Doctor’s Hippocratic Oath – Architect’s Vitruvian Virtues


What is the equavalent of doctor’s famous Hippocratic Oath to uphold their ethical standard? Architects have the Vitruvian Virtues, while not strictly an oath it does provide an ethos for what architecture must do. Vitruvius is what Hippocrates to doctors, being a principal figure in the history of architecture, due to his contribution of a ten volume book titled De Architectura or The Ten Books on Architecture.

Vitruvian virtues asserts that architecture must have three qualities of firmitas, utilitas, venustas – simply translated as structure, function, form. To be structurally sound and durable, functional and comfortable and finally aesthetically beautiful.

“All these must be built with due reference to durability, convenience, and beauty. Durability will be assured when foundations are carried down to the solid ground and materials wisely and liberally selected; convenience, when the arrangement of the apartments is faultless and presents no hindrance to use, and when each class of building is assigned to its suitable and appropriate exposure; and beauty, when the appearance of the work is pleasing and in good taste, and when its members are in due proportion according to correct principles of symmetry.” – Vitruvius Pollio,

De Architectura, Chapter III: Orders of Architecture

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