"A city hall is an explicit statement about the reverence for the past, the ambitions and pretensions of the present, and a beacon for the future. The city hall tells us where the historical core of the metropolis lies. Location, height, arrangement of interior space and exterior ornamentation -- all these elements point to the inner and outer symbolism of the city as it moves through time. A city hall is the formal announcement of the soul of the metropolis."
-- Arthur Chandler
“The form of every city hall expresses the dominant local ideas of civic power and authority at the time it was built. All that is outside, also is inside [Was innen ist, ist außen], as Goethe observed of all forms.”
— Bayard Coll
"Art was not morally neutral but worked in the service of virtue… Ornament was not crime, but the addition of beauty and instruction to the satisfaction of material needs. Art began precisely where utility broke off. Form was not to follow function, but to transcend it. Any evidence of restraint, understatement, or, worst of all, parsimony, will subvert its intention."
— Donald Olsen, The City as a Work of Art
"Not utility, but cultural self-projection"
— Carl Schorske, Fin-de-Siècle Vienna
"The chief function of the city is to convert power into form, energy into culture, dead matter into the living symbols of art, biological reproduction into social creativity." -- Lewis Mumford, The City in History