Shinckel on architectural strategies

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A web page discussing the career of Karl Friedrich Schinkel

It became particularly clear to me that the source of the lack of character and style from which so many new buildings seem to suffer is to be found in such arbitrariness in the use [of past forms]. It became a lifetime's task for me to gain clarity on this issue. But the more deeply I penetrated into the matter, the greater the difficulties that stood in the way of my efforts. Very soon I fell into the error of pure arbitrary abstraction, and developed the entire conception of a particular work exclusively from its most immediate trivial function and from its construction. This gave rise to something dry and rigid, and lacking in freedom, that entirely excluded two essential elements: the historical and the poetical. I pursued my researches further, but very soon found myself trapped in a great labyrinth. Potts 1991, 47-8, quoting K.F. Schinkel, around 1820