The book I was assigned to at the beginning of the semester is called: “Designs of Chinese Buildings, Furniture, Dresses, Machines and Utensils”, by William Chambers. So I continue my research on that book, going into Xenotheka and the search engine Alice.
I start with thinking about what I should type in first. The title of the book is a rather good abridgement of the whole narrative actually, as it is only about 14 pages of text and the rest is illustrations. That is why I set the topic to design and texted Chinese Buildings. The purpose was not to get a result right away, but to try something, in order to figure out how to even use Alice. The results were not very satisfactory, as the books sometimes did not even discuss architecture.
Trying other things, I texted Alice the entire title and just single words, like Chinese and changing the library out of curiosity. Not content with my findings I had to find out more about how to find something specific, I looked at the posts of other people and I read that someone set Architecture as their topic. I tried that too and got books similar to mine, I could choose from.
The books I have chosen are Twentieth Century Architecture, by Leatherbarrow Eisenschmidt and Modern Architectural Theory, by Mallgrave. From all the books I looked at, these two had the most contextually relevant passages about Chinese design bared general, topical similarities to the book in question.
Twentieth Century Architecture is a critical summary of the most important developments during a time span of a hundred years. It describes rather elaborately, how the west was influenced by the Chinese and describes a time, where Japan, heavily influenced by China, was one of the fastest developing nations in the world. One must assume the author must have been fascinated by Chambers, as he mentions him in a very long paragraph.
Modern Architectural Theory contains a plethora of elaborate comparisons between different works of modern architecture. Additionally, the author discusses a lot the styles of China and the West, as these get more and more similar. Like my book, it is a critical and comparative view on design in a specific time period.
Finally I was happy with my findings, as they are both well researched and interesting works of very accomplished authors, who share a lot of similarities with William Chambers.