University: Home of the Moronic Legislators

I just talked to someone who works in the University's Centre for Writers, and the topic of citation came up.
Apparently, one instructor went so far as to ask students to cite a work of architecture they were looking at.
Is it just me, or is this a sign that instructors have have completely failed to understand citation format?

The MLA style guide is about bibliography: you're telling people how to track your work back to an original text—anyone reading your work should be able to find the exact words you're citing and verify that what you're saying is correct. When you're talking about a building, do you need to "cite" the location of window arches? That seems to be totally missing the point. The location of the building should be made obvious in the body of the text, not in a "list of works cited."
Then again, I can see the other side: MLA style treats everything in the essay as "text," and converts the piece of architecture from a physical object into a "textual object."As such, the building is easily cited in a bibliography; street address, architectural firm and date of construction adapted to the conventional [city: publisher, date] format.

My question for this process is "why??" What is served by changing the building into a text? As far as I can tell, the function is strictly bureaucratic: "that's how we write essays," they'll say, "and that's how we'll teach writing. The power of the MLA Style Guide COMPELS YOU!"

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