Architectural Blatherations


top rule


Who the hell is Dr Garry?

He's Garry Stevens, PhD. In the 1980s and 1990s Garry was an architectural academic in Australia and the United States. During those years he wrote three important books on computers in architecture, mathematics and sociology; translated into several languages. Since he joined the private sector (the IT industry, to be precise) he has continued to conduct sociological research, rather in the way that scholars did last century.

Does Architectural Blatherations provide architectural services?

No. Architectural Blatherations is in the business of studying architects, not practising architecture.

What is architectural sociology?

This is the sociological study of the field of architecture. By field we mean the whole social universe in which architects live and work. Apart from architects it includes all the other occupations they interact with, as well as critics, historians and educators. The sorts of questions posed are: What are the social functions of the architect? What are the social functions of building design? What sort of person becomes an architect? What is happening to the occupation? How does its education system work? Are there any patterns in architectural history that illuminate the occupation's social role?

What is Architectural Blatherations?

Well, really, its just Dr Garry , but he likes to refer to himself in the plural and the third person. He's that sort of guy.

Architectural Blatherations gives Garry a way to brand this research. He thinks its also a way to show that you can conduct scholarship and research without fat grants from Australian taxpayers.

The site is also dedicated to a satirical and light-hearted take on architectural sociology. The material presented on this site will vary from the deadly serious to the polemical and satirical, and sometimes the downright catty!

As this site develops, it will be placing its research results here.

Is Dr Garry an architect?

Dr Garry is not registered as an architect in any jurisdiction, although he does have a bachelors and a PhD in architecture. You can find his qualifications here. He earns his living in the IT industry.

So you're not an architect. What right have you to talk about architects?

Keeping out of the occupation lets us see the forest for the trees. Both professionals, academics and students alike have a self-centred and myopic vision of themselves and architecture's place in the world. Dr Garry spends a lot more time in the outside world than they do, and has the sociological tools to analyse their situation.

How do I distinguish the serious stuff from the satirical?

They are one and the same. All satire has an element of truth, otherwise it wouldn't be satirical. And sociology is a windy discipline that could do with some lightening up.

How do I know you're not just another Web nutcase?

Because we have published material that other people – eminent people who are not related to us, even – have said is valuable and interesting. Check out Garry's list of books, all published by established American publishers: McGraw-Hill, the MIT Press. We're not talking lightweights here, guys! You could always buy a copy of his book The Favored Circle to find out more.

Where is Architectural Blatherations located?

In cyberspace. If you want to be pedantic, the page you are viewing is located on a computer somewhere in the United States. Could be Kashmir, who knows.

Why is the spelling funny?

Because we're Australian, and that's how we do things.

How objective is the research of Architectural Blatherations?

A fundamental principle of our brand of sociology (called structural constructivism, if you really want to know) is that there is no such thing as an objective social researcher. To pretend otherwise is arrogant. How can you possibly be objective about the social world you are embedded in? So: no, of course this site is not objective. We're so biased, even we offend ourselves!

Why is so much stuff here critical of the architectural profession?

We admit that quite a bit of our research has had architects gagging over their cornflakes. However, we think that architects are a particularly sensitive and self-righteous lot, who aren't used to anyone casting a critical eye over how they work. They could do with some serious examination of their role in society: one that does not take their own assessment of their importance at face value. The Centre does not apologise for this attitude. No, indeedy!

Is Architectural Blatherations associated with a university or government body?

Good heavens, no. That would compromise our independence.

Is Architectural Blatherationsassociated with the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA)?

No. They won't even return our calls. We do, however, get on very well with the Building Designers Association of Australia. We don't take any money from them, though.

How is Architectural Blatherations funded?

Although they don't know it, this site is privately funded indirectly by our employers; and by Garry's royalties. We also launder money for one of the more powerful families in the Albanian mafia. (We have bags of Albanian currency up in our attic. Since the current exchange rate is about one kilo for a eurocent, it hasn't proved very lucrative, so far).

What is the significance of this independence from funding?

It means that we are not paid to have the opinions that we do on these matters. We can speak without fear or favour on matters sociological, which, of course, is about everything. On the other hand, you won't hear a single bad word here about our employer in the computer world or about people with surnames like Hoxha.

Where's the rest of your stuff?

Right here.