The Cart Before the Horse
“Everybody, in my view, puts the cart before the horse. It is identifying the problem first which is the job of the architect, and then how well he solves those problems. People talk infernally about style, which I regard as total nonsense, to be quiet frank about it. Society, in general, establishes what the problem is, not the architect. Then it’s up to the architect to solve that. The great problem in the United States is that we still haven’t learned how to build cities, or make peace with urbanism on any level. That’s a tragedy because there is something very deep within people that want to make comprehensible, understandable environments. We don’t do that, so this talk about style is pure nonsense in my view. One has to understand and think about what needs to be done. And that is very much, then, up to the architect to solve problems. There is a group of architects and architectural theorists who dwell on issues which have nothing to do with anything, and I think that’s a tragedy since there are many issues and problems which need architectural attention and are totally ignored. It’s putting the cart before the horse. In that sense, architects are very much servants of society, not the other way around.”
Kaplan, Michael. "Interview with Paul Rudolph." University of Tennessee Journal of Architecture 16 (1995): p. 1.