Task 4, Concept
Betty Langley wrote the book “the City and Country Builder’s and Workman’s Treasury of designs”, as the name says, to address the probably less educated builders and workmen. It is meant to give them deeper access to architecture and its designs.
Already in the introduction it becomes clear, that the five orders of architecture are really important to Betty Langley. The five orders are the “Tuscan order”, the “Doric order”, the “Ionic order”, the “Corinthian order” and the “Composite order”. In the first chapter Langley explains how to proportioning the five orders of columns. In the second chapter he describes elaborately the distance between columns that has to be fulfilled in different situations. Then he describes, highly detailed like his previous text about columns, how elements like windows or niches are perfectly placed and proportioned. He gives exact instructions how architecture has to be executed for perfection. Every step has highly structured rules. And this is why the word dogmatic came to my mind.
According to the Cambridge dictionary, someone is dogmatic, when this person thinks he/she is right and everyone else is wrong. I do not want to question Langley or the five orders. This word came to my mind because the rules in the text are so clear, it seems like they aren’t just rules but facts. For me the difference between rules and facts is, that rules can be changed or identified as wrong, but facts cannot be changed, they are set without any discussion. It seems as if someone does not exactly follow these instructions, the outcome of their architecture is neither right nor acceptable.
The bible popped up in my mind. The book of Langley reminds me of a bible for architecture. A Dogma is a religious expression. It describes a principle or position concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church. People are expected to accept this principle or belief without doubting it. The way Langley formulates the text, his statements seem definite and undeniable.
The following pages, he only uses for illustrations to support the text and illustrate the instructions (the book mainly consists of these illustrations).
The whole book is really detailed. Everything about proportion and placement is described with accuracy.
It seems as if Langley does not only love the rules in architecture but also the way he precisely structures his book.