Johann David Steingruber was a German architect and designer with over 100 buildings to his name, including many churches, town halls, school buildings and even breweries. However, perhaps what he is best known for today are the intricate illustrations of his 1773 Architectural Alphabet, in which he converted the alphabet into plans for a series of eccentric baroque palaces.
Done more as a “labor of love” rather than for any practical reason, Steingruber’s book is a compilation of playful and intricate spatial relationships, with each letter providing its own unique set of challenges. Even though the letters naturally offer more complex shapes than we would ordinarily use for plans, the spaces somehow make sense. The baroque style of oval antichambers, domes, and vaults is evident not only in the plans but also in the elevations.