Fir Tree House

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Tim
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:52 pm

Fir Tree House

Post by Tim »


SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Excellent photos by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer . . . or so credited.

The house seems to be in grand shape, and good hands.

SDR

JPB_1971
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Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:50 am

Post by JPB_1971 »

In good hands indeed and definitely with some features not seen in any other Wright house, or at least any other to my knowledge. The built-in seating in the gallery (instead of the typical storage cabinets) and the exposed truss system in the great room are indeed unique. I'd love to see a detail sheet of the truss design - from the photos I can't tell if trusses are "let in" to the other supporting members at the points they intersect. I don't really see any metal collars or fasteners at these intersecting areas (although perhaps I didn't look closely enough!). In any event a treat to see this enigmatic work, or at least until now...

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

There are several (labor-intensive) methods for making two structural members to intersect; a couple are illustrated below. But I believe you will find that, at the Fir Tree house, only one of each pair of crossing members is performing a structural job; the secondary member is simply cut and butted to the primary one.

Notching each member equally would reduce both to one half of their nominal section -- and not much more than half of the consequent strength. "A chain is as strong as its weakest link."


Image

Image

Image

Image


Of these examples, most are suited to decorative use, or load-bearing structure