Vitruvius and Abbot Suger, Article Review Example

Architecture is both the product and process of planning, designing, and constructing physical structures and buildings. Architectural works in the form of buildings are seen as works of art and cultural buildings. The main themes in architecture are order, propriety, eurythmy, economy, and symmetry. This is because order gives the measure of the work required to the members working on the order. It also gives symmetrical agreement to the measures of the whole order to the members. This will assist the members working on the selected modules to construct the whole work as per the requirements of the order. Vitruvius expressed that it is very important to plan and design before staring the construction work in any building. This will help in making the building strong and defensive as per the well planned foundation (William 163).

The forms of expression of the order include elevation, ground plan, and perspective. The ground plan is made by use of successive rule and compass, which gives the outlines of the plane surface of the building. Propriety is a style that comes when work is constructed according to authorities on approved principles. Propriety will arise when buildings having magnificent interiors are used and provided with elegant entrance courts. In a low mean entrance, there is no propriety in a spectacle of elegant interior approach. Eurythmy is fitness and beauty in the adjustments of the members. It is found on situations when members’ height suit to the breadth, breadth situated to their length, and when all correspond symmetrically.

Perspective is the method of sketching the front sides, which will withdraw to the background and all lines, which meet at the centre of the circle. All these three comes in because of invention and reflection. Invention involves discovering new principles by means of versatility and brilliance and solving intricate problems. On the other hand, reflection is laborious and careful thought and watchful attention, which is directed to the agreeable effect of the plan (Pollio 221). Symmetry is the agreement between members of the work, the relation between different parts and the general scheme. This is in accordance to the parts selected as standard. For example in the human body, there is a symmetrical harmony between all parts. This is between foot, forearm, finger palm, and others. The same thing applies to the buildings. Abbot Suger appreciated his team of workers for the cooperation they showed and applied in for three years to complete their work. This was during summer and winter when they were constructing.

Economy deals with proper management of the materials and other items in the site of construction. It also deals with balancing costs of construction works. This is arrived at the situations where the engineers are not demanding items, which cannot be found and made ready without spending more funds. In addition, economy is also applied when dwelling places are planned in different kind suitable for great wealth and ordinary household for the statesman.

Another important theme is the department in architecture. Architecture has three departments, which include construction of machinery, making of timepieces, and the art of building. Building is divided into construction of fortified towns for general use in public places and construction of structures for private individuals. Public building has three classes, which include buildings for utilitarian, defensive, and religious purposes. In relation to defensive, it involves planning of walls, gates, towers, and other permanent devices for resistance against hostile attackers.

Religious buildings are whereby temples and fanes are erected for the immortal gods. Utilitarian buildings are whereby spacious rooms are constructed for the purposes of public use where anyone can participate. Examples of utilitarian buildings include harbors, theaters, and markets for public use (Panofsky, 125). All these building must be constructed in reference to convenience, durability, and beauty. Durability begins when the foundation is started where the dwellers will be assured that the building is durable. William Durandus explained in his writing that, the glass windows in churches represent Holy Scriptures, which expel rain and wind from hurting the people inside. This shows the designed used in construction for protection. Convenience involves a process of partitioning the apartments to suit the purpose of the building. Beauty will involve the appearance and taste of the building which will attract the users.


Panofsky, Erwin. Abbot Suger on the Abbey Church of St.-Denis and Its Art Treasures, New York: Princeton University Press, 1979

William, Duranti. The Foundational Symbolism of the Early Church, Its Structure, Decoration, Sacraments and Vestments, United States: FONS VITAE (KY), 2007

Pollio, Vitruvius. The Ten Books on Architecture, United States: Harvard University Press, 1914