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I don't think people "worry" about categories, but they are how the human mind organizes information as all of life is post hoc (as you say). It would be impractical not to use categories, or in this case stylistic labels unless we go about describing every detail.

As for review panels, public opinion is actually what you're looking for. Most people's opinion here seems to favor the BF Saul building over the Cafritz building. Modernists might not agree, but it's understood they operate within a narrow stylistic (I mean formal language) spectrum, therefore the review panel might ask for a little more than the placement of a building, which can be handled with zoning regulations.

A design review won't necessarily get caught up in what style a building is but rather the quality of it's composition and wether it adds or detracts from the character of the street and the neighborhood. It won't always work perfectly, but if it keeps upper Connecticut Avenue from becoming another glass canyon like K street or Crystal city, then I'm all for it. Until architects learn some manners, their egocentrism should be balanced with the public's desire for good urbanism, whether you like "sludge or doom" architecture.

by Thayer-d on Feb 27, 2013 8:36 am • linkreport

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