Dr Garry's Terrace: Ruminations


Garry's Bio

Hi. You have arrived here because you've searched for Dr Garry. There are a few Garry Stevens' in the Internet universe. But there is only one who is an architectural sociologist; family boardgame designer; teaching resource creator; and an Aussie, to boot.

Dr Garry is one of the few people in the world with advanced degrees in architecture, sociology, and information technology. Actually, Garry does not know of anyone else on the planet with degrees in all, but he is happy to assume that there is at least one more person similarly educated.

First off: I do not offer architectural services. Just had to say that, before the thought police descend on me. I have degrees in architecture, computer-aided design, philosophy and sociology; a mind-buggering 35 postnominal letters. Whoopy-do. True, they are all completely useless in my current worklife, but they were a lot of fun to get.

The first part of my career I spent as a hermetic academic in computer-aided architectural design. After a terrible disillusionment with both the discipline and its academic proponents, I found myself propelled into reality; that is, the private sector. Nice way to earn money, but there is little intellectual challenge. So I still keep my academic hand in with this website. I think the books I wrote were useful and interesting, but I'm most satisfied with my educational and family historical boardgames, and my historical and scientific teaching resource charts and timelines.

My first book was CADD Made Easy (McGraw-Hill, ), about computer-aided architectural design, done with Tony Radford, Professor of Architecture at the University of Adelaide. My second was a lot more fun both to write and to read, The Reasoning Architect (McGraw-Hill, ), about mathematics and science in architecture.

The book I am best known for is my last, the extremely controversial The Favored Circle (The MIT Press, 1998, 2002, , on the sociology of architects.) I won't be writing any more books.

I've been in the private sector since my old Faculty {School} decided it was better off without an internal critique. Anyone looking for an architectural sociologist, give me a call.

Older books

On the left you see the Italian edition of my first book, CADD Made Easy… I still haven't received any royalties from it, but that's the Italians for you!

The original English edition was the best-selling text of its kind. It introduced a generation of American architects and firms to computer-aided drafting. Sorry, computer-aided design. At least, at the time my co-author and I thought the 'D' in CAD stood for design. We were wrong.

On the right is the Korean edition of The Reasoning Architect, known to them as Kwa hak kwa su hak u ro bon gun kang ron. I had a lot of fun putting this one together.

CADD Made Easy
The Italian edition of CAD Made Easy.
Maths and Science in Design
The Korean edition of The Reasoning Architect.

My Place

I live here (green arrow) in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Annandale (or see here). It is the only planned suburb of the area, having been established as a Gentleman's suburb in the late 1800's.

Annandale, Sydney, Australia in 1896
Annandale, circa 1896. From J. Lawrence and C. Warne, Balmain to Glebe, Atrand Books (1995). Copyright as stated.
Garry's house
Aerial view of Garry's house.

Doesn't look very gentlemanly, does it? What the hell is that aqueduct in the foreground? In fact it was regarded as a minor miracle of engineering at the time: the first reinforced concrete structure in the burgeoning colony of New South Wales. It carries sewerage to the ocean. Ok, very prosaic, but what the hey: better than having it in your front yard. I've always regarded it as a classic exemplar of architectural (non)invention: forty years before Australian architects thought concrete a worthy material, their engineering cousins were embracing it.

A century later, Annandale is only a scant 3 km from the Sydney CBD, but more than 60 km from Sydney's periphery. In 1896 Annandale was Sydney's periphery. As you can see from the photo above, back then Annandale was a collection of randomly scattered houses in paddocks. The house-form you see (we call it a terrace) is clearly an English import, more suited to the London of Sherlock Holmes than an Antipodean colony with unlimited land.

Nowadays Sydney has the largest suburban area of any city in world: larger than Tokyo, Beijing, London or Rome; albeit with far fewer people (which is implied by the fact that we are talking suburban, not urban: Sydney sprawls like all get-out).

Garry's house
Garry's house from the street.

My house

Almost every building in the photo above is still there. My house was built sometime in the ten years following, making it about a century old. It may look a tiny thing, with its five metre frontage, but the house extends for 20 metres. I have eight rooms all to myself, giving me the largest room-to-person ratio of any one I've ever met.

My life as me

I prefer to be the only human living in my house (cute little place, isn't it?), and anyway I'm pretty difficult to live with (ask my previous partners). I look after my house better than I look after myself (I smoke, drink and eat meat. Yum yum).

I find exercise and all sports dead boring, but I like to walk the inner city, and I regard it as special bonus if I don't get mugged in the process.

I am not a social being: I'm not especially fond of people. This would be a huge irony given that I am an architectural sociologist, were it not so obvious an observation to make. I never married, can't abide children below the age of oh, say, 30; live with my two cats; am fairly neat and tidy; like lounge music (Esquivel is my current passion) and love to cook2. But I'm not gay!


I share the house with several other mammals: my twin sister resident cats, and an indeterminate number of guest star common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), who visit each night for apples, carrots, crackers, Danish and paté.

The twins All Sorts and Spoodle the cats
My two residents, the twins All Sorts and Spoodle.
Possum joins the cats for dinner
Itinerant guest mammal 1: Yet another possum joins the cats for dinner
Baby possum
Itinerant guest mammal 2: Baby Possum
Parent possum
Itinerant guest mammal 3: Parent Possum

In memoriam