Introduction for Associate Professor Gevork Hartoonian

Gevork is currently Associate Professor in
Architecture and Interior Design at the
University of Canberra.
He is the author of numerous publications.
His books include
Ontology of Construction: on Nihilism of
Technology in Theories of Modern
Modernity and its Other: A Post-script to
Contemporary Architecture,
and his most recent, that he will be
discussing tonight, Crisis of the Object:
the Architecture of the Theatrical.
Gevork earned his Ph.D. in architecture from
the University of Pennsylvania, and
subsequently taught at Columbia University.
As many of you will be aware, before moving
to Canberra he was a fellow member of staff
here at our own faculty of Architecture.
In spirit, I feel Gevork has never left
Sydney. He still favours the
cosmopolitanism of this city as his
domicile. And he continues to be a familiar
face around our university. He is a very
active member of the editorial board of our
own Journal, the Architectural Theory
Review, and continues to nurse editions of
the Journal into print.
What has always impressed my about Gevork is
his energy and dedication to the cause of
Reading his latest book was a revelation for
The Architecture Faculty at the university
of Sydney has for a long time prided itself
in its stance on various ethical dimensions
related to architecture, particularly
environmental sustainability and social
But only when I read Gevork’s book did I
full understand the possibility of there
being an ethical position in relation to the
core of architecture itself, architecture’s
interiority, as Gevork might say.
In Gevork’s hands the tectonics of
architecture, the poetic relation between
envelope and structure, become a site for
ethical, rather than simply formal, debate.
I only want to say two further things about
the book, as its content is the subject of
Gevork’s talk.
The first is the density and scholarship of
the writing. Every sentence seems pregnant
with often numerous connections to
architecture’s own rich history and theory.
The second thing, and perhaps I noticed this
because it is lacking in my own writing, is
the subtlety of the argument Gevork
presents. Even though he might see the
tectonic approach to architecture as having
greater ethical or critical potential than
the digitally generated architecture that
cares only for the spectacle of its own
surface, the argument Gevork pursues is
never so black and white.
Suspect architects, such as Gehry (and
perhaps even Lynn) are treated in such a
nuanced way that they too are shown to have
glimpses of potential for redeeming
architecture from its present crisis.
If my plugs have been too subtle so far: go
out and buy the book!
Please join me in welcoming Gevork.