Related Sites & images
Hadrian’s Villa
Horaces’ Villa

Related Texts
Alberti, On the Art of Building in Ten Books
Palladio, The Four Books on Architecture

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Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture ( 1st century BCE)

Chapter VI: The Farmhouse

1. In the first place, inspect the country from the point of view of health, in accordance with what is written in my first book, on the building of cities, and let your farmhouses be situated accordingly. Their dimensions should depend upon the size of the farm and the amount of produce. Their couryards and the dimensions thereof should be determined by the number of cattle and number of yokes of oxen taht will need to be kept therein. Let the kitchen be placed on the warmest side of the courtyard, with the stalls for the oxen adjoining, and their cribs facing the kitchen fire and the eastern quarter of the sky, for the reason that oxen facing the light and the fire do not get rough-coated. Even peasants wholly without knowledge of the quarters of the sky believe that oxen ought to face only in the direction of the sunrise.

2. Their stalls ought to be not less than ten nor more than fifteen feet wide, and long enough to allow not less than seven feet for each yoke. Bathrooms, also, should adjoin the kitchen; for in this situation it will not take long to get ready a bath in the country.


6. We must take care that all buildings are well lighted, but this is obviously an easier matter with those whcih are on country estaets, because there can be no neighbor’s wall to interfere, whereas in town hgih party walls or limited space obstruct the ligth and make them dark. Hence we must apply the following test in this matter. On the side from which the light should be obtained let a line be stretched from the top of hte wall that seems to obstruct the light to the oint at which it ought to be introduced, and if a considerable space of op[en sky can be seen when one looks up above that line, there will be no obstruction to the light in that situation.

7. But if there are timbers in the way, or lintels, or upper stories, then, make the opening highter up and introduce the light in this way. And as a general rule, we must arrange so as to leav places for windows on all sides on which a clear view of the sky can be had, for this will make our buildings light. Not only in dining rooms and other rooms for general use are windows very necessary, but also in passages, level or inclined, and on stairs; for people carrying burdens too often meet and run against each other in such places.

Vitruvius. The Ten Books on Architecture. Transl. Morris Hicky Morgan. New York: Dover Publications, 1960, pp. 183–185.

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