11 May 2007

firmitas, utilitas, venustas

Today's speaker mentioned (ever so briefly) the writings of Vitruvius. His book, De architectura, serves as a foundation of design theory readings. Translated as Ten Books on Architecture, the book is available online at Project Gutenburg and well worth the time to read. One of the more famous sections explains three fundamental qualities of architecture: durabilty, utility, and beauty.
2. All these must be built with due reference to durability, convenience, and beauty. Durability will be assured when foundations are carried down to the solid ground and materials wisely and liberally selected; convenience, when the arrangement of the apartments is faultless and presents no hindrance to use, and when each class of
building is assigned to its suitable and appropriate exposure; and beauty, when the appearance of the work is pleasing and in good taste, and when its members are in due proportion according to correct principles of symmetry.

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