ARCHITECTURA DE POSTIUM SEU PORTALIUM ORNATU VARIO
Concept: Efficient and Explosive
Architectura de postium seu portalium ornatu vario writtenby Wendling Grapp Dietterlin is a book that was published in 1595 in Strasbourg at the presses of B. Jobin Heirs. It is written in Latin accompanied by a French translation, but other versions exist, such as the one published the year before in German language. This is a book that presents itself more as a collection of images and drawings than as a real treatise on architecture; in fact we immediately notice that the presence of texts is limited to only the first four pages where there is the dedication and a brief explanation of the book. This is why I chose the words “Efficient” as a concept. This book does not pretend to explain with long texts and difficult concepts the architectural idea of orders, facades, doors, walls, etc.; on the contrary, it seems almost as if it prefers to let the images speak for themselves and leave the reader free to interpret them. Unlike other treatises, this book wants to show the great variety and the great availability of choices that one can have when one wants to design a structure, in a quick and efficient way, avoiding that one gets lost in too complicated and abstract concepts. Most probably this book was addressed to a much wider and less academic audience including carpenters, sculptors, craftsmen, workers, so it had to be as easy and understandable as possible, and above all a book that could be used in any situation. It offered models that could be imitated and used whenever someone wanted to. The second part of the concept, “Explosive”, clearly focuses more on the creative process behind these images. This book, despite not being a real treatise on architecture, has a stated ambition to talk about architecture (accentuated by the title of the book) and uses orders as a basis to which various types of ornamentation are then added, sometimes in an almost wild manner, and all of this is then incorporated into facades with portals, gates, windows etc., which are then used as a basis for the images. What strikes me most is the quality of detail and richness of these illustrations, but above all the creativity of the author, who by combining different types of ornaments and architectural parts manages to develop something new and unexpected each time, leaving the reader feeling almost bombarded by all these ideas and possibilities. It is very clear that in this book, the creative aspect of the author takes precedence over the principles of the 5 orders, proportions, forms, hierarchies and that what counts most in the end is the aesthetic result.