While becoming friend wiht the book “The origin of Building” by John Wood, I made quite a lot of new experiences. Last September was the first time we met. Since this date we had about 4 more appointments. And with each subsequent date we became more and more friends. At the beginning everything was quite superficial because I only got the key information about the book to which everyone has access, and which can already be found with the first click in google. But then we gradually became closer. We became physically closer, or to be more precise, we met for 20 minutes in the Werner Oechslin Library. Although we don’t speak the same language, we understood each other very well !
I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’ve had the experience of how to handle such an old and valuable thing and somehow how to read these ancient words written by John Wood. Every time I had one of the tasks to do, I felt a little bit taken back to that time in the 18th century, and so I became in a way a friend of this century with the deepening on the confrontation between the origin, rise and progress of building, with emphasis on the Ionic, Doric and Corinthian orders. Well, these orders were not such a new subject for me, but in combination with the examples in the book, which are shown in drawings linked to the text, it gave me an additional knowledge of this architectural topic, which is not to be neglected in its value in architecture.
When I first realized how many people have already held this book in their hands and dealt with it, I realized how much history is actually behind such a book. It is not only the history of the book itself, in the sense of the content, it’s much more. What triggered and influenced the book, what was the author like, what was his intention and how did this enthusiasm on his part to write such a book come about and how did it all happen? As I said, I often felt set back and always made up my own stories about how the author probably sat at his desk and wrote these words and drew these drawings with the utmost precision.
Last but not least I became aware of the value of the book, be it the physical or the metaphysical value, when I saw in what condition the book is still today and with what care it is stored in the library but still accessible for all who want to deal with it and are aware of its value.