Colin Rowe uses a technique of comparative analysis in order to come to some conclusion about Mannerism and Modern Architecture.
The parallels seen between Modernism and Mannerism are only valid if Architecture is seen as contrivance and a series of devices.
For example, the presence of elements of a different scale in immediate juxtaposition in Modern and Mannerist architecture lead to the conclusion that both architectural movements, Mannerism and Modern, had a commonality.
Mannerism suffered from drawing our attention to individual elements; an absence of a holistic approach.
This focusing on individual elements is a result of self-centred and cosmos-ignored manner of looking. Only if the individual sees meaning can such a focus on elements and devices be acceptable.
Colin Rowe and the importance he places on Mannerism throughout the essay suggests that he sees meaning as existing solely within the individual.
Mannerist architecture as well as Post-modern architecture sees a problem with function and reacts by employing contradictory devices; columns that do not support, stairs that are impossible to climb.
Function understood in a meaningful way is not seen as a device, nor a contrivance. Function cannot be understood as a purpose arbitrarily applied. Function cannot be divorced from the object as a whole. Outward appearances should resemble inner purposes, and function cannot be divorced from aesthetics.