The Ten Books on Architecture, 6.8.10

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 6.8.9 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 7.0.1 ›››

Gwilt translation

10These will ever be apparent when he submits to listen to the opinions even of workmen, and ignorant persons. For other men, as well as architects, can distinguish the good from the bad; but between the ignorant man and the architect there is this difference, that the first can form no judgment till he sees the thing itself; whereas the architect, having a perfect idea in his mind, can perceive the beauty, convenience, and propriety of his design, before it is begun. I have laid down as clearly as I could the rules necessary for the construction of private buildings: in the following book I shall treat of the method of finishing them, so that they may be elegant and durable.

Morgan translation

10Such results, however, may very well be brought about when he allows himself to take the advice both of workmen and of laymen. In fact, all kinds of men, and not merely architects, can recognize a good piece of work, but between laymen and the latter there is this difference, that the layman cannot tell what it is to be like without seeing it finished, whereas the architect, as soon as he has formed the conception, and before he begins the work, has a definite idea of the beauty, the convenience, and the propriety that will distinguish it.

I have now described as clearly as I could what I thought necessary for private houses, and how to build them. In the following book I shall treat of the kinds of polished finish employed to make them elegant, and durable without defects to a great age.