How can we assess and criticise the architectural identity?
Architectural identity is , simply, the architecture that represents the way of life "culture", tradition, political and socio-economic conditions of a region. However, to assess or to criticise the identity of a specific architecture you need to detect the above elements that represents the spirit of this region. This, in fact, is the opposite of "Universality" where one can not find identity for its architecture because it does not represent a specific culture. This issue is very important since the early 1970 and the appearance of movements such as regionalism and tendencies such as neo-vernacularism was mainly to drew attention to the importance of architectural identity.
but then, when the word 'region' is used...how far are we right in defining a region by conventional methods in this age of rapid globalization? by what is the 'region' contained...culture? tradition? land mass? climate? .... actually it is infinitely possible to define regions on this planet....and so identity sometimes can change...though there may have been certain constant 'ethos' belonging to a specific region...but chances are that they also change or get transformed...which then becomes visible in architecture too...so architecture shouldn't be looked at as a mirror of transformations taking place in the society...rather, architecture must be taken as something that can never be constant...so archtitectural identity may change over a period of time.
That is interesting to discuss architecture beyond region or something. I think identity of architecture is always the uniqueness of an architectural works. If we can detect the main factor or hidden idea that generate an architectural work, we can explain the uniqueness of it. Architecture can follows culture, fiasco, politics, poetry, fantasy, money, fun, or anything. So we only see the uniqueness by looking at the relation with something behind it.