Jane Griswold Radocchia is an architect.
Jane studies practical geometry and vernacular architecture.
Below are some of her latest blog posts,
others can be found in the Archive
Jane Griswold Radocchia
Jane Griswold Radocchia
workshop for the Preservation Carpentry program at the
North Bennet Street School
April 12-13, 2023.
Sebastiano Serlio, 1475-1554, wrote 7 books 'On Architecture and Perspective' .
A contemporary of Palladio and Vignola, he spent much of his career in France working for King Francois I. The first part of his treatise was published in 1537.
Here he is with his compass.
The cover of Book I includes this drawing of builders' tools across the bottom, including a tetrahedron and a cube with diagonals, squares and circles on its face, in the right corner.*
What's the cube about? I didn't know, but I am beginning to find out.
Book III, On Antiquities includes the illustration and measured plan of this temple outside of Rome, now thought to be the Sepulchre of the Cercenni.
He writes that it was "built partly of brick, partly of marble and to a large extent ruinous."
To read the geometry look at
1) the square, its diagonals which mark the outside of the temple including the bays;
2) the circle which fits within the square which mark the corners of the temple itself;
3) the square which fits within the circle locating the outside of the walls.
Rotate the first square 90* to make an 8 pointed star. The intersections of the stars points mark the outside corners of the bays.
The inner square (barely visible in red) was not used.
Here is the how the master mason could have used geometry to lay out the plan on site.
The red square was probably the beginning. It is the foot print for the walls.Then the diagonals, the circle around it, and the next square were added. These set the depth of the bays.
Next the outer square was rotated. It crossed the large square at 8 points. Those points when joined laid out the width of the bays.
The lines set the perimeter of the plan.
The mason had his foundation plan and could set his lines.
I usually find that the interior geometry of a masonry building is laid out from the inner side of the walls. This is practical: reaching over the walls with lines would not have been easy nor accurate.
The square and its circle neatly locate the columns which support the vaulting.
Try this one too:
His books are listed in my bibliography :
As an architect based in Bennington, VT. and Andover, MA. I work with old houses and the families who love them.
During this time, I have worked with over 1200 houses, some modern, some 300 years old.
I am an architectural historian by accident. I found I was showing friends and clients the historic environment they lived in but did not see.
I know from my work as an architect how available materials and technology influence design and construction.
I am most interested in vernacular architecture, how we built to suit our climate and our needs using the tools and materials we had.
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Architecture (Current Blog)
Passing By (Original Blog)
Sunday Drives (Original Blog)
Comments / Reflections
Thank you so much for this lovely article. This church was well loved & had at least a dozen families attending when it closed down. It is sad to see it be torn down, instead of being preserved as a community space. The one blessing is that we can finally see the beautiful architectural elements you describe, which were hidden to all of us by the drop ceiling. Lovely that the church still stands in this elemental fashion for a few more months. More