R. Adam analyzed in the book, Ruins Of The Palace Of The Emperor Diocletian At Spalatro In Dalmatia, the palace that Emperor Diocletian had built at his abdication.
In this process, R. Adam developed a concept to use this palace as a kind of learning tool.
Thus, R. Adam dealt with having numerous plans and cuts made of the building. In addition, he wrote architectural comments and opinions.
Most, if not all, of the drawings were made by Charles-Louis Clérisseau, but Adam refused to let his collaborator’s name appear on the plates. Why he hardly mentions his name is not clear to me. Interestingly, other plates were signed and can thus be attributed to the various artists.
Adam succeeded in showing characteristics of the architecture of that time on the basis of the various plans. Among other things, he noted that the architects at that time, paid more attention to the floor plan. He was very fascinated by this attentive planning and the exciting room experience. This strength of the works of that time, was already lost in his eyes. Therefore, he tried with various representations of the floor plan, to bring these ideas back a little closer. Here, too, the theory that he wanted to spread with his work cannot be overlooked. This is just one example of his many different insights gained by working up the palace.
“a remarkable variety of forms … to which the ancients paid great attention … while modern architects … tend to weary us with a tedious succession of similar dwellings” (p.9)
In this way, R. Adams increasingly criticized the current architecture, trying to show the advantages and extraordinary details of the palace by means of various plans and sections. But also for Adam himself, this work was used as inspiration. This is how, his work became outstanding architectural references and also an important source of inspiration for the designs that were often used in Adam’s style.
Therefore, we can see how he tried to combine criticism and praise throughout the book. He was trying to bring clarity back to themes that had been forgotten, and thus generate a template to show young architects what they should be thinking about. This process is further illustrated by the many and detailed plan drawings. These drawings show every corner and every corridor. Consequently, the plans could be used as a kind of reference, since they showed you everything and not just some details. R. Adam himself took the palace as a kind of role model. However, sometimes the palace is almost glorified and things that seem to have been forgotten are put in a good light.
Finally, one can wonder to what extent R. Adam undertook the study for himself, in order to improve his own work. However, his sharp criticism of the current architecture at the time rather indicate that he hoped to find a listening ear and thus improve the current architecture.
Concept / Keywords:
Variety of forms
Criticism of current architecture