So I was continuing on with At Home by Bill Bryson yesterday, in a chapter on domestic architecture, when I came upon this paragraph...
Palladio's methods were based on rigorous adherence to rules, and were modeled on the precepts of Vitruvius, a Roman architect of the first century BC. Vitruvius wasn't a particularly distinguished architect. He was really more of a military engineer. What made him valuable to history was the accidental fact that his writings survived - the only architectural work from classical antiquity to do so. A lone copy of Vitruvius' text on architecture was found on a shelf at a monastery in Switzerland in 1415. Vitruvius laid down exceedingly specific rules regarding proportions, orders, shapes, materials and anything else that could be quantified. Formulas ruled everything in his world. The amount of spacing between columns in a row, say, could never be left to instinct or feeling, but was dictated by strict formulas designed to confer an automatic and reliable harmony. This could be dizzyingly particular.
From At Home by Bill Bryson, page 411 - 412.
No wonder Vitruvius was the master masterbuilder.