The Ten Books on Architecture, 6.8.9

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 6.8.8 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 6.8.10 ›››

Gwilt translation

9The quality of the materials it is not in the power of the architect to control: for the same species of materials are not found in every place; and it depends on the employer whether the building shall be of brick, of rough stone, or of squared stone. The merit of every work is considered under three heads; the excellence of the workmanship, and the magnificence and design thereof. When a work is conducted as magnificently as possible, its cost is admired; when well built, the skill of the workman is praised; when beautifully, the merit belongs to the architect, on account of the proportion and symmetry which enter into the design.

Morgan translation

9As for the kind of material to be used, this does not depend upon the architect, for the reason that all kinds of materials are not found in all places alike, as has been shown in the first book. Besides, it depends on the owner whether he desires to build in brick, or rubble work, or dimension stone. Consequently the question of approving any work may be considered under three heads: that is, delicacy of workmanship, sumptuousness, and design. When it appears that a work has been carried out sumptuously, the owner will be the person to be praised for the great outlay which he has authorized; when delicately, the master workman will be approved for his execution; but when proportions and symmetry lend it an imposing effect, then the glory of it will belong to the architect.