When I first got in touch with my old friend “Nouveau traité des cinq ordres d’architecture tant ancien que moderne : enrichis de plusieurs pieces nouvelle qui n’ont point encore parus avec plusieurs de morceaux des plus beaux ediffices tant exécuté que projesté. On y a joint aussi quelque principe de menuiserie, serrurie et ornement a l’usage de differente person[n]e» I was really astonished, how extremely long and absolutely not catchy his name was so I decided to call him “NT” instead and he didn’t mind.
It was at the Werner Oechslin library in Einsiedeln when we first met in person. I was there with my group of students to have a look at the library and an introduction on how to treat old books like him. Beforehand, the only thing I heard about NT was that he was written by Charles Dupuis in 1766 in Paris and that there was no other opportunity to meet him, neither another library, nor any internet page and therefore I was quite curious what he was all about. Now thinking back, I had no idea what to expect that afternoon, but I was pleasantly surprised. NT was full of really nice architectural drawings which were parted in different chapters divided by mostly one-sided introductions. I was also really fascinated by the fact that he was that old, and therefore so many people already held him in their hands.
For the fourth task where we had to change the text of the book into a specific text file with a program and I have to admit that I almost lost my nerves with him at some point. Not only because NT is so unique it and therefore very hard to find online but also as he doesn’t contain much text. It took me hours to be able to convert him the way we were told but finally I made it and was very happy.
I really have to say that the last task, task number five, was my favourite. It was much fun to be able to meet all the others and their old friends and just have a chat. We were able to find many similarities. Not only that they, compared to us, were ancient, but also that they had a lot in common and could all help us or other people to solve problems or give nice examples.
Looking back, I really think NT and I have quite a special friendship. He can really annoy me, and I guess he sometimes thinks the same of me too, but I also am fascinated by him and all his wisdoms. Who knows, someday our paths might cross again and then, I will welcome him with open arms.