Critical Theory


My contention is that different forms of architecture are properly evaluated in the same manner in which we would evaluate any language game with its own aims and internal logic. The three types of valid criticism of language games we have identified, therefore, also apply to the criticism of works of architecture. First, we can criticize a building according to those criteria of evaluation established internally to the form of architecture adopted. Secondly, we can criticize the approach itself by applying external rules and criteria drawn from various other sources. Or thirdly, we can adopt the method of criticism by analogy, applying the specific rules and criteria belonging to another, equally distinctive form...When we compare one building with another, we compare distinct languages, each with its own rules and internal logic, each offering a quite different interpretation of reality. We do not just compare building with building, but ideas with ideas, and values with values.

From: 'The language analogy in architectural theory and criticism: some remarks in the light of Wittgenstein's linguistic relativism'. Architectural Association Quarterly, December 1979, pp. 44-45.