When the very first task was introduced and I saw the title of my future friend, I was very confused. “Le fontane di Roma nelle piazze, e luoghi publici della città, con li loro prospetti, come sono al presente”. How should I become friends with a book and mostly how should I do that without knowing the Italian language? This was my biggest question. Furthermore it was right at the beginning of the first semester of architecture. Everything was totally new and I understood nothing about architectural theory and history. Now I’m more conscious about that.
But things slightly changed and I got more used to the understanding of architecture. Or at least, I tried.
The first task was quite easy to do. To find its location, language, author and so on. The only struggle was to navigate through the ETH Library and to find the right information on various websites. So simply some basic problems.
With the second task it was time to meet my future friend personally. I must say that I was very fascinated to hold such an old and unique book in my hands. So I encountered it with much care and respect.
Then by browsing through the pages I realised that I don’t need to understand Italian to get an overview of the themes and topics in this book cause it consists mostly out of illustrations. The techniques used to show all these fountains and their surroundings in Rome were breath-taking. There are so many details mentioned in these drawings which I recognized from lectures we already had at this time, e.g. the different orders. With all that, the friendship started to grow.
The third task wasn’t really helpful for me to become better friends with the book, because there weren’t other publications of it before. The only thing I could take from this task was to realize that you don’t necessarily need text to understand architecture. It’s more helpful to look at images and drawings. But this needs a lot of practise.
This was once again underlined with the fourth task text & image. I learnt from it that some architectural books are meant to explore, to look at them and to learn from them. That it’s not necessary to travel there, especially to travel back in time, in order to study their language, ideas and intentions. But still, travelling is an essential part to understand architecture on sight. A book should be understood as an addition.
Now with the fifth task and almost a year later I’ve learnt a lot about the book “Le fontane di Roma nelle piazze, e luoghi publici della città, con li loro prospetti, come sono al presente” and of course about architecture itself. Now the necessity is clear to me to study different types of books and buildings, no matter how old or modern they are, in order to build a huge resource of information which is connected and refers to each other. All this information from previous generations and eras can help to solve contemporary architectural problems and is a significant part of today’s design process, even though we don’t have it in mind specially. It’s still somewhere in our subconsciousness.