Active in the first century BCE, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio wrote his influential architectural treatise in ten books. It remained the standard manual for architects into the medieval period. The topics which Vitruvius considered essential are diverse, including aspects of design as well as geometry and engineering. In the nineteenth century, the English architect and author Joseph Gwilt (1784-1863) won greater acclaim for the books he published than for the buildings he designed. His most celebrated achievement, The Encyclopaedia of Architecture (1842), is also reissued in this series. Gwilt's one-volume translation of Vitruvius's Latin text was first published in 1826. Supplanting previous versions, this work was long regarded as the standard edition in English. It contains a brief life of Vitruvius as well as an annotated list of previous editions since the fifteenth century. A number of detailed illustrative plates accompany the text.
The architect should be equipped with knowledge of many branches of study and varied kinds of learning, for it is by his judgement that all work done by the other arts is put to test. This knowledge is the child of practice and theory. Practice is the continuous and regular exercise of employment where manual work is done with any necessary material according to the design of a drawing. Theory, on the other hand, is the ability to demonstrate and explain the productions of dexterity on the principles of proportion.
IT’s related by Historians, That Men, who in former times inhabited Woods and Caverns like wild Beasts, first assembled themselves to make Houses and Cities, which was occasioned by a Forest that was set on fire, which drew all the Inhabitants together by its novelty and surprizing effects; so that many Men meeting together in the same place, they found out means, by helping one another, to harbour themselves more conveniently, than in Caves and under Trees; so that it is pretended, that Architecture was the Beginning and Original of all other Arts. For Men seeing that they had success in Building, which necessity made them invent, they had the Thoughts and Courage of seeking out other Arts, and applying themselves to them.