From a populist economic point of view, one in which architecture is a service we might provide to the greatest number of people for the lowest cost, the impulse to design totalizing systems which avoid such contradictions by prefiguring space to a certain degree is an understandably persistent one. The attempts at this kind of total design which my research covered often spill over disciplinary boundaries into related fields—structural engineering, materials science, industrial production—and are united in their view that the architect, a generalist by definition, is uniquely qualified to hold an expansive authority over all of building production, and a responsibility to organize that production in relation to the pressing economic, social, and technical issues of the day.

They also index the attitudes of architects vis-a-vis building labor: on the one hand, it is either idealized as a form of play, in which the architect has designed a system flexible enough to accomodate the whims of any able-bodied occupant; and on the other, it is an economic variable in which time, energy, and even human involvement represent inefficiencies to be overcome through system design. I have many reasons to critique such projects, but my foremost critiques come from, first, a skepticism towards technologically deterministic, realpolitik problem-solving (like fully automated fabrication and assembly) in which architectural design is imagined to allow communities to sidestep meaningful political decisionmaking regarding equity and justice; and second, a genuine interest in and wonder at the richness of the as-found conditions architecture inherits from the local, regional, and national variability of its constituent parts. An architecture which, through a thoroughgoing partwise rationalization, achieved the impossible goal of saving the world from itself would also necessarily negate the stakes upon which architecture’s contingent drama of compromise unfolds. In terms of the parts from which buildings are made, future codes of assembly will likely continue to attempt to erode what precious little material variability capitalism has allowed buildings to retain.  

— Mark Bavoso, 2021