Who gets to decide whether you can rebuild your own building?

Since you are the owner of the building, it probably crosses your mind first that it should be you  who gets to decide, because who else would have an interest in what your building looks like? Well, architects might.
According to the Copyright Law, architectural works are protected and considered the individual work of the architect, 17 U.S.C. 102(a)(8). This raises the question whether maybe the architect has a saying in your plans.

First of all, the Copyright Law does not protect every buildings design. Copyright protection is only valid for buildings which have been created after 1990, which are original, and were designed with creativity – containing something new or special, something out of the ordinary.  

If the building falls under the copyright protection, the architect has the exclusive right to reproduce or prepare another work with the same design. Nevertheless, an architect cannot object to the plans of the owner to make alterations or to even tear the building down,17 U.S.C.120. Concluding that, if not the architect has contracted for greater rights, it is finally the owner who gets to decide about what happens to the building in terms of alterations.
Things are a little different in Germany. Copyright Law protects architecture as long as it is a personal creation of the author and as long as it is an original design, which shows a new or unique way of esthetics. However, the protection itself is different.
An architect can in fact prevent their design from deformation if it would affect their intellectual or personal interests. This would be the case if the alteration changed the esthetic overall impression of the building. However, the right does not embrace the complete destruction of a building. Even so, coming down to esthetic interests you may not make changes on the building without approval of the architect. Otherwise, the architect may claim damages.
This clearly contradicts the interests of the owner who claims the right to alter their property to their ideas and needs. In terms of deciding which interest prevails, one will have to look at the intensity and permanence of the alterations.
Best regards
und viele Grüße aus Charlotte
Reinhard von Hennigs