How To: Architecture
D’Aviler seems to have written a book which taxonomizes all the existing examples of right and beautiful architecture, according to him. He illustrates the classical elements of ancient architecture like the five orders, columns, architraves, balustrades, bases etc. in their original form, but then also presents a broad collection of contemporary and more playful versions of those antique features. He emphasizes on the variety, that can be achieved with creativity and not sticking too much to the old rules. “Even though I discussed the ordinary columns, as we know them previously in this book, I still want to show some contemporary and more unusual interpretations of this fundamental ornament in architecture. I want to visualize to which extent they can vary, in order to serve as an inspiration to those, who bear enough genius to produce something new and reasonable within this subject.” (d’Aviler, Augustin: Cours d’Architecture. Paris 1691. p. 342, transl. by Luisa Locher)
His taxonomy unfolds in a meticulous way, with drawings ranging from scaffoldings of cupolas, treatments of the facades to paintings on interior walls. The folded and glued-in leaflets enable d’Aviler to sum up even more examples of column orders, plasterings, entrance situations and so on.
Furthermore, d’Aviler seems to be cunning in all aspects of architecture: he discusses decorative features as well as technical ones, like the already mentioned scaffoldings. In other words, he analyses exterior architecture as well as interior design. For illustrating interior features he prefers side or front views, whereas for technical issues he uses mostly floor plans or sections.
Due to this variety, the book must have not only been interesting to specialists of the time but also clients, who had not yet made their mind up on what exactly they want and therefore needed professional advice.
The book can thus be seen as a kind of dictionary of the important elements in architecture. It was made to consult anyone who’s in need of advice concerning architectural affairs. Carpenters, masons, builder-owner, architects, engineers, whoever comes in touch with architecture can learn from d’Aviler.
taxonomy, variety, advisory