The book ‘instrument zur architectur’ is a very old book. It is written in the year 1622 by Andreas Albrecht. In his report he addressed some ‘gentlemen’ and had the request to introduce an instrument to save an immense effort. On the images it looks similar to a circle nowadays. Therefore he wrote a more or less short illustrated manual as a report.
While preparing the tasks I learned, that there are only two formal editions. Luckily it is scanned for e-books, so it is accessible to everyone. One of the rare editions is available at the ETH Zürich library, where I visited my ‘friend to be’. I was surprised somewhat how it felt handling an ancient book like this. Obviously it needed special care. It was required to open it on a soft book pillow and to hold the paper with a heavy string, so it would not slide back. I did not like this experience very much. I felt uncomfortable because the rarity could have been so easily damaged by accident. However, it was an interesting to examine it.
Additionally, the number of different books about architecture and similar areas surprised me, since I have never thought about that. Authors all over Europe and other areas of the world spread their knowledge in many languages and forms. By the distribution and exchange of books about theories of architecture and its craftmanship a wealth of knowledge was spread and furthered development in these areas. Maintaining the books in the libraries has been an immense effort to be appreciated.
Fortunately we had the opportunity to get to know one of these books. It was an interesting way to learn about the content of something without reading the main text. Most of the tasks were doable with a logical thread from the first to the last. The aim was to get deeper into it and to become friends with it. Nevertheless there were some problems in the fourth task where we had to scan the text. These words weren’t so helpful to grasp the content. For this I refreshed my reading skills in Middle High German and read some parts of it. This experience was amusing, because the language is on one hand very similar to ours and on the other hand totally different.
To outline the few tasks: the first was very formal and cool like the first small talk with new people. It was not very challenging, since the questions were already given. The second was like a warm reunion – the first and last non-virtual encounter, which made the thought of having a relation to these pieces of paper even possible. Concerning the third task I can’t really tell, how it influenced our connection. I think it was not really helpful and quite resinous to fulfill it. The forth was also resinous. However, it helped to get a bigger picture of the book and how everything was composed. Finally the fifth was an interesting change to the other tasks, because interaction with other books and people was required. Only then I got a glimpse of what the topics of other books could be. I liked the idea of closing the circle by becoming friends with the book and sharing the book with other friends of books.