With the exception of Thomas Jefferson, no president has had an architectural legacy quite like Donald Trump. Trump’s brand of elitist buildings—principally the ‘Trump Tower’—is ingrained in American and international minds and has been since well before his 2016 election. Shameful associations with Trump’s architecture have only grown in the past four 4 years. Scandals about privileged access to Trump Tower, the perpetual tax-payer-funded trips to Mar-a-Lago, the suspected funneling of public money to the president’s businesses, and the injection of foreign and special interest money into Trump’s campaign funds through his properties, have made Trump’s buildings synonymous with an opaque and corrupt presidency. It is, after all, only the facades of Trump’s buildings that we seem to know. Their uninterrupted glass, locked doors, and exclusive entrances symbolize a presidency which is more like a political machine: covert, brazen, and abusive of power. The monolithic and monumental presence of these buildings exemplifies the 45th president’s colossal ego.
Why should his presidential library be any different? This library will not be a building in service to the public, but yet another monument to himself.
Rather than propose a new building, this entry is generated from Trump’s development history. Using machine learning, an algorithm proposed this result after studying a collection of over 700 images of Trump properties and development projects.
This proposal invites a myriad of interpretations. Viewers may wonder: What time period does this image represent? Is it in the past or further into the future? What state is it in? Is it mid-construction? Abandoned due to poor planning and shotty financing? Left to decay because of questionable construction practices and side skirted safety protocols?
In a conceivable future, the Trump Presidential Library is a tombstone. It marks the end of one of the most rancorous times in American history, largely propagated and fueled by the name that adorns its Frieze.