Architectural projects are not machines à habiter, as Le Corbusier proposed, but machines à comprendre, devices constructed by architects but expediently operated by anybody who decides to ponder the human condition by means of this strange activity we call architecture. Thanks to theory, projects, buildings and designs become a grindstone to sharpen ideas. These ideas, convictions and interpretations deal, for example, with the weight of history and the possibility of progress, with the distribution of power, with the entanglements of dwelling, with the evolution of society, and with the revelation of the goals we would like to achieve.
It is not possible to separate architectural theory from criticism and history. This does not imply that theory, criticism and history are interchangeable, nor that they don’t strive for an independent form. But ideas are never independent of historical change: architects and theorists are shaped by the times in which they live and work. A theory cannot be understood without its historical context. At the same time, theory always involves criticism, in the sense that objective or scientific truth is not the real goal of theory or architecture. Building and designing always involves personal and cultural choices. It is the task of theory to put these choices into words, and to show architects and human beings in general, the alternatives they can choose from.