweeping much of our nation, this funding should be used to connect our communities, not divide them...

We will do not collaborate with hate, racism, fear, or/and violence. We demand investment for the public good!

For those who need help submitting a protest border wall, the ADPSR invites interested parties to send proposals to be submitted via the organization. Files should be .PDF documents and addressed to: borderwall (at) adpsr (dot) org. The group asks to be CC'd on all submissions.

The ADPSR also offers some advice on submissions:

Take time to review the insanely short proposed schedule and identify how this might obstruct a realistic bid that you as a designer might want to submit. Consider submitting a bid to hold a place for this future protest. Review the forthcoming RFP for inaccuracies, biased statements, or anti-competitive features and share these with us at borderwall (at) adpsr (dot) org. We will do our best to raise legal challenges as the process proceeds.

Submissions to the federal bidding portal are due March 31.

UPDATES: AIA pledges to work with Donald Trump, membership recoils. UPDATE: Robert Ivy issues second apology for tone-deaf post-election memo UPDATE: Robert Ivy, executive vice president and CEO of the AIA, responds to post-election memo criticism.
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BREAKING: Department of Homeland Security seeking white papers for “complete physical barrier” with Mexico

The United States Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Procurement Innovation Lab (PIL) has issued a new Request for Information (RFI) pertaining to the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. The RFI is different from the earlier Presolicitation Noticed issued last week by DHS, which has already garnered responses from hundreds of interested parties. The PIL is housed within the office of the Chief Procurement Officer at DHS and this new order seeks to “to solicit ideas from industry and other partners for the more comprehensive long-term strategy related to the border wall.” The call also asks for firms, nonprofits, and other interested parties to submit white papers in pursuit of "innovative ideas to design, finance and complete construction" of a "complete physical barrier" between the United States and Mexico.  See below for the full RFI text:
This Request for Information (RFI) is being issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) under the auspices of the Procurement Innovation Lab (PIL). The information requested under this RFI is separate and distinct from Presolicitation Notice 2017-JC-RT-0001, which was posted by the DHS Customs and Border Protection (DHS CBP) Procurement Directorate, and any Request for Proposals (RFP) flowing therefrom. That presolicitation notice, any amendments, and the anticipated RFP will, of course, be authoritative with respect to themselves, notwithstanding anything in this RFI. Thematically and conceptually, the RFP anticipated to follow the CBP presolicitation notice is designed to focus on a very near term effort. Some of those designs could become prototypes that will, in turn, advise the development of requirements for the actual wall. The details of the RFP are still under development, but it could include provision for construction of an initial segment of the wall. The procurement of the complete, extensive wall will come sometime later. Interested parties should note that participation in Presolicitation Notice 2017-JC-RT-0001 and any related procurement does not preclude offerors from participating in this RFI, and participation in this RFI does not preclude offerors from participating in Presolicitation Notice 2017-JC-RT-0001. The purpose of this RFI is to solicit ideas from industry and other partners for the more comprehensive long-term strategy related to the border wall. There are many other considerations for completion of the border wall. DHS recognizes that industry, other agencies, and other private entities may have interesting and useful ideas about how we could proceed. We would like to invite submissions of any such ideas so we can consider them as we develop a complete and comprehensive long-term strategy. This strategy will need to accommodate the entire Southwest Border, which has a quite diverse range of terrain, foliage, population, wildlife, and other features. Exemplar areas of the Southwest Border where we might initiate more extensive construction could include the Rio Grande Valley in the southeast of Texas, the area in and around El Paso, the desert along the Arizona border, and the area south of San Diego, California.
