Friends with an Old Book is an online platform gathering research on a collection of around 300 books on architecture published between 1500 and 1800. Throughout the year, students examine the content, material character, design and composition, author, legacy and purpose of an assigned book among this selection. The outcome of this research is uploaded on this blog as a repository of tagged entries, building an online library of studies on premodern architecture books.
Through several tasks assigned during the two semesters, students investigate the ways in which early modern architectural practice was conceived and transferred on printed media, as well as the strategies adopted in designing, composing and producing it. Friends with an Old Book also introduces students to the archive and library systems in Zurich, providing first-hand experience of handling and researching a book’s material character, context and historiography.
Friends with an Old Book is developed by Gregorio Astengo and the Chair Maarten Delbeke at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, ETH Zurich. The project is part of the first-year course ‘Fundamentals of the History and Theory of Architecture’. The component Synthetic Friendships is a collaboration with Miro Roman and Digital Architectonics, ITA, Prof. Dr. Ludger Hovestadt.