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Source material for the study of Czechoslovak avant-garde and architecture in the period before the Second World War is very difficult to find. As is the case for comparable material in the West, this difficulty is due on the one hand to the small editions and on the other to the political and cultural situation after 1945. It is as though the political division of Europe not only disrupted the cultural continuity but also obliterated the cultural memory of Western Europe. This is the more remarkable because thinking in international terms was one of the characteristics of the avant-garde movement.

Early in the twentieth century the influence of the Wagner school on architecture was very strong. The Czechoslovak adherents of this school undertook the battle for a new architecture in their country. A number of architects who had become aware of French Cubism very early, arrived at a new form of architecture comparable to that of German expressionism after the First World War. Starting in 1918, there was a rapid growth of international contacts and exchanges. Contacts with The Netherlands (Van Doesburg), Germany (Bauhaus), Russia (Constructivism), and France (Le Corbusier) made Czechoslovakia an equal within the European movement for a new architecture. A comparable development can be seen in the arts and literature. The influence of modern French poetry and later that of Surrealism was of great importance in this respect.

This collection contains 6 periodicals and 5 monographs with special importance for the study of the Czechoslovak avant-garde and architecture in the period before the Second World War. It gives an excellent picture of developments during this period.

Otakar Máčel, Technical University Delft

Historical Garden Design Online

Sources from the 16th to the 19th centuries

A rich resource for garden, art and architectural historians, this primary source collection of 178 titles covers a broad range of subjects regarding the theory and practice of gardening, horticulture and garden design. Technological aspects are treated as well as garden ornaments, garden buildings, plant use, and the construction of green houses.

The collection includes such watershed works as Salomon de Caus´  Hortus Palatinus (1620), Dominicus Barrière's  Villa Aldobrandina Tusculana sive varij illius hortorum et fontium prospectus (1647), Giovanni Battista Falda's  Li Giardini di Roma(1680), and Christian Cay Lorenz Hirschfeld´s  Theorie der Gartenkunst(1779-85). Also included are the lesser known, but nevertheless, important works, such as Heinrich Hesse´s  Neue Garten-Lust(1696) and  Die Gartenkunst(1797) by J. F. Blotz (pseudonym of F.Ch. Touchy).
Johann Gottfried Grohmann´s  Ideenmagazin für Liebhaber von Gärten(Leipzig, 1796-1802) offers insights into garden ornaments used for well-to-do gardens. The Dutch publication  Het vermakelyk land-leven (Amsterdam, 1710-11) includes fascinating views of gardens of the same period in the Netherlands. Such a lesser known publication as Bernhard Christoph Faust´s Zur Sonne nach Mittag sollten alle Häuser der Menschen gerichtet seyn (n.p., c. 1824) offers interesting views of the application of the English landscape garden to row houses. The two volumes of  Theatri machinarum hydraulicarumby Jacob Leupold (Leipzig, 1724-25) elucidate how to construct water fountains and show, e. g., parts of the water technique used to run the fountains of the Marly garden. Last but not least, numerous titles deal with the most important seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century gardens in Europe, such as Rome, Firenze, Stowe, Versailles, and Schwetzingen.
Also represented in this collection are the diaries and works on garden design by the virtuoso John Evelyn (1620-1706) who was a pivotal figure in seventeenth-century intellectual life in England.
This collection consists of works from the following IDC microfiche collections:
Garden Design, 16th-19th Century
Italian Garden Design
John Evelyn – an English Virtuoso.
The works are from various libraries, among them the libraries of Dumbarton Oaks, Washington and of Leibniz University, Hannover.
Brill’s Military Architecture 1600-1900 contains a selection of 99 printed works that represents the revolutionary developments in fortification in Early Modern Europe in theory and in practice. Similar to the arts, military architecture was split up in national schools or styles, so called fortification manners. The works of Busca, Cattaneo, De Marchi, Tensini, Theti, Zanchi, reflect the Italian School, Errard and Perret the French one and Specklin’s Architektur von Vestungen is an adaptation of the Italian school in Germany. Stevin’s Sterctenbouwing discusses Cattaneo, Theti and Specklin to assess the benefits of their fortification systems for the Low Countries. The later French school is well represented by Pagan and the works of probably the most famous engineer of all times, Vauban. His various “fortification manners” were applied all over Europe and beyond. The selected works of Menno van Coehoorn reveal how the French system was introduced in the Netherlands, while the works of Paen, Melder, Ruysch and Sturm are illustrative for the heavy debates that resulted from adapting such complex systems to the nordic situation. While these works in Military Architecture 1600-1900 allow for a comparative analysis in text and image of European fortification schools, others focus on more local conditions such as Stevin’s works in Dutch and French on the role of pivoted sluices in the fortifications of various harbor towns. Moreover, Military Architecture 1600-1900 provides insight in the training of fortification in theory and practice for multiple “user-groups”. While the works of the classical authors Caesar, Valturius and Vegetius were used for the philological study of the military arts at universities, the reality of warfare required for training of practical skills for engineers and landsurveyors in the field. Translations of Euclid, works on the practice of geometry and landsurveying (Mallet, Nienrode, Metius, Sems&Dou) were filling that gap.

Although Military Architecture 1600-1900 represents the protagonists of the history of fortification, it also includes lesser known authors such as Bruist, Capo-Bianco, Gaya, Gerbier and Pfeffinger. Moreover, the selection does not limit itself to military architecture, but includes the military arts (artillery, army camps, siege) and history.

Prof.dr. Charles van den Heuvel, Huygens ING and University of Amsterdam

This collection was published earlier in a microfiche collection by IDC Publishers.