The Ten Books on Architecture, 6.4

Vitruvius  translated by Morris Hicky Morgan

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The Proper Exposures of the Different Rooms

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.

2Dining rooms for Spring and Autumn to the east; for when the windows face that quarter, the sun, as he goes on his career from over against them to the west, leaves such rooms at the proper temperature at the time when it is customary to use them. Summer dining rooms to the north, because that quarter is not, like the others, burning with heat during the solstice, for the reason that it is unexposed to the sun’s course, and hence it always keeps cool, and makes the use of the rooms both healthy and agreeable. Similarly with picture galleries, embroiderers’ work rooms, and painters’ studios, in order that the fixed light may permit the colours used in their work to last with qualities unchanged.

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