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The Ten Books on Architecture

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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,011 ratings  ·  41 reviews
The oldest and most influential book ever written on architecture, this volume served as a guide to Bramante, Michelangelo, Palladio, Vignola, and countless others. It describes the classic principles of symmetry, harmony, and proportion as well as the ancients' methods, materials, and aesthetics. Authoritative translation by a distinguished Harvard professor.
Paperback, 331 pages
Published June 1st 1960 by Dover Publications (first published -15)
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The Four Books of Architecture by Andrea PalladioThe Ten Books on Architecture by VitruviusA Pattern Language by Christopher W. AlexanderA Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia McAlesterThe Architecture of the City by Aldo Rossi
Best Traditional Architecture
2nd out of 98 books — 36 voters
Architecture by Francis D.K. ChingArchitects' Data by Ernst NeufertThe Poetics of Space by Gaston BachelardA Visual Dictionary of Architecture by Francis D.K. ChingThe Architecture of the City by Aldo Rossi
Must-Read Architecture Books
25th out of 79 books — 75 voters


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Community Reviews

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زاهي رستم
من الرائع أن نتعرف على أقدم الكتب المعمارية.. والتي ينبغي لكل معماري الإطلاع عليه.. وعلينا الاعتراف أن فيتروفيوس ليس فقط معماري، بل هو معلم حيث قام بنقل معارفه المعمارية عبر كتبه العشرة.. والتي أنتجت على الأقل الاتسان الفيتروفي (الانسان ذو المقاييس الذهبية).. على يد ليوناردو دافنشي..
John McCreery
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.
Caroline Beatle
Le pongo 2 estrellas porque este libro me aburrió muchísimo, no porque no sea bueno, sino porque es demasiado técnico y a mí no me interesa la arquitectura :c
Pero las partes en que Vitruvio contaba anécdotas y explicaba cosas generales me gustaron y divirtieron mucho.

Sobre la edición que yo leí (trad. Agustín Blánquez): hay varios errores tipográficos, no entendí algunas ~traducciones~ de nombres, y no tengo idea de por qué hay tantos futuros subjuntivos cuando we all know que el futuro subjunti
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Czarny Pies
Dec 20, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone with a basic knowledge of the history of architecture.
Recommended to Czarny by: Janusz Nawracaj
Shelves: art-architecture
Vitruvius
The Ten Books of Architecture by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio ( 80–15 BC) is the first complete treatise that we have on architecture. Reading it is an unmitigated source of joy for someone who has an amateur's interest in architecture or Roman history. People who have simply visited sites Roman buildings (Timgad, Rome, Nimes, or Pompeii) will also take a great pleasure in Vitruvius work as it explains so what of what one has seen at these places.
Little is known about Vitruvius life except t
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عُلا
حلو مع انو في أشياء ما فهمتها لسا عم دور عليها....
اذا تخرج المعماري برتبة فتروفية ....يعني انه معماري ....:)
Newman
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 wel ...more
Christopher
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?
Alexander Kennedy
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 tree ...more
Brent
This is a classic architecture book in the most literal sense that written nearly 2000 years ago by the Roman architect, Vitruvius. Many architects know about it, but I'm not sure how many actually read it. I was surprised to find out that a section on the three virtues of architecture (structure, function, and beauty), which I had been led to believe was a major theme in the reading, was actually confined to a single paragraph hidden in about 600 pages of text.

The text is a treatise designed to
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Jeff Glovsky
Not only a book about "architecture", per se, but a fascinating glimpse into the full scope of city planning, function, design, form and construction which comprise human dwelling. As picture perfect a time (and place) capsule as de Tocqueville, Proust, Joyce, Dostoevsky or Kerouac, the fundamental principles and observations of Vitruvius' time (and place) apply today - wherever humans of a civilization dwell together.

To me, the function of architecture -- its practical use and aesthetic integra
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Colin
Tidbits: this book is brimming with them. Boring to read unless hunting for obscure facts for your Science in the Ancient world course, the book does tend to surprise you with its passim smattering of cultural tidbits. The text is a prime example of the ancients' habit of intermingling religious mythology with all that they did, even if only perfunctorily. An example: while outlining the three 'orders' of temple columns, we read that the origin of each order (Ionic, Doric, Corinthian) is amalgam ...more
Tony Johnson
Although a difficult read, not knowing Greek, this was a fascinating book to read. It was enlightening to learn about the process of design and construction during that time. Having a first hand report on the materials and methods used, the logic and rules for uses of different types of buildings and the technology used then was like opening a time capsule, glimpsing into our ancient beginnings.

