The building of the primitive hut after Vitruvius Teutsch.

The building of the primitive hut after Vitruvius Teutsch.

“At a certain moment it so happened that thick, crowded trees buffeted by the storm and wind, rubbed their branches together so that they caught fire: such men as witnessed this were terrified and fled. After the flames had calmed down, they came nearer, and having realized the comfort their bodies drew from the warmth of the fire, they added wood to it, and so keeping it alive they summoned others and pointed it out with signs showing how useful it might be. In this meeting of men sounds were uttered at different pitch, to which, through continued daily exercise, they gave customary value to the chance syllables. Then, by pointing to the things in most common use, they began to talk to each other because of this accident. Since the invention of fire brought about the congress of men, and their counsel together and cohabitation, and since many people now met in one place, and had moreover been given a gift by nature above that of other animals, that they did not walk with their heads down, but upright, and could see the splendor of the world and the stars; and since they could make whatever they wished with their hands and fingers easily, some of that company began to make roofs of leaves, others to dig hollows under the hills, yet others made places for shelter in imitation of the nests and buildings of swallows out of mud and wattle. Then, observing the construction of others, and by their own reasoning adding new things, as time went on they built better dwellings. Since men were of an imitative and docile nature, glorying in their daily inventions, they would show each other the results of their building; and so, employing their abilities in competition, they gradually improved their judgment. At first, setting up forked posts, and putting withies between them, they finished their walls with mud. Others built walls out of dried clods, framed with wood, and covered with reeds and leaves to keep out rain and heat. When, during the winter, the roofs could not resist the rains, they devised gables, and smearing the inclined roofs with clay, they made the rain water run off.”

 
- Vitruvius on Architecture, Edited and translated by Frank Granger. 2 vols. London and Cambridge, Mass., 1933