Concept: Architectural Education
- Acquired expertise
- Critical approach
The Book “Temples anciens et modernes ou observations historiques et critiques sur les plus célèbres monuments d’architecture greque et gothique” was authored by Louis Avril in 1774.
Louis Avril, born 1722 in France, was a scientist and a professor of rhetoric. He was a Jesuit and spend some years in Rome, before returning to France after 1741.
Louis Avril’s book is about temples from the modern and ancient times. It was very important to him, that he did not repeat the knowledge of others but to pass on his own discoveries and observations on something new and not yet known. That’s why he did not focus on the details of temples and trivial information already published in other books.
The book’s structure is not easy to understand. The first part of the book is a in-depth introduction of temples in general. In that part, there is only text and no illustrations. The main part of the book starts around the page 60. Since he helped with a reconstruction of the Pantheon, he has a lot of expertise about this building and therefore describes the Pantheon emphasizing a lot of details. He also includes illustrations and very detailed drawings to visualize his findings and discoveries. At the end of the book Louis Avril focusses on temples of Christianity and Gothic temples including examples of those two kinds.
I chose the concept “Architectural Education” because it was very important to Louis Avril to teach both, beginners of architecture and those who were already familiar in this field. It’s not easy to write a book that is interesting and challenging for both kinds of readers.To achieve the perfect mix he added footnotes at the bottom of the pages. In these he referred to other books that describe the subject in more detail and have good illustrations. He also used the footer to add his own commentary. Amateurs can use these footers if they need additional information and experts find further material and elaborated opinions of other professionals on the subject. The book is aimed exclusively and explicitly at a male readership, which is not surprising considering that it was written in the 18th century.