I started my search on Alice using architecture as the topic of conversation and exploring the results generated when searching for words like “siege” “fortresses”, hoping to find a book related to architecture used in fortification. I chose these topics because my book “La militare architettura” discusses Pietro Ruggiero’s experience in wars and in the construction of fortresses able to withstand the sieges of the time.
However I had very little luck using architecture as the topic of conversation as Alice kept recommending me books that address architecture in general. I didn’t find this to be of much help because the construction of fortresses has very different priorities than civic architecture.
I had more success as soon as I used the word “war” as the topic of conversation. I also searched for “war tactics”. In “La militare architettura” Pietro Ruggiero writes about his experience in war and discusses tactics. My search resulted in me finding the book “The Art of War” written by Machiavelli.
In his book Machiavelli introduces the systematic conception of troop formation. The topic of discussing war tactics is the common denominator of the two books. In my opinion it is an important connection between the two because Machiavelli is the one who introduces the whole idea of organised war instead. Many great tacticians referenced Machiavellis book and all of Pietro Ruggiero’s discussions in “La militare architettura” build on organised war tactics.
After concluding that I would hopefully find another interesting book in a different library I switched from Xenotheka to Alice`s “Architecture Library” brain. I changed the topic of conversation to “architecture” and explored the keyword “fortress”.
I was expecting to come across books similar to Ruggiero’s, that discussed architecture for military purposes. However I came across a book called “Capsules: Typology of Other Architecture” written by Peter Senk. Among other topics, the book discusses the typology of “capsules” which came up during the 1960s. I found it interesting how these capsules seem to have similar traits to the fortresses that Pietro Ruggiero writes about. They are almost the modern adaptation of the fortresses that instead of withstanding sieges, that have gotten less and less prevalent, have to protect its inhabitants from the busy city life or even just the climate. These capsules create a minimal living space that still remains inhabitable. I can imagine that Ruggiero faced similar challenges making compact structures like fortresses that had to withstand sieges and house many people using as little space as possible.
My experience using “Ask Alice” was good. One thing that I had to overcome was that the same three books kept showing up as the top results. I assume they just cover many topics related to architecture. However I feel that this actually helped me get to know Alice as I gradually learned how to avoid those common results and found more interesting and closely related books.