Although the „Ask Alice“ engine works quite self-explaining, I still felt the urge to watch the tutorial from the lecture and on the website again, to use it more efficiently. After doing so, I started to search with word describing the contents of my book “The Villas of the Ancients illustrated” by Robert Castell.
I’ve typed in the words “villas”, “ancient”, “Rome”, “gardens” and “heating systems” in different combinations, which pleasingly led to different results.
In the process of searching, I also came to the conclusion that it is definitely useful to switch between Alice’s brains, because the results then will differ quite a lot. In my case, the “Xenotheka Library” got me the most convenient results but also the “Alberti and Vitruvius Library” did a good job. Obviously searching in some other libraries led to dead ends, as for example in the “Library of Shakespeare’s friends”.
As I already mentioned above, I came to some good results for me. Firstly, I’ve found a book by Leatherbarrow Eisenschmidt, which is called “Twentieth Century Architecture”. In it I’ve discovered, as the name already tells us, connections to modern buildings, more precisely, the Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier. It is described how similar the building is structured to an ancient Pompeian house. One finds a well organized, hierarchical spatial sequence, beginning with an aedicula like entry hall on the first level marked with four columns; a deep and narrow fauces like ramp leads from the entry hall to a roof garden open to the sky, much like a sky lit central atrium; and a salle, or living room, with its front opening to the roof garden and its back overlooking a hortus, in this case an orchard. To me personally, this example once again shows us the great job ancient architecture did and how it’s still applicable nowadays.
The second book I’ve chosen is called “The First Moderns” by Rykwert. It’s about architecture of the eighteenth century and tells the story of someone who left Rome to visit a villa in Venice. What he found was quite similar to the ancient ones in Rome. It was decorated with lots of plaster casts, modern paintings and sculpture. The villa also included a botanic garden, which is well known as a scientific curiosity – which is of course, in these times, a privilege to the rich. So the point of choosing this book is to show the big impact of the ancient housing buildings throughout the time. Finally I’d like to point out, that my research was more interesting than I thought in the first place, because it made me think more consciously about the buildings around me and their connection to the past. Not only those, which really look ancient, have roots in the past.