To that end, and pursuant to FAR Parts 10 and 15.201, DHS seeks white papers from companies, not for profits, educational institutions, consortia, and other entities with innovative ideas to design, finance and complete construction of physical infrastructure, known as the "wall" on the Southwest land Border of the United States to aid the Border Patrol in detecting and preventing illegal border crossings. The infrastructure will provide a complete physical barrier along the Southwest land Border. DHS is interested in ideas including, but not limited to: • Models for financing, constructing and maintaining the wall. • Multi or dual use functions for the wall and/or wall corridor. • Tools and methods to determine the best type of wall for each section of the Southwest Border. This would include the ability to tradeoff security capability, acquisition, life cycle cost, useful life and other factors. • Technology that could be incorporated into the wall that would contribute to border security and agent safety including but not limited to, sensors, cameras, access roads, brush removal. • Proposed business/contract terms and conditions that would optimize risk avoidance for DHS and its business partners in providing strong security quickly, efficiently, and effectively. This would include, but is not limited to whether this endeavor should be a contract or grant, partnership or financial assistance program; necessary length of an agreement, benefits of one partner vs. many different partners on various areas of the border and major deviations from federal law or regulation necessary to make this innovation possible. • How to bring economic benefit and jobs to the regions (states, counties, cities, individuals) cooperating with DHS on the wall project. White papers should be no longer than five (5) pages. If known, the papers should identify the largest obstacles to accomplishing the idea and proposed methods of overcoming the obstacles. Alternatives within a proposed model are encouraged. DHS may set up meetings (in person or telephonic) with respondents whose white papers, in the opinion of DHS, have merit and value in further discussion. A response to this market research is not required to participate in future acquisitions. Similarly, DHS's decision not to continue communications regarding a white paper does not prohibit that respondent from participating in future acquisitions for this program. Nonproprietary responses are preferred but DHS will also consider responses marked in total or in part proprietary. Please note however, that DHS does not consider these responses unsolicited proposals nor does it intend to award a sole source contract from the responses to this market research notice. Therefore, nonproprietary responses are of the most value to DHS as it proceeds forward with the wall. This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a Request for Proposal or as an obligation on the part of the Government to acquire any services or hardware. Your response to this RFI will be treated as information only. No entitlement to payment of direct or indirect costs or charges by the Government will arise as a result of contractor submission of responses to this announcement or Government use of such information. No funds have been authorized, appropriated, or received for this effort. DHS may use the responses to inform its development of future border infrastructure requirements. Interested parties are responsible for adequately marking proprietary or competition sensitive information contained in their response. The U.S. Government is not obligated to notify respondents of the results of this survey. The purpose of this RFI is solely to conduct market research. Classified information should not be submitted nor will it be accepted. The Government will not return any materials submitted. The requested information should be provided to: Wall_Innovations@hq.dhs.gov Responses are requested by March 31, 2017.
More information can be found on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
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Protestors take to Trump Tower’s fourth floor for a teach-in

