Thursday, 5 July 2012



Further to the piece, WHO OR WHAT IS AN ARCHITECT? - see - this headline of an article in The Australian is offered as an example of how the use of the word 'architect' has changed - see above.

While we might like to consider it to be otherwise, language is always changing, changing meanings and references over time, almost playfully. This circumstance does highlight the dilemma of the Board of Architects that takes on the role of managing the use of the word 'architect.' It leaves one wondering if the 'architect of media' has to accumulate the required Compulsory Professional Development points that a traditional architect is now obliged to record. Perhaps the solution is to create a new type of architect - the 'architect of' - that is exempt from all Board requirements: or maybe the Board has outgrown its usefulness?

8 JULY 2014
See also:

25 MARCH 2017

Under the headline,
Republican repeal of Obamacare fails as healthcare bill pulled from House vote, the text reads:
Conservatives also objected to the legislation for keeping too much of the architecture of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), frequently referred to as Obamacare.

Is the understanding of 'architecture' demeaned, confused, by the use of the word in the context above? The sense, if any, in the use of the word in this manner seems to come from the interpretation, the transformation of metaphor into fact. It is similar to the situation in Murcutt's mosque where he sought to make the goings-on within the mosque 'more transparent,’ so the naive, almost too obvious solution was to design a glass wall on the street-side of the prayer hall: see -

It is the same idea as the Forum Area in the Abedian School of Architecture at Bond University that seemed to want to be ‘open’ to ideas and opportunities, an ‘avant-garde’ educational learning place, so it was made a part of an open space leading off from the entry foyer and into three levels of studio spaces, with full height glass walls framing vistas of the adjacent road and circulation areas: see -

Both examples appear to negate the very intention that generated the idea for the solution; both approaches have transferred a notional concept, an idea, into a physical reality, as if the descriptive words held sense, relevance, and meaning in the intention as well as the solution. Experience is more complex and subtle than this blatant approach to language.

In the article on the pulling of Trump’s healthcare bill, ‘architecture’ seems to be used in the association that sees such legal items being ‘designed,’ ‘structured,’ ‘developed,’and ‘built’ - all phrases that can also relate to architecture. Is this why the word ‘architecture’ finds its way into this text, almost as a summary of these collected items? Is it taking the same silly, simplistic path as the mosque and the school designs have? 'Build,' for example, can be an idea as well as a physical act that has nothing to do with architecture. What other relation can there be in this bill and its so-called 'architecture' beyond some broad sense of preconceived, organisational management of the document, which is what architects do when they design and construct?

There also seems to be something prestigious, ‘creatively’ different, 'slick and smart,' 'bespoke,' in the use of this word, in the same manner as ‘segue’ has been adopted today : see – JARGON in sidebar. One thing is certain: the use of the word ‘architecture’ in this way will not only confuse visions of matters architectural, but it will also reinforce every cliché anybody might have on what ‘architecture’ is or might be. The association is certainly not helpful, as here it links architecture with failure, a notion that lingers in the broad, fuzzy idea of dilettantes indulging personal ideas and design ambitions while playing carelessly with other people’s time and money.

Language and its usage is a difficult matter to control. Perhaps, in this usage, it embodies an expression of the understanding of a culture that appears to place architects and their efforts at the bottom of the heap, dismissively transferring any relevance and sense that the word might hold into describing other concerns, anything but architecture.

16 MARCH 2019
The article is titled:
Celebrity parents and the bizarre 'cheating' scandal
A whole section has been given over to:

The architect
Rick Singer, a Californian life coach in his late 50s, presented himself as an expert in the university admissions process.
The individual who has admitted manipulating admissions has been labelled 'the architect' of the scheme. Littler wonder that architects are dismissed as irrelevant when they are promoted as being anything - anything but an 'architect.'

 19 MARCH 2019
It just does not stop: see -
The small-town doctor taking on the billionaire family blamed for America’s opioid crisis
If it can be proved individual Sacklers were the architects, he wants them jailed.

The concern is that no only does the use of the word architect in this way manage to confuse general perceptions, but its repeated association with negative issues might only colour this muddle further in a way that is not helpful for any profession, especially one that is seen to be elitist and self-serving.

28 MARCH 2019

 On ABC RN, 27 March 2019, at 8:38am – Pat Turner, talking on the aboriginal representation in ‘Close the Gap’ meetings where strategies were to be discussed with other members, spoke of the situation where there might be some disagreement, a difference in opinion. The response spoke of “the architecture, not the detail.”
The “not the detail” qualification gives some definition to the understanding of how architecture is generally perceived – as a broad, overall structure, certainly not the detail, as if there might be a difference. The sense in the use of the word seems to suggest an understanding of a general, comprehensive schematic organisation, its arrangement; the ‘big’ picture as it were, rather than the intimate pieces that hold the substance – “the detail.”
Does this say something about the general understanding of architecture – perhaps seen as a broad, superimposed aesthetic applied to an aggregation of small things, the real issues? Is architecture seen as a diagrammatic, emotional matter, not the facts or reality, layered onto life and its living? Does this structural idea define architecture’s irrelevance, with the perception of architecture being ‘an unnecessary extra’ - an aesthetic, something merely artistically creative? Life and its living can apparently continue quite satisfactorily without ‘architecture’ and its ‘organisation’ : or is it that anyone can organise things, making architects’ claims to this professional skills, a nonsense??

The concern is that, given this usage of the word ‘architecture’ in popular, everyday language, in this context, how can perceptions ever be changed? The Board of Architects of Queensland can work as hard as it likes to control the use of the classification ‘architect’ in order to ‘protect the public,’ but when ordinary language takes control, the meaning of ‘architect’ and ‘architecture’ can be turned to anything, as it is, leaving architects and architecture mired in a confusing mess of references that is impossible to discard, to isolate. Indeed, the effort to segregate meaning is seen only as a confirmation of the elitist role given to architects and architecture by the general, everyday use of the words, willy-nilly, leaving everything in an abstracted spin.

29 MARCH 2019
It simply never stops; and it seems to be coming more frequent. The use of the word 'architect' in any context but architecture, is now heard nearly every day. On ABCTV, on The Drum today, we are told about "The architect of the living wage." It seems that there is no hope that this muddling will ever change when grammatical and other basic errors have become embedded everyday speech all without complaint. In the same way, and for the same reason, there appears to be little hope that architects can do anything about the manner in which society views them. Language, in what seems to be a naive attempt by some to sound meaningfully classy and academically intelligent, burdens our profession with innuendo with strange and varied references and associations in the way it chooses to use 'architect' and 'architecture.' Language is not becoming more expressive; it is being dumbed down with carelessness.

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