You know, I just can't walk past a mirror without taking a self portrait.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Architecture & Rare Books




Working in the field of Architecture and Design, reference and research materials are extremely important. One of the most useful reference books, at least here in the States, has been Architectural Graphic Standards. Arch. Graphic Stds. has been a benchmark since the First Edition was published in 1932. It is now in it’s Eleventh edition. By virtue of being this benchmark older editions had become a collectors item. I personally own Editions 3, 5, 6 and 7. Unfortunately however I did not stop there.

I started collecting rare Architecture books in the mid 80’s. At the time I not only thought it was a worthwhile investment, but it also afforded me some very useful reference material. Soon however I ran out of shelf space, having acquired about fifteen.

Books like ‘Measured Drawings of Some Colonial and Georgian Houses’ (doesn’t Dover have a 15.95 paperback of this available) or ‘Moulding of the Wren & Georgian Periods’, could at least be useful reference books. But where I went awry was with the 1928 reprint of ‘L’Architecture Francais’. Three folio volumes comprising of 560 plates and weighing 12+ lbs. They came from France shipped in crate. Not only do these collect a lot of dust, but moving all three together could be tricky not just due to weight but they are also oversized . Another is ‘Parallele De L’Architecture Antique et de la Moderne’ published in 1650, not the kind of book you take to the office and marking pages with stickies. At least that volume is smaller, and with a title like that you’re bound to impress somebody. All in all mostly French titles, which are on the tip of no ones tongues.

Well I’ve been dragging these tomes around for 25 years now. I’ve dragged them from NYC to Essex, Conn. Essex to Miami, Miami to Southern Cal. I suspect next time I move they won’t be coming with me, at least not those volumes that can double as sandbags.

1 comment:

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