Structure – Guide – Foldout
V Columnae by Hans Blum, printed in 1596 in Zurich, is originated as a translation of Italian treatises from around half of the 16. Century by Serlio and Vignola, which define the new design system of the five orders visually, with its proportions, and offer ways to use them. There was an effort to spread this new system geographically and temporally. Through the print this process accelerates and reaches quite quickly north of the alps. The book V Columnae is thus dedicated to the description and the application in architecture of the five orders, more specific of the columns. Blum presents the columns in a very systematic way, as the book is divided in different categories shown for every order. He starts with an overall view of each column, the second part follows with details of the columns and in a last part there are examples of application for the different orders on building facades. In that sense the book has a clear structure. In the first part of the preface Blum writes its dedication to some noble personality, including an illustration of it, I think as a protection of the work. I find interesting how the author in the last part, which seems to be an additional part of the book, separated by a cartouche with grotesque motifs, chose to show examples of applications of the orders on non-existing buildings. it seems to me that he wanted to point the interest on the columns respectively the orders rather than real buildings; doing so the protagonists in those illustrations are the columns and not the constructs. The presentation of the orders in the book occurs with many analytical illustrations in orthogonal views or perspective view, always accompanied by measures and a descriptive text. As the book is richly illustrated and the illustrations often occupy full pages, the weight of the content goes more on the images and less on the text, which is paginated as dense paragraphs. The format of the book is rather small. The intention was to have an easily searchable guide, that is easy to carry around for instance on construction sites. In order to keep a manageable book size and clear illustrations at the same time, we find several foldout pages, especially for the representations of whole length columns that have a very elongated format. I think the foldout pages are important to understand the purpose of the book, which was not intended to stay on the bookshelf.