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The following appeared as part of an article in a popular arts and leisure
“The safety codes governing the construction of public buildings are becoming far
too strict. The surest way for architects and builders to prove that they have met the
minimum requirements established by these codes is to construct buildings by
using the same materials and methods that are currently allowed. But doing so
means that there will be very little significant technological innovation within the
industry, and hence little evolution of architectural styles and design—merely
because of the strictness of these safety codes.”
Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
The conclusion of this argument is that technological innovation as well as the evolution of architectural styles and design will be
minimized in the future. The author’s line of reasoning is that the imposition of strict safety codes on public buildings inhibits the
evolution of architectural styles and design, because they discourage technological innovation within the building industry. Furthermore,
the strictness of the codes governing public buildings discourages technological innovation because the surest way for architects and
builders to pass the codes is to construct buildings that use the same materials and methods that are currently allowed. This argument
is unconvincing for two reasons.
In the first place, the author’s conclusion goes beyond the evidence presented. The evidence cited pertains only to the construction of
public buildings, yet the author draws a conclusion about the building industry as a whole. Technological innovation and architectural
experimentation in style and design in the construction of private buildings is not precluded by the reasons cited. Consequently, in the
absence of evidence that similar problems beset the construction of privately owned buildings, the author’s conclusion is not warranted.
In the second place, it is not evident that the strict safety codes governing public buildings will have the effects predicted by the author.
Architectural styles and design are not dictated solely by the materials or the methods employed in construction. Consequently, it is
premature to conclude that little evolution in style and design will occur because the materials and methods will likely remain the same.
Moreover, technological innovation is not restricted to the use of new materials and methods. Significant technological innovation can be
achieved by applying existing methods to new situations and by finding new uses for familiar materials.
In conclusion, the author has failed to make the case for the claim that technological innovation as well as the evolution of architectural
styles and design will be minimized in the future. To strengthen the argument the author would have to show that similar safety code
restrictions impede the evolution of the design and the innovation of new technologies in the construction of private buildings. Additionally,
the author must show that materials and methods are the prime determinants of architectural style and design.