City Councilman Mark Levine and a host of other New Yorkers have taken to the fourth floor of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue to give a range of public talks on climate change, jobs, energy efficiency, and public parks. Organized by Climate Works For All, the teach-in aims to heighten awareness about Donald Trump's backward energy and climate policies as well as his real estate practices.

People were able to group at the garden of Trump Tower by invoking a long-standing (but infrequently used) legal requirement that this part of Trump Tower has public access. The event is being live-streamed on Facebook and protestors are using #TeachTrump on social media. “It’s clear that Donald Trump has a lot to learn, so we came to Trump Tower to teach him about issues that matters to us and working families,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, executive director of ALIGN, in a press release. “Making buildings more energy efficient is a win-win: cutting down on wasted energy protects the environment and creates good jobs in a city of vast inequalities. We also wanted to let the president know that New Yorkers value our public spaces, so he can’t cut corners like this anymore.”

If you fancy a trip yourself, the address is: 725 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022.

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Department of Homeland Security to accept bids for US-Mexico border wall

For architects still eager to “stand ready” with President Donald Trump’s pledge to build new works of infrastructure, here’s your chance: The United States Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection office has issued a preliminary “solicitation” for proposals to build the president’s controversial border wall between the United States and Mexico. The solicitation, posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website on February 24th, states the following:
The Dept. of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intends on issuing a solicitation in electronic format on or about March 6, 2017 for the design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico. The procurement will be conducted in two phases, the first requiring vendors to submit a concept paper of their prototype(s) by March 10, 2017, which will result in the evaluation and down select of offerors by March 20, 2017.  The second phase will require the down select of phase 1 offerors to submit proposals in response to the full RFP by March 24, 2017, which will include price. Multiple awards are contemplated by mid-April for this effort. An option for additional miles may be included in each contract award.
The solicitation was issued the same day the president, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Congress’s (CPAC) annual forum, mentioned that progress on the wall was, “way, way, way ahead of schedule” and just two weeks after the administration began a heavy-handed crackdown on undocumented immigrants in the country. As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump fueled his candidacy with strikingly anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric, promising to forcibly deport the roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants who currently live in the country. It seems now that President Trump, having botched the rollout of the administration’s travel ban against seven predominantly Muslim countries, is turning his attention to immigrants in this country to fulfill those campaign promises. The new focus will surely reinvigorate debate within the architectural profession regarding individuals’ and organizations’ kowtowing embrace of these so-called infrastructural projects. Following the travel ban hullabaloo, the American Institute of Architects issued a statement in support of immigration and international travel. The organization remains silent, however, on the issue of the proposed border wall and on the various other building-related issues the administration is currently pursuing, like increased use of private prisons for federal detentions, including deportation actions. Media reports have indicated that the private prison industry is looking to profit handsomely from recently relaxed regulations against such facilities under the new Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Their use is set to expand vastly under a directive issued that instructs the CBP to expand its detention capabilities from a capacity of roughly 34,000 detainees today to upwards of 80,000 detainees in the near future. Monetary costs for the border wall vary widely, from between $12 to $15 billion according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The CBP recently issued an internal memo pegging the wall’s cost at closer to $21.5-billion. Whatever the cost, the lack of leadership and activism on the part of professional building trade organizations is palpable. UPDATES: AIA pledges to work with Donald Trump, membership recoils. UPDATE: Robert Ivy issues second apology for tone-deaf post-election memo UPDATE: Robert Ivy, executive vice president and CEO of the AIA, responds to post-election memo criticism.
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AIA issues statement on immigration; expresses “deep concern” over Trump’s travel ban

Today the AIA released a statement outlining its position on immigrants and migration.

“Beyond the essential considerations of fairness and equity, restrictions targeting specific areas of the world can have profoundly negative business impacts,” said AIA President Thomas Vonier, in a statement. “Professional service exports are a key contributor to AIA member firms and their earnings. In fact, the entire international building development, design, and construction sector relies heavily on reciprocal treatment and on the fair and ethical ability to travel, reside and work across national boundaries.”

The statement conveys the need for borders that permit easy travel to and from projects abroad and facilitate the recruitment and retention of top talent. The organization also decried the negative ripple effect of the president’s onerous travel ban, and "[expressed] deep concern about policies that restrict immigration from specific countries or regions based on overly broad factors, including religion."

The stance is a sharp pivot from just three months ago when the organization pledged to work with the Trump administration on his infrastructure projects, a position the AIA walked back on after members protested.

Full text and supporting materials can be read here.

