ABSTRACT

Architects walk in the city carrying their aesthetic responses and their compositional skills. They mentally draw compositional adjustments to the buildings they observe, adding or subtracting parts, elaborating or simplifying other parts. They also mentally erase the buildings of which they disapprove, and mentally replace them by others that they consider more appropriate. Architects judge buildings, as well as the minds that produced them. They judge the qualities of form and the qualities of the thought behind the form. They judge architectural composition, its appropriateness to an end, and the reasons for which an architect decided to adopt one form versus another. Their training and their practice make them acutely aware of the dierences between the many possibilities of making architectural forms and the various trials and tribulations encountered when realizing these forms. It is precisely from evaluating the dierence between levels of formal potentiality on the one hand, and the conditions of material realization on the other, that much of architectural judgment arises. Architectural judgment generally involves the judicious and evaluative assessment according to which buildings are justied and acclaimed, or repudiated and condemned. Ideally, this evaluation operates on the basis of declared criteria regarding the nature, the ends, and the means of architecture within the context of realization, that context being the city or the countryside. Architectural judgment also concerns more than the spectrum of evaluations and criticisms used by architects as they undertake their assessments. Judgment is part of how architecture is taught, learned, and then practiced; how architectural history and theory inuence the teaching and the learning; how forms are selected for the purpose of architectural composition; how composition serves architectural character; how social meanings are associated with or projected onto architectural character; how personal taste relates to architectural norms;

or how multiple architectural images animate the architect’s psychology. As all of these factors enter into architectural judgment, it is useful to discuss the kinds of judgment architects employ.