De Architectura Libri Dece

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. De Architectura Libri Dece. Como: Gottardo de Ponte, 1521.

This singular text book on city planning and building design by Vitruvius (90 B.C. - 20 B.C.) is the only surviving source material on classical Greek and Roman architecture theory and practice, aside from the ruins themselves.  Far from simply a handbook for the architect, though, Vitruvius’ work is a guide to understanding architecture, broadly considered as everything that touches on the physical and intellectual life of man and his environment.  Consequently, the text covers such wide topics as pavement and decorative plaster work, water supplies, weather considerations, geometry, astronomy, and the human body.  The “Vitruvian Man,” best known through Leonardo da Vinci’s rendition, explores the human body as an anatomical wonder of design worthy of architectural study.

Link: Archimedes Project article about Vitruvius.