Ruskin deemed a building excellent only if it conveyed to the user/viewer a forthright statement of how it was put together. It did not have to display every aspect of structure necessary to assure stability, but it could not appear to be constructed in one way and actually be assembled in another. The essential point was that structure should never dissemble and only conditionally conceal, as in the case of rafters and purlins in a loft, the presence of which can be taken for granted under the sloping planes of a pitched roof. Hence the Gothic cathedral, clearly revealing how it was assembled, was a paradigm of architectural virtue. The impact of this message was to create a sense of moral obligation among architects to make structure explicit and manifest. No particular structural scheme was described and no specific type was recommended. Indeed, from the outset, such theoretical considerations of structure were couched only in terms of principle, so there was never a design imperative regarding structural composition.

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