This past year I was assigned to become friends with Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi’s book “Insignium Romae templorum”.
The one-year long friendship with my book ends today. How do I feel about it?
To be honest, I have to say that I never managed to build a real friendship with my book. The language barrier and the lack of information made it difficult for me to make friends with my book.
If I could have chosen my friend by myself instead of being allocated to it, I probably would have taken another book.
Still I really appreciated the second task.
Out of all the assignments this was the one that remained to me the most even if it was the most time consuming. To organize the visit was kind of a pain, but I guess it was worth it. The physical contact with this old book was an interesting experience. It was kind of a strange feeling to see the old book lying before me as a witness to an old way of thinking about the architecture. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the book and saw the beautiful drawings.
And even though I only spent 20 minutes with the book, it was enough to flip through all the content. It was a pleasure to study the detailed drawn illustrations of all those ancient buildings and to see with how much care Rossi put them together in Insignium Romae templorum. Because of those impressive appearance and the beautiful the language barrier suddenly seemed secondary.
But the problem with the language popped up again as soon as the next exercise has been released.
As I had troubles to find any information on the book, I really didn’t like the “Lineage” task. I spend hours doing research but wasn’t able to make out any translations, reprints, later editions, …
With Task 4 I had some difficulties too. Like me, Adobe Acrobat could not read the text passages in the book. So, the translation mostly ended in a weird combination of signs. However, the analyzing of the structure of the book belonged to those exercises which really brought me closer to my book.
About the last task I can’t say to much as our work is still in progress.
In conclusion it was really fascinating to see and feel an old book. Especially the craftsmanship and time which was invested in a single book.
So, in summary, I’d say that I personally would have enjoyed the exercise way more, if it had been an understandable book. I would have been more interested to dive into the content of one of those old books more in depth.
Still I think the exercise was great to internalize the lecture and gain some first experience in architectural research.