Christopher Fapohunda


Introduction: Ten Books on Architecture (De Architectura) is a treatise by Vitruvius that describes construction work, as taught and practiced in the 1st century. In it, the functions and duties performed in the built environment by architects, construction workers, civil engineers, surveyors, sculptors, decorators, etc., are all lumped together into either architecture or civil engineering. However, for civil engineers, who operate both in built and unbuilt environments, the scope and depth of subjects covered by this work could serve as useful resources as they develop their competences in core practical aspects of civil engineering. Materials and Methods: This paper explores Ten Books on Architecture in relation to civil engineering in the 21st century. The materials used for this work were obtained from internet sources, university libraries, textbooks, write-ups and commentaries that were purchased from open markets and bookshops. Results: The review shows that: (i) the profession of the architect, used in the times of Vitruvius interchangeably with the civil engineer and town planner, as well as the very concept of architecture or civil engineering, in terms of social standing, differs significantly from the present times; (ii) most of the projects discussed in the book form the core of what is classified in the 21st century as civil engineering; (iii) civil engineers ought to be versatile in the art solving of problems that may arise during the course of construction, both in the built and unbuilt environments; and (iv) the buildability issues of civil engineering make knowledge of how to assemble simple construction equipment a necessity. Conclusion: Though not recommended in the curriculum, a working knowledge of either Latin or Greek will help to make the book an indispensable companion for structural and civil engineering practitioners and also enhance their performance capacity.


architecture, built environment, civil engineering, structural materials.

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