First when I knew that I would be assigned with an old book about architecture I was very curious to know more about the task. I have grown up being surrounded by old books. My mother tongue is Italian, so going to the Gymnasium and school in general, I was always confronted with very old texts like Dante’s Divina Commedia as well as with Boccaccio’s Decameron or different poems by Petrarca, I had the opportunity to challenge myself with historic books and the old Italian language, the volgare. By reading these texts I was able to establish a good relationship with the past, even though sometimes it was challenging to understand centuries old language, or historic nuances, but there still was the opportunity to help myself by reading modern paraphrases and interpretations of the volumes. When I started to enjoy architecture, I also read the quattro libri dell’architettura by Palladio, so I could say I had already a concrete imagination how the friendship with an old book would be.
Being assigned to Nikolaus Goldmann’s book “Elementorum architecturae militaris” and reading the first task to solve, felt a bit disappointing. I wanted to know more about the great architects of the past and their work, instead I had to know closer a text, which topic about military construction was not interesting at all to me. At the beginning there was a big discrepancy between me and the Elementorum, which was even enlarged by the linguistic and technic barrier of knowledge. The title “Elementorum architecturae militaris” already suggests that the book was written by Goldmann completely in Latin, a classic language that for me was mostly hard to understand, added to that fact that most of the book is filled with tables and calculations, that were absolutely not comprehensible to me. The lack of understanding made it even harder to create a bond with the book, this divergence started to become even larger with every task we had to solve during this university year.
Finally, I have had the opportunity through the second task of the project to the get in touch with Goldmann’s book. I quite enjoyed the thought of seeing closely a 377 year old book, but I was a bit worried, questions popped into my mind: “What if my contact with the pages could ruin this old book?” I felt it was a risk to touch a similar antiquity just to make a video and few photographs. But it was still a pleasant experience to touch something that was produced nearly 400 years ago by mankind.
To sum up my experience with the project of friends with an old book, I have to admit that it contained special moments, but it still has given me the perception that I have not been able to built a bond with “Elementorum archtiecturae militaris”. The feeling that there would have been so many other old books, that would have interested me more, ruined a bit the experience for me.