I'm not exactly sure how "any definition of place is going to be arbitrary."
There is a somewhat unquestioned methodology to architectural history, which categorizes types of architectures by period (time) and location (place). And this is mostly a Western European standard. Yet architectural history is rarely written where it demonstrates how types of architectures actually overlap when architecture is culled from all over the globe at any given time.
If you're not arbitary about place and simply say the globe, and then look to see what types of architecture were being done (on the globe) at any given time, you'll see just how diverse architecture always was. Interestingly, this is how we judge the present (and conclude that standards are fractured), but it's not how the past is/has been judged.
I agree that architecture for the most part is arbitrary in the sense that most architecture reflects a set of specific decisions (arbitration), but only a small percentage of architecture is outright whimsical. Personally, it's refreshing to see just how diverse architecture has always been.
Otherwise, the real modus operandi of aesthetics is "what is the cash value?"
That is assuming the art by Bosch (suggested above) is always appealing. I find the image intersting, but not necessarily appealing.
The fractured standard is just that, fractured. There is no universal, and indeed there never really was. Just look at what was going on (somewhat globally) in the early 1730s. There is no real universal standard, rather standards were then (and still are?) relative to place.
I like the aesthetics of Ottopian symmetry.
Ichnographia Ottopia Revisited
OMA/Reinier de Graaf Jaspers-Eyers Architects Assar Architects NMBS New Headquarters Brussels