The Ten Books on Architectureby Published 01 Jun 1960
|The Ten Books on Architecture.pdf|
The Ten Books on Architecture Reviews
I preface my remarks by noting that I am not an architect nor am I at all well versed in architecture. I read the book mostly to learn about daily life, how houses were made, and what kind of machines the ancients had. I found his little side stories to b some of the most interesting parts of the book. I skimmed through some of the more detailed points on architecture, but I still learned a fair deal about various building materials, how to lay out a city, and properties of various types of trees.
One of my students recommended Vitruvius to me 22 years ago. I have kept it by my side ever since. Ancient man is as astute and brilliant as any living today. A must read for anyone traveling to Italy, Greece, anywhere touched by the Roman empire. "....no work can be done without honesty...." and his description of the meaning of significance and that which gives it is grounding for anyone on a journey of making.
In his architecture, Bauhaus was primarily concerned with expressing his own artistic sparkliness. Vitruvius, on the other hand, was primarily interested in designing useful buildings according to universal laws of proportion and symmetry. Guess which one I like more?
my oxford classical dictionary gave me the heart to look in the pages of vitruvius saying it was a book intended not for architects but for those who wish to understand architecture. i would say, though, that vitruvius seems to be more than just an architect but an engineer as well as he discusses city planning, fortification and the constuction of siege machines. the parts on wall stuccos and painting (including information on how to obtain certain colors and from what sources they come) as well as the scattered anecdotes, medical theories (humours and such), and philosophical discussions. not only is how to make good bricks in the book, but why some bricks fail according to their internal humours. i would have liked to attempt this in the original latin, but the central library was lacking, but it is said his style is plain and prosaic (even crude, in places), so maybe i didn't miss much. anyway, i feel that i've gained a better appreciation for both the practicalities and aesthetics of classical architecture and her palladian and neoclassical children. it's made me want to do some building of my own, but the back yard is sadly lacking in both space and pitsand (an essential, m. vitruvius assures me), so my temple of minerva victrix in the ionian style (how attic! what will cato say?) will have to wait.
It's an amazing feeling when you read a book that has been written over 2000 years ago and is still considering till now one of the most important books on architecture because of all the knowledge that vitruvius had put into his book and the way he relyed on logic to design, used the module, payed attention to the importance of proportion and the fit of shapes and maked the building cost as low as possible...
I think this is fascinating