Stuart, James The Antiquities of Athens. London: J. Haberkorn, 1762.
Collection: Paul Philippe Cret Library
James Stuart’s four-volume The Antiquities of Athens is a practical treatise documenting ancient architecture in Athens. Produced in the tradition of Palladio and Desgodetz, The Antiquities of Athens looks to ancient architecture as a model for contemporary design and construction. Yet, unlike these earlier enthusiasts, whose work privileged Roman architecture, Stuart maintains that Greece was the cradle of the European architectural tradition where idealizing Hellenes refined the system of orders in a number of monumental structures including the Parthenon, Erechtheion and Propylaea. To that end, he examines a number of ancient Athenian buildings, producing meticulous documentation of the spatial relationship between architectural elements. Utilizing both text and wood cuts, Stuart also establishes the setting of each documented building, emphasizing the significance of building context to demonstrate that architecture doesn’t merely follow a measured and material prescription for its own sake, but rather to create an inhabitable space marked by craftsmanship, place and culture.
Library of Congress call number: NA 280 S9 1762 v. 1 – 4
Durand, Jean-Nicolas-Louis. Précis des leçons d’architecture données à l’Ecole royale polytechnique. Liège, Belgium: D. Avanzo, 1840-1841.
Collection: Paul Phillipe Cret Library
In Précis des leçons d’architecture données à l’Ecole royale polytechnique, Jean Durand outlines the comprehensive methodology he established to train young architects studying at the Ecole. To guide the effective analysis of architecture and development of building projects, Durand explains the basic components comprising a structure (e.g., material, architectural elements, etc.), their relationship to one another (e.g., proportion, etc.), the basic means of assembly (i.e., construction practices through masonry, carpentry, etc.), and the methods of communicating design through plans. Durand also discusses typology, examining buildings in context to establish certain principles for designing and constructing public buildings and those private buildings appearing in various settings. In this section, Durand begins to imagine buildings as systems of modules, an approach that prefigures later modernist attempts to modularize the design process. As a result, the Précis establishes itself within the great lineage of architectural primers while incorporating the industrializing tendencies of its time to usher a practice deeply rooted in tradition into a mechanized era.
When I reviewed this book in order to write this entry I came across a note deposited by a former reader, whose preoccupation with the use of certain materials is marked by an interest in currying new business and collecting design fees. From time to time, such ephemera appears, and though it typically offers little or no insight into the specific intersections that produced it, its very presence provokes the imagination.
Library of Congress call number: NA 2520 D931 1840 (Atlas and Text)
Ruskin, John. The Seven Lamps of Architecture. New York: J. Wiley, 1880.
Collection: Paul Phillipe Cret Library
John Ruskin’s The Seven Lamps of Architecture is a theoretical treatise that examines the art of architecture from a distinctly nationalist perspective rooted not only in patria, but in God and a celebration of the ingenuity and spirit of man. The specific abstractions employed to both organize the book and discuss the function and creation of buildings betray romantic proclivities as Ruskin associates commonly-held British social principles—sacrifice, truth, power, beauty, life, memory and obedience—with design and construction. Ruskin locates these values in architecture as practice (intellectual activity), craft (process of production) and historical agent (by which buildings become essential recipients and purveyors or signifiers of tradition) to construct a moralizing polemic that endeavors to reinsert spirit and vitality into building and buildings.
Library of Congress call number: NA 2550 R75 1880B
Faceplate, Vitruvius. Les dix livres d’architecture de Vitruve. Paris: J. B. Coignard, 1684. 2nd Edition.
The Paul Philippe Cret Library is a collection of architectural books of considerable historic value to the University of Texas at Austin and to the scholarly community-at-large. Its namesake and originator, French-American architect and educator Paul Philippe Cret (1876-1945) devised the University’s 1933 Campus Master Plan and designed 20 campus buildings including the Beaux-Arts Main Building and UT Tower. His contribution to American architecture as both a practitioner and educator bridges the Beaux-Arts tradition of design and emergent concepts of modernism. This transition is reflected in his library in which foundational Renaissance treatises on architecture and design can be located alongside the polemical writings of Le Corbusier and other modernists.
Over the next few weeks, Battle Hall Highlights will feature a number of items from Cret’s library, which includes over 450 volumes published between 1560 and the 1930s. Offprints, exhibition catalogs, prospectuses, annual reports, monographs, trade and industrial publications, and journals, including many volumes in French comprise the library’s corpus and complement the Cret drawing collection held in the Alexander Architectural Archive. Among these titles, one can locate numerous rare and richly illustrated imprints, many of which are folios preserved in their original leather or cloth binding. These items will be showcased in this blog series.