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SCI-Arc issues statement in support of immigrants, students in light of Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) Director Hernan Diaz-Alonso and Chairperson of the Board Tom Gilmore emailed a letter of support to members of the SCI-Arc community directly impacted by President Trump's anti-Muslim travel ban yesterday afternoon. In the memo, which has since been posted to the university's Twitter and Instagram accounts, Diaz-Alonso and Gilmore voice solidarity with the students who have been impacted by the controversial (and potentially illegal) executive order signed by the president late last week, saying, "We want you to know that every one of us is affected by this. What affects one of us in our community affects all of us." It is unclear how many students, faculty, and staff at SCI-Arc have been affected by the order. See below for the full text of the memo.
Dear SCI-Arc Community, Let’s remember at this uncertain moment that SCI-Arc was founded on the premise that architecture can make the world better. In almost half a century since a small group of passionate individuals moved into modest sheds in Santa Monica, SCI-Arc has built a global community of students, faculty, and alumni that have dedicated themselves to a noble vision of civilized space. This vision has inspired us to bring the world, in all of its diversity, to our campus here in Los Angeles, and we will continue to do so. Architecture can be a marker in civilization for its finest values and aspirations. It has the capacity to bring people together in extraordinary ways. Recent political trends would have us turn inward and away from one another. This is something that SCI-Arc can never do. We refuse to let architecture become a tool for divisiveness and demoralization. Over the weekend, a new executive order has impacted some of you directly. We want you to know that every one of us is affected by this. What affects one of us in our community affects all of us. We also want you to know that we see it as a profound risk to our core mission and the open future that belongs to all of us at SCI-Arc. Every member of the SCI-Arc community, regardless of where you come from, what you believe, or whom you love, is indispensable to our mission. Creating an environment that stimulates education, speculation and humanity is at the center of who we are and do.  SCI-Arc is committed to protecting the rights to all the members of our community, and to do whatever is possible within the law to keep doing so. Now as always we stand together with you to defend a more just and open future.   Hernan Diaz Alonso Director/CEO Tom Gilmore Chairman of the Board
  (Also see: Studio Libeskind comes out against Trump travel ban, will boycott companies that support his administration’s policies)
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Studio Libeskind comes out against Trump travel ban, will boycott companies that support the administration’s policies

In case you missed it, last Friday President Trump signed an executive order that immediately prevented refugees and immigrants from seven mostly-Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen) from entering the U.S. (The order halts the entry of refugees for 120 days, immigrants for three months, and indefinitely stops refugees from Syria.) The move caught everyone by surprise, including the Justice Department. The Department of Homeland Security scrambled to implement the order. Even those with valid visas and green cards were barred entry or forced to return to their point of origin. In the wake of the order, there have been spontaneous protests, condemnations from corporations and both sides of the aisle, as well as a flurry of legal activity. Now, New York and Zurich-based Studio Libeskind has added its voice to those opposing the ban:
Studio Libeskind would not exist without immigration. Daniel Libeskind immigrated to the United States, fleeing persecution and Communist rulers in Poland. His wife, Nina, co-founder of the practice, is Canadian. Daniel and Nina run the studio with three partners from the US, Germany and Afghanistan. Our Studio in New York is comprised of the most dedicated and talented architects and designers from more than a dozen countries. On any given day one can hear French, Spanish, Farsi, Italian, German, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, Dutch, Turkish, Swedish, Arabic, and Korean spoken. This diversity makes us stronger and makes this practice uniquely American, not the other way around. The Trump travel ban is an affront to our freedom and core values. It affects our employees, colleagues and collaborators. Now is the time for us to join hands and take a stand. On January 21, the Studio brought nearly a 100 people to march on Washington DC. We are actively boycotting companies that support the current administration’s policies. But there is still more to do. We invite our colleagues in the architecture, design and construction communities to join us.
Where does your firm stand? Let us know in the comments or email us at: editor[at]archpaper.com (Also see: SCI-Arc issues statement in support of immigrants, students in light of Trump's anti-Muslim travel ban)
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Sign designating honorary “Trump Plaza” in Chicago removed

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

It took over a month, but the sign designating the stretch of Wabash Avenue in front of Trump Tower in Chicago as honorary Trump Plaza was removed in mid-December. The City Council had voted unanimously to remove the sign late October after Donald Trump had referred to Chicago as a “war zone” during the third presidential debate. After the election, when the street sign was still there, some feared the city would go back on its plan out of fear of reprisal from the President-elect. For the weeks after the election, the street became the focal point of protests against Trump.

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“Pay Your Architect” says sign at the NYC Women’s March

Last Saturday, hundreds of thousands of protestors ("alternative facts" be damned) gathered across the U.S. and the world (even Antarctica!) to signal unity and resistance to the incoming Trump administration. The Architecture Lobby spotted this poster at a rally in New York City, which we at The Architect's Newspaper thought deserved a wider audience. For more coverage on Donald Trump and what his presidency means for architects, designers, and cities everywhere, click here.