Text and project by Arielle Assouline-Lichten & Wayne Congar of the think-tank lab/RAD
Lab/RAD, the virtual hub for designers from various schools of architecture formed by Wayne Congar and Arielle Assouline-Lichten, proposes a new national building in their awarded proposal for the White House Redux competition. As explained in their statement, the current White House “is the final and most formidable roadblock prohibiting dialogue between the public and political power players. White House 2.0 is an open-source solution, designed to facilitate a symbiotic information exchange…with the aim of creating more effective legislation and elevating the role of the public in the political process.”
Since 1792, increased levels of opacity have been grafted onto the basic palatial template of James Hoban’s design, reflecting the public’s decreasing access to an increasingly complex U.S. government. Despite its relatively unchanged formal reading from Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House has been transformed from a built expression of presidential power to a global emblem of cloistered politics and public inaccessibility evident in extensive subterranean additions and a shift in primary function from residence to storehouse of classified information.
Currently, the White House is the final and most formidable roadblock prohibiting dialogue between the public and political power players. White House 2.0 is an open-source solution, designed to facilitate a symbiotic information exchange between a global public of everyday experts and the U.S. government with the aim of creating more effective legislation and elevating the role of the public in the political process. Transparency penetrates the existing palace-cum-bunker typology by rededicating its existing computerized brain center to the input and output of public concerns rather than confidential information.
White House 2.0 collects and sorts public input, generating graphical and textural output to broadcast onto screens affixed to the interior walls of the executive residence and West Wing. After placing a concern, an individual can see the graph into which their input was incorporated. Where it appeared in White House 2.0 and, via webcams, observe high-level government officials analyzing the information, all in real-time. Similarly-themed output is broadcast within the same area of the building, therefore reorganizing existing programmatic arrangements and empowering the collective public voice to dictate circulation through it.
In short, White House 2.0 insists that presidential and governmental power is dependent on streams of unrefined information input and active involvement from a public empowered by evidence that their voice is being heard.
labRAD was founded in 2007 by Arielle Assouline-Lichten and Wayne Congar as a student administered think-tank and production unit. labRAD has served as a virtual hub for designers from various schools of architecture and design in the US and abroad.