For more books from the Paul Philippe Cret library and for more information on the architect himself, check out the these books along with the Alexander Architectural Archive finding aid.
Caumont, Arcisse de. Cours d’Antiquités Monumentales Professé à Caen, en 1830: Histoire de l’Art dans l’Ouest de la France, depuis les Temps les Plus Reculés jusqû au XVIIE Siècle. 6 vols. Paris: Lange, 1830-1841.
In 1831, French historian and archaeologist Arcisse de Caumont began publishing Cours d’Antiquités Monumentales, a six part examination of the evolution of French civil, religious and military architecture from the Gallo-Roman period through the renaissance. Over the course of this considerable tome, de Caumont categorizes major French monuments, organizing each part chronologically. This work represents an early attempt at examining architecture along the temporal register, and, while de Caumont’s efforts is largely archaeological in nature, a significant contribution to the historiography of French architecture.
In general, these works are difficult to navigate. Though each part opens with a detailed listing of content contained within each chapter, they lack any sort of true table of contents or indices. This is further complicated by the occasional inclusion of images of certain architectural details and charts. These materials illuminate issues that are discussed each part but are difficult to triangulate within the text or to locate out of sequence. On the whole, Caumont’s Cours represent an important effort, but do not accord with traditional standards for legibility and use.
Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 C3 V. 1-3, NA 1041 C3 V. 4-5
Terrasse, Charles. Fountainebleau. Paris: Draeger et Verve, 1951.
Charles Terrasse’s Fountainebleau monograph celebrates this site of hunting and retreat, documenting its interior architecture, paintings and sculptures while chronicling its quotidian functions. Often ethereal black and white photographs as well as a few color images complement Terrasse’s prose, resulting in a truly romantic portrayal of the chateau’s exquisite interiors and collection of centuries of painted and sculpted masterpieces. Though devoid of any plans, Fountainebleau‘s assembly of visual material animates the day-to-day of royal life and all of its accompanying courtly duties within the spaces of this renaissance chateau.
ONE COLOR PHOTO HERE.
And the pièce de résistance.
Library of Congress call number: DC 801 F67 T4
Pugin, Augustus Welby. Details of Ancient Timber Houses of the 15th & 16th Centuries: Selected from Those Existing at Rouen, Caen, Beauvais, Gisors, Abbeville, Strasbourg. London: Ackermann, 1836.
In 1836, Augustus Pugin, England’s renowned Neo-Gothic architect, completed a series of studies that document French timber architecture from the 15th and 16th centuries. “Drawn on the spot and etched” in Rouen, Caen, Beauvais, Gisors, Abbeville, Strasbourg and more, these sketches and etchings largely record timber design details on architectural elements embellishing pubs, manor houses, churches–largely vernacular architecture. From time to time, Pugin sees fit to establish scale and even intimate construction technique. However, as a source, Pugin’s studies tell us more about iconography than construction practices.
Notably, our copy of Pugin’s Details of Ancient Timber Houses of the 15th & 16th Centuries once belonged to the Langham Sketching Society, one of London’s artist collectives which became so popular in the 19th century and an important precursor to the establishment of true professional societies. The circulation manifesto appears fixed to the book’s front binder and establishes basic circulation practices. Interestingly, these “bye-laws” also provide some insight into the activities of the society–“All Costumes or draperies must be returned on the Saturday evening before the Monday on which the draped figure is to be set.”
Library of Congress call number: NA 1042 P755
Dormoy, Marie. L’Architecture Française. Boulogne (Siene) Éditions de “L’Architecture d’aujourd’hui” 
Marie Dormoy explores the history of French architecture in L’Architecture Française, examining construction practices and materials to locate what is most essentially and consistently French about French architecture over time. By reducing space to its integral parts and the systems used to assemble those components, Dormoy performs a deconstructive analysis that functions to collapse all of French architectural history into itself, where essence becomes the thread of definition, signifying a relationship not only to practice but also to the projection of Frenchness in the built environment. Writing in French, Dormoy analyzes the full scope of French architectural history, and, while she provides little of substance about the varying shifts in the history of French design, she produces an excellent example of a scholar (and a woman!) attempting to locate broader meanings in space and across time.
Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 D67
Arizzoli-Clémentel, Pierre, ed. Versailles. 2 vols. Paris: Citadelles & Mazenod, 2009.
A recent acquisition to the Architecture & Planning Library Special Collection, Versailles is a compendium documenting the rich architectural, art and cultural histories of the 17th century palace. This two-volume work juxtaposes plans, sections, and other drawing that express the palace’s design with high-resolution photographs of its resplendent interior and exterior spaces, and a number of essays that explore its art, sculpture, and landscape and architectural design. Versailles includes additional essays that examine the cultural and political activities that took place within the palace.