The Ten Books on Architecture, 6.4.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 6.3.11 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 6.4.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

4I shall now describe how the different sorts of buildings are placed as regards their aspects. Winter triclinia and baths are to face the winter west,because the afternoon light is wanted in them; and not less so because the setting sun casts its rays upon them, and by its heat warms the aspect towards the evening hours. Bed chambers and libraries should be towards the east, for their purposes require the morning light: in libraries the books are in this aspect preserved from decay; those that are towards the south and west are injured by the worm and by the damp, which the moist winds generate and nourish, and spreading the damp, make the books mouldy.

Morgan translation

4We shall next explain how the special purposes of different rooms require different exposures, suited to convenience and to the quarters of the sky. Winter dining rooms and bathrooms should have a southwestern exposure, for the reason that they need the evening light, and also because the setting sun, facing them in all its splendour but with abated heat, lends a gentler warmth to that quarter in the evening. Bedrooms and libraries ought to have an eastern exposure, because their purposes require the morning light, and also because books in such libraries will not decay. In libraries with southern exposures the books are ruined by worms and dampness, because damp winds come up, which breed and nourish the worms, and destroy the books with mould, by spreading their damp breath over them.