keywords: religion, symmetry, materiality
Our book, which is called “Recueil élémentaire d`architecture” written by Jean Francois de Neufforge, represents the architecture of the present age pretty well. The buildings and/or the blueprints are strictly separated in different categories. You will find sections of public, religious, overall big and massive buildings, and controversially to them some sort of smaller and more private places, all following a strict schematic theme. One of the “main” topics in the book is about churches and big and open halls. On each page you see a drawing of the facade on top, and the floor plan at the bottom, sharing the same scale. Whats interesting is, that most, when not all these type of buildings, are designed in the shape of a cross what shows us that the author finds himself agin in a strong christian environment. In a time where the kings and monarchs, aswell as the noble and especially the clergy where exercising their power over the “normal” people. This type of design will eventually slowly change the further you go through the book. A lot more round and circle like buildings will catch your eye.
And simultaneously to the style change u can see that the inner room becomes more and more important to the architect. the big room at the beginning gets more divided by the second, more detailed, overall more coordinated to how people conduct in those places. Now you have little chambers and rooms, as well as the large and open tribunes for example. Along with the “inner” change of the building, the are now more different visible functions than before. The designs switched from only being church-like constructions, to more public and also entertaining purposes such as theaters or a hall. What I understand as the loss of power of the clergy circles.
Next to the cross shaped floor plans, every building is symmetrical. Every blueprint shows an axis that goes through the entire building what leads to a well ordered and structured plan. The drawings and blueprints then come off very “clean” and proportional.
Something that also stands out are all the tons of columns placed in the floor plans wich reminds yourself of the ancient greek and roman temples although it seems that Jean Francois de Neufforge more likely researched the roman way of structuring those said buildings. Just like the column endings that are build in the composite way, or the several roman ornaments that decorate most of the facade space.
The constructions are build very massively as you will find greatly dimensioned columns and ceilings, all arranged around he core of the building. These massive “frames” are covered with a very filigree and detailed facade.
All in all I think that “Recueil élémentaire d`architecture” represents, eventhough you have to have more than just a basic knowledge in architecture and their history, the time in which the book was written pretty well and it is definitely worth a look inside.