Rami Msallam — 29.01.1999
Number of the assigned book: #61
Student ID: #19-934-744
My friendship with the Book dell’archittetura of Gio. Antonio Rusconi began with skepticism. Is this Italian author from 1500 with a half page on Wikipedia going to be my friend? I doubted that. Today, although the book is written in old Italian, I feel like I somehow do have a relationship with this book, because out of the 250 students I’m the only one who knows it the best.
The first moment, as we were introduced to task, was overwhelming. But as I look back, I’m thankful for how the exercises were built up. For example, the first exercise was just about collecting superficial data, which is in a way good because most of the books aren’t that accessible. Hence, the gradual studying of the book and dividing it in different exercises is very helpful.
The most difficult moment was searching for different versions or editions of the book. There was always that uncertainty that there might be another different version somewhere out there. I can’t remember how deep I surfed the web. In the end I compared the informations of different sites and came to the conclusion that there are only two editions of the book.
The visit to the Library in Einsiedeln was the point where my perspective changed. The way the books were preserved and taken care of astonished me. Although my book wasn’t that popular on the internet, the librarians gave us the impression that these books indeed have a great value. My book was no longer just a PDF file in a virtual world. It exists and documents very valuable information that shaped architecture in general.
My book has 160 woodcut illustrations which is lot compared to the number of pages of the book. Through this experience I’ve learned that I don’t have to understand every word in order to understand the book. With the help of the illustrations I could now easily tell in two or three words what each chapter is talking about.
I must add that I would not have understood the book so well, if not for the introduction of Virtuv in the theory of architecture by professor Maarten Delbeke. My book was a translation or a reconstruction of Vitruv. This added a whole different dimension while examining my book. Hence, the context of a book is “sometimes” more important than its content.
From my experience I would suggest one thing, which I felt I would have liked to do, would have been studying or focusing solely on one page of the book. This would have made examine the book extensively, in a different way. Although I understood what the book in general is about, the Isolation of one part of the book might be of greater benefit.
The emphasis of Gregorio to not have to understand each word of the book gave me some relief. In this way the relationship with the book was not being forced on me (which is healthy in every relationship). All in all, I might not be best friends with this book. But there’s now definitely some common ground for us to understand each other in order to have a friendship.