Sunday, January 11, 2009


Ever since the information technology (IT) industry adopted the word ‘architecture’—previously associated primarily with the design and construction of buildings—and used it to denote conceptual structures of computing systems’ various processing elements, the word seems to have become fair game for all other sectors of society.

An article in the Harvard International Review calls upon the future U.S. president, Barack Obama, to “organize an effective National Security Architecture.” In India, The Economic Times reports that the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, is working with other countries “to create a new financial architecture that will prevent future shocks to the global economy.” And the Air Force Times reports on something called a “nuclear inspection architecture.”

These are specious riffs on the broader definition of ‘architecture’ as any sort of design or structure, but even worse is a newer trend—primarily in the IT sector—to use ‘architect’ as a verb.

A recent IT job posting in British Columbia (no longer up) sought candidates with “the ability to architect and deploy solutions.” Mercury Computer Solutions promises to “work closely with customers to architect comprehensive, purpose-built solutions.” And InfoQueue recently reported on “Architecting for Green Computing.”

Such use is particularly obnoxious given that, in every case, a simple ‘design’ or ‘build’ would do the trick without any loss of context or meaning.


  1. I suppose we could blame The Matrix for this.

  2. At least that architect was a noun.