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The Dwell Magazine Competition

A Plan for a Redesigned White the "virtual" world


When critics charged that every move made by the Clinton
Administration was poll-driven by a continuous sampling of focus
groups, they were just reflecting an increasing awareness of the
growing ability to track, extract, and categorize the opinions of
an "on-line" nation at any particular moment. For good or bad it
can only be an ever-present factor in future government

The unwieldiness of a direct democracy at the national level, due
to the sheer impossibility of physically assembling the body
politic for debate and voting on issues and laws necessary to
govern a vast and populous country, has now been nearly erased
with the new "virtual" order. Our on-line "e-populace" of the
21st century no longer has to be totally dependent on elected
representatives to gather together to speak for our needs and

As the video camera coupled with the satellite dish has opened up
more and more of governmental process to Citizen viewing, the
electronic virtual world has followed with Citizen participation.
For some time now, we have been watching legislatures in session,
courtroom proceedings, world conferences and battlefield
maneuvers as they have been happening. The overhaul of the
nation's voting system, long overdue, has gained fresh and urgent
impetus due to the recent Florida presidential vote dispute. An
interactive "e-vote," in some fashion or another, is not too far

As such, "America's House," the new primary national home and
office of our "e-president", will reflect and integrate the new
state of virtual reality, conjoining the presidency's desire to
be seen and heard in leading the nation, and the public's impulse
to watch and participate.

Here at ground level at "America's House" the curious and tourist
can file by and view the president and his staff at work - ala
Katie, Matt and gang on the network morning shows - through the
curving security glass enclosing the visitor's colonnade. In the
studio-equipped New Oval Office and ceremonial rooms grouped
around the perimeter of the structure's ellipsoidal core,
visiting heads of states, dignitaries, cabinet officials, and
guests can share in the presidential spotlight as scores of
videocams record their every move throughout the workday for
cable and internet consumption. Meanwhile dozens of monitors
scattered throughout the complex reciprocate by registering the
latest of Citizen "e-input" on current debates and issues. Of
course the offices and spaces off limits to public view offer the
retreat and privacy necessary for discussions and negotiations of
sensitive nature.

The 400'x 184' structure consists of seven above ground levels of
the glass-paneled main ellipse topped by the retractable
translucent dome of the solarium, three below-ground levels, and
three levels of the reinterpreted east and west wings under their
respective gently radiussed titanium roofs. A total of more than
200,000 sq. ft. provides spacious living, banquet, reception,
office and recreation space for the nation's chief executive,
family, guests and staff.

- Daniel John Bornt, February 2001

(originally submitted to Dwell magazine's 2001 "Redesign the White House" competition)

Former presidents comment on the new home for the "E-President"...

Ol' Jeff says: "It's great!...almost as great as the Louisiana Purchase!"

Ol' Bill says: "Hey, man, where's a place in there to hide out with the babes!"

Ol' George says: "First thing I told Junior, don't be foolin' around with that Big Red Button on the desk in the Oval Office! Might not be prudent!"

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