De L’Orme theorizes his architecture in Premier tome de l’architecture, and more precisely spreads his knowledge of stone cutting: stereotomy. Indeed, the book is strewn with several very precise drawings from several angles of constructions and how they should be done. He also gives advice on where to build and the issue of soils and prevailing winds as they relate to building sites. The author speaks to the glory of classical architecture and the styles of the Italian Renaissance.
The author makes an autobiography of the richness of his expertise mixing Italian and French art for the first time. Previously the relationship between design and construction could diverge due to the lack of detail and quality of the architect’s drawings, here the author brings in the general design as well as the question of the fabrication of buildings. The architect begins his book with a severe criticism of his own works, which directly confronts the reader with a reflection and allows the writer to demonstrate on what has been achieved what could still be added. Between arrogance and modesty, he introduces a certain self-mockery necessary for learning.
Although it is said to be adressed in the second volume, which will never be published, the architect claims to be the first to formulate a theory of divine proportions, rules he says are dictated directly from God to man. He states his surprise at the ignorance of these proportions and the fact that they had not been implemented before. Without going into any real depth about them, de L’Orme leaves the reader with a very obscure theory; however, the elements illustrated in the first volume offer a key to understanding the composition of the writing as well as the author’s intellectual development. Furthermore, there is also a paradox between the universally used rules of architectural proportions that the author used to construct his buildings and the divine proportions that he says he would use if he could reconstruct his works.