ROCKINGHAM — Architectural historian Jane Radocchia will present “By Straight Edge and Compass — Architectural Geometry of the Rockingham Meeting House” on Saturday, May 22, from 3 to 4 pm. This is the third in a series of talks sponsored by the Rockingham Historic Preservation Commission in partnership with the Rockingham Free Public Library. The free lecture will be via Zoom.
On Saturday, June 9, 1787 under the direction of John Fuller, citizens of Rockingham came together to raise the frame of their hilltop acropolis. How was the frame laid out? Country builders such as Fuller knew well the elements of practical geometry. With a compass, straight-edge, and scribe, Fuller set out the modules, parts, timber dimensions, and planned and marked the joinery.
This way of designing was known by the Egyptians and Greeks, mentioned in the Bible, discussed by the Roman architect Vitruvius, and understood by Renaissance architects. Methods were passed on through oral traditions amongst master carpenters and joiners. Radocchia will introduce this geometry and show how it was used by Fuller. She will also touch on Benjamin Asher and his 1797 book “The Country Builder,” the first architectural handbook published in America.
A working architect focusing on conservation and restoration of early American houses and barns, Radocchia is a graduate of Oberlin College and the MIT School of Architecture. Bennington-based, she has worked on more than 1,200 projects in the Northeast over the past 40 years.
For an invitation to the Zoom program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the library at 802-463-4270. For those who do not have a computer, there is an alternative method of joining Zoom through a phone call.
The series is made possible through funding from the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service.