Behind the very pompous title of “Book of Extraordinary Architecture”, there is in fact a book of references on how to design doors in a rustic or delicate way at that time.
The book is in two parts. The first part contains a short description and explanation of each door and refers to a drawing in the second part, which contains drawings of each door. The fact that the doors have been numbered and catalogued makes it easier for anyone who wants to build one.
Anyone can simply pick a door they like from the book and apply it to their construction. The fact of having separated the text from the drawings reinforces for me this concept of simplification based solely on the design. The drawing alone can please and then you can read what it corresponds to, what it connotes.
For me, this way of presenting different references reminds me of Instagram. Yes, the comparison may seem outdated, but the fact that I had to scroll through the drawings and stop on the ones I liked is very similar to the way I use this social network. Of course, this is also due to the fact that I couldn’t browse the pages with the book but just on a PDF.
The other point that refers to this term of simplification is the fact that each door is only represented orthography. There are no plans, no sections. This demonstrates the author’s intention in his quest for simplification. The choice of one of these drawings is therefore based solely on a quick graphic feeling.
The layout also reinforces this idea of a reference catalogue. A single drawing is shown on two pages. It is therefore difficult to compare them directly.
With the advent of printing, the publication of architectural references changed the way a building was designed. It also strongly influenced other architectural traditions in the North that previously did not have as many references available. Other dispositions and elements have been discovered through this book. If you think about it, you could compare this book to a website of architectural references such as Archidaily or DETAIL or any other website or magazine.
Architects draw on all these data, combine them and try to find the examples that they feel are most favourable for their project. This brings us back to the question that was already asked during the Renaissance but with other kinds of references: what is a good example?
Keywords: simplification, example, choice.