The Ten Books on Architecture, 5.2

Vitruvius  translated by Morris Hicky Morgan

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The Treasury, Prison, and Senate House

2The treasury, prison, and senate house ought to adjoin the forum, but in such a way that their dimensions may be proportionate to those of the forum. Particularly, the senate house should be constructed with special regard to the importance of the town or city. If the building is square, let its height be fixed at one and one half times its breadth; but if it is to be oblong, add together its length and breadth and, having got the total, let half of it be devoted to the height up to the coffered ceiling.

2Further, the inside walls should be girdled, at a point halfway up their height, with coronae made of woodwork or of stucco. Without these, the voice of men engaged in discussion there will be carried up to the height above, and so be unintelligible to their listeners. But when the walls are girdled with coronae, the voice from below, being detained before rising and becoming lost in the air, will be intelligible to the ear.

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