Jane Griswold Radocchia


Architect / Geometer / Historian




Jane Griswold Radocchia



Architect - Geometer - Historian





Jane Griswold Radocchia is an architect.

Jane studies practical geometry and vernacular architecture.

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Below are some of her latest blog posts, some others can be found on this web site's Archive


Jane Griswold Radocchia

Jane Griswold Radocchia

Jane Griswold Radocchia

Jane Griswold Radocchia


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Traditional Building Conference
June 11-12
Hanover, NH

Speaker: Jane Griswold Radocchia
Using the Historic Practice of Practical Geometry Today



Saturday, May 25, 2024


A Daisy wheel is a Module

Andrea Palladio wrote that he chose to use a Module to lay out the columns he drew.*

All the dimensions which he noted were derived from the diameter of the column measured at the bottom: the height of the column, the capital, architrave, frieze and cornice.

He wrote, " ..in the dividing and measuring the said orders, I would not make use of any certain and determinate measure peculiar to any city, as a cubit, foot, or palm, knowing that these several measures differ as much as the cities and countries; but imitating Vitruvius, who divides the Doric order with a measure taken from the thickness or diameter of the columns, common to all, and by him called a module, I shall make use of the same measure in all the orders."

The cross section, the diameter, of a column is a circle.

A daisy wheel is a circle. It's easy to draw with a compass or dividers.

It is a module.

This sheathing board leans against my corn crib. It was siding for a timber framed shed, part of a farm complex in Danby, Vermont. The board is 10' tall, angled at the top to fit under the roof eaves.

Today it folds in 2 places. It fits in my car; it stands on its own at a conference, ready to be seen and examined.

The daisy wheel was cut into the board at a height of 42" above the floor, a good height for the builder and his crew who would have set their dividers to its width. They all needed to be using the exact same dimension (their module) as they laid out their work.

This daisy wheel's diameter is slightly more than 8 inches.

The wheel is just above the center of the photo. In the images below the board has been laid down.

Dividers set from one petal to the other across from it, the diameter of the daisy wheel.

Note the holes on the circumference and the center left by previous users.

Here the dividers, set open at the same angle, are rotated 60* farther around the circumference. They are at the points of another pair of daisy wheel petals, the circle's diameter. The distance is the same as it was before.

Note the holes are not quite on the petals tips, rather they are on the circumference of the circle. Many daisy wheels were not precise.

Here the dividers points have been slipped into the holes drilled by all the previous carpenters' dividers.

My dividers slid right in place, so secure they stood by themselves.

I had never tried this before - I was surprised and awed: my placement was one that many had done before me.

The black marks on the board above the daisy wheel are the holes left by rusty nails.

* Andrea Palladio, Four Books on Architecture, 1570, Isaac Ware English Translation, 1738, Dover reprint, 1965. Palladio's statement about modules is on page 13, First Book. The image of the Doric Order is Plate XII, First Book.




As an architect based in Bennington, VT. and Andover, MA. I work with old houses and the families who love them.

For 40 years I have helped owners restore, repair, renovate and expand their houses.

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.

Writing a column in the local newspaper, Sunday Drives, gave me my voice. I enjoy sharing what I see; so I give lectures and teach seminars.

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

Mary said...
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