Short answer: The trusted, the elected, and those with the money. Long answer: It would be nice to answer that we all do, but it’s really not that simple. In many contexts, there is someone who finally decides. Municipalities have antiquarians and architects who draw up the outlines for what deserves to be preserved and what can be permitted for construction. Despite their learned expertise, these two groups often come into conflict with each other. The antiquarians defend the tracks of history, while the architects want to make new tracks. Hopefully, both are acting in the public interest, but the architect’s reasoning is always more abstract. The challenge of coming to an agreement about what is architecture cannot compare to the question of what can become architecture. That is the core of the architect’s expertise.
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