When I first heard of the exercise “Friends with an old book” I was quite confused in what way it would help me in my studies to become an architect. How would becoming friends with an old book benefit me? The first tasks were easy to complete, but I wouldn’t understand why we were pushed to do such a, at that time in my mind, pointless exercise.
My opinion about becoming friends with an old book shifted heavily when we finally got to meet our book. The setting was perfect, I can very well remember every moment as soon as I stepped out of the train in Einsiedeln. It was a cold winter evening, I stopped to drink a coffee in a beautiful coffee shop and then went to the Oechslin Library. The place was amazing, from the architecture of the building to the mindblowing collection of books.
That night, my book was unfortunately unavailable and I was given a similar book but it didn’t matter to me. I was amazed to have such a well kept book from the 1700s in my hands. It was like having a massive piece of history in the palm of your hand, what an incredible experience! The decorated first letters, the hand-drawn facades, floorplans and ornaments were beautiful. Although the text was in old french, I could understand the majority of it and it was surprisingly easy and light to read the text that was accompanied by the impressivly precise drawings.
The visit really opened my eyes. The exercise was about becoming friends with an old book but I really think that it made me become friends with old books in general. Having a book that had gone through so many different eras was an experience I’ll never forget. It was an opportunity that will not show up that often and I’m glad I realised how lucky I was.