The Ten Books on Architecture, 6.4

Vitruvius  translated by Joseph Gwilt

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Of the Proper Aspects of Different Sorts of Buildings

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.

2Spring and autumn triclinia should be towards the east, for then, if the windows be closed till the sun has passed the meridian, they are cool at the time they are wanted for use. Summer triclinia should be towards the north, because that aspect, unlike others, is not heated during the summer solstice, but, on account of being turned away from the course of the sun, is always cool, and affords health and refreshment. Pinacothecæ should have the same aspect, as well as rooms for embroidering and painting, that the colours used therein, by the equability of the light, may preserve their brilliancy.

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