It is amazing how much was accomplished with the resources of that time period. But even more amazing
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Kitty
Invaluable for my History of Art course
Satvinder
This really is a treatise! Contrary to my original perception, the text isn't just comment on the appearance and classical orders of buildings; it is a comment on the whole field of architecture, right from its place in and representation of social class through to siting, geometry and construction. A great source of reference but difficult to 'read' / listen to from beginning to end. Shall have to remember to come back to refer to specific chapters when looking at specific elements. A fantastic ...more
Olivia
Apr 02, 2007 Olivia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in beauty, history, architecture, or engineering
I've read this book no less than four times (only twice were required). Vitruvius clearly articulates everything from the uses of different Classical orders to how to lay out a city to how to make catapults and water screws. Fascinating and entertaining.

(I also have a soft spot for it because it's the book I was reading when I met my fiance. I gave him my only copy for our first Valentine's Day, but I never would have done so if I thought I would actually have to part with it.)
Lenka
it´s interesting to realise what all they actually knew in the ancient times
Isidore
Action-packed companion volume to Frontinus' "Aqueducts". If you loved Frontinus and his mass of pages about water flowing, lead pipes, and measurements in Roman numerals then you're in for a treat with Vitruvius. How big are columns supposed to be? What are walls made out of? What's the best dirt to use for cement? All these questions and more are answered in this very long, very descriptive book.

Recommended for people who love history and drywall.
Laura
I frequently re-read this book. I have the major theoretical core concept tattooed on my body - I guess that is a really convincing argument to the value of this book. It is the earliest extant work of architectural theory. Written in ancient Rome by Vitruvius it is the most relevant, important and basic theory text that every architect and student of architecture should read!!
Timothy Ferguson
I listened to this in Librivox recording.


A comprehensive work but it suffers a little from the audio format, as there are mathematical aspects which would be easier to comprehend with diagrams. Interesting little bits of folklore sprinkled through.

Karen Pusin
Sep 10, 2012 Karen Pusin is currently reading it
So, I thought, let's start at the beginning. Read this little book before beginning this treehouse. So far, it has been a real life saver... it has kept me out of the tree a bit longer.
Sofija Bojanovic
It is pure essence of the architecture. Concept of everything that we are building, even today, can be found in this book. It is bible of architecture for all times.
Sandra
Oct 13, 2012 Sandra rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Architect and design students
An architect's manual, it provides thorough detail on architecture during Vitruvius' time. His notes added a foundation for today's architecture.
Penandinkpot Uzma
Required reading in Architecture School. Excellent foundation as guideposts for good architectural design used by the masters.
Susannah
Apr 02, 2007 Susannah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested architecture, classics, engineering
This book is best read while mimicking a jovial German accent a la Dr. Lothar Haselberger. No, really. It's a good one.
Brittany Petruzzi
A strange classic for a non-architecture major to frequently look back on, and yet, I do. Firmitas, utilitas, venustas.
Ginariffic
I read it quickly for a paper I wrote for a history class. I am going to re-read it more carefully this summer.
Christina
Very interesting insight into ancient architectural principals...not for every one, I think, though.
Erik
Wow, mega Cambridge edition with extensive commentary and diagrams of everything. Even a recipe for concrete!
Luke Krzysztofiak
Possibly the most influential work on architecture in existence.
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290501
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born c. 80–70 BC, died after c. 15 BC) was a Roman military engineer under Julius Ceasar, generally attributed to be the sole author of the only extant major work from classical antiquity on architecture, De architectura, better known in English as The Ten Books on Architecture.
More about Vitruvius...
On Architecture, Volume I: Books 1-5 On Architecture, Volume II: Books 6-10 Compendio de Los Diez Libros de Arquitectura de Vitruvio (1761) Dell' Architettura Di M. Vitruvio Pollione, Volume 1 An Abridgment of the Architecture of Vitruvius

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