Critics never marvel; they look, analyze, and classify. As Samir Younés explains, there are three types of criteria for making architectural judgments. Intrinsic criteria are directly related to ‘architectural theory’, while external ones involve a conception of the world – of culture, society, politics, or history. Psychological criteria are on another plane, so intersect with the other two.
The first part of the volume, about external criteria, maintains that there are multiple areas of external knowledge from which to make a judgment: philosophical, religious, social, political. Each one provides a particular dimension to an understanding of the work in question, no one of them having more influence than the rest. So how do we connect architecture to these external dimensions? The author’s proposition is bold and brilliant: if architecture is capable of expressing certain external contents, it does so through its ‘character’.
As for the second part of the book, it explains the meaning and genealogy of concepts belonging to ‘architectural theory’, such as type, character, form, imitation, or invention.
The author defends the idea that today’s imperfect city is due to a lack of sense-in-common that in turn comes from ill-understood pluralism.
This work is definitely a worthy attempt to establish basic measures against the deliquescent current scene. It helps to remember that there can be no criticism without objective criteria, and these are precisely what Samir Younés tries to throw light on.