Justin Wadge: Baroque Libraries: The Journey to Getting Lost in a Book

Black and white drawing of inside of library stacks

drawing / Justin Wadge

To write a book is to allow an outsider into a part of your mind, a part you believe is worth sharing. To read a book is to have a piece of someone else, to hold it in your hands. The act is an intimate one, an opening up of the mind through space. The sequence of the library prepares the reader for this encounter. The reading room is the stage for this encounter.

The Baroque period took this phenomenon to new architectural heights. The reading room lined with books was new but rare. The library was the monastery's physical and literal representation of knowledge, their reconciliation with the Renaissance. It was part of a dignified tour to be presented to visitors upon arrival. Justin Wadge (B.Arch. '15) traveled to Austria, the Czech Republic, and Italy to encounter the sequences of space into the reading rooms. From secluded mountain valleys to the dense urban centers, he documented his explorations with hundreds of pages of perspective drawings in Leporello notebooks. The drawings are complemented with a selection of photographs taken during his stay as a guest to the monks in the cloisters. Funding for his research was provided by the Robert James Eidlitz Travel Fellowship.

Wadge graduated as Degree Marshall from AAP's Bachelor of Architecture program in 2015. Since then, he has been working at Mitchell|Giurgola Architects. Currently, he is working on an addition to the New York Public Library.

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