2. Matters of value in architecture are subjective.

Before the Age of Enlightenment there was, in most cultures, some group of values to which one could appeal, and to which people did appeal while building the parts of their world. The source of these values was different in different cultures. In some it was thought to be “God”, in others “ancestors”, in others “tradition” or “law”. Whatever the source, there was no doubt, at that time, that there was indeed a (partially) uniform source of value widely understood throughout the culture, and of such a kind that nearly any act might be judged against it, inspired by it.

Today the situation is different indeed. Who among us has not had the uneasy feeling that it is best not to assert one’s own feelings of value too strongly in public, except as personal expressions of individual taste or opinion? It is socially acceptable to state values publicly — but only so long as they are clearly presented as matters of opinion, hence as matters of private value? Few people today will dare to assert that some value they perceive is in any sense actually true.

[…] The great secret that contemporary architecture has no sound ethical basis, would be let out of the bag the moment serious debate about right and wrong, or good and bad in buildings, were to begin. So public discussion of the merits of buildings is kept to a minimum, in order to avoid revealing the arbitrary and private character of the discussion.

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