### Geometrical figures overlaid on an architectural drawing

**Caption:**

Fig. 11. Root-3 geometric proportions in the Jefferson
Rotunda. Thomas Jefferson, University of Virginia:
Rotunda, South Elevation, 1819. Image courtesy of the
Thomas Jefferson Papers, Special Collections,
University of Virginia Library (N-328, K No. 8). Geometric
overlay: Rachel Fletcher.

**Context:**

The Jefferson Rotunda, South Elevation: Root-3
Proportions ( Fig. 11 ). As in the Pantheon, a
circle traces the exterior surface of the Rotunda
dome. In fact, Jefferson draws such a circle, dotted
in ink ( Fig. 2 ). A new circle of equal radius is drawn
from the top of the dome. The result is a vesica
piscis , with vertical and horizontal axes in 1:sqrt(3) ratio.
The horizontal axis locates the base of the dome, which
spans 120°“. A notation by Jefferson specifies that half
the dome's surface spans "60°“. [ 13 ]

A square is drawn about the circle. Its base locates
the baseline of the Rotunda. In addition, the top of
the dome locates one apex of an equilateral triangle.
The remaining two apexes touch the right and left sides of
the square, while locating the floor level of the
portico. The half-side of the equilateral triangle and
its altitude are equal in length to the axes of the
vesica piscis , in 1:sqrt(3) ratio.

**Source:**

Fletcher, R. (2003). An American Vision of Harmony:
Geometric Proportions in Thomas Jefferson's Rotunda at the
University of Virginia. *Nexus Network Journal.
Architecture and Mathematics Online, 5*(2).

Full paper (PDF)

**Notes:**

From an Open Source journal. (RPF)

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