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The book is about the topography in the kingdom of France. Cities and villages are shown by precise images and described. At the beginning of the book we see a map of France.
Many other cities and villages are described in relation to Paris. There are great maps of Paris where all the different, important buildings are described. These places are mostly churches or chapels, which are illustrated exactly. According to these buildings, symmetry is playing a huge role.
I get the impression that not only symmetry and the meaning behind these buildings plays its role. Due to the fact, that these buildings are always drawn in a context, where the surrounded buildings are shown and drawn as precise as the target itself, it’s also about its whole placement and the arrangement of the context. Where is the church and why is it there? What do these buildings have in common and what makes them unique? Sometimes we see even gardens or a small harbour which gives us a sense of other qualities these places may have.
Often, it’s also shown how the surroundings are destructed or are in a building process right now, which gives us an impression how imperfect the overall picture may have been these times and that cities were and are always in a building process.
But it’s not just about religious buildings. It’s all about important buildings or localities, which are either public ones or private ones which belonged to royal or other titled people.
Depending on the place which is described, different aspects are underlined. Sometimes the city has a special geometrical arrangement of a unique structure. Another city is famous for its fountains and the third place is just a huge castle with an enormous, impressive garden.
I mean the title of the book is the topography in France and this is the base for what is built in this specific area. For example, castles are often built on a hill, distant from the city, while cities are often built near a lake or a river. The author, Martin Zeiller was not just interested in a building itself, he cared about the whole package.
This gives us also interesting impulses to compare these presented objects, see parallels in the arrangements and structures. We can recognise how a river through a city affected its structure or how an uneven ground influenced the city.
I get the impression that the book is all about the whole concept of places. How they are arranged either in a symmetrical, geographical or topographical way, the meanings which should be underlined by such decisions and connections or expression of the places in their internal and external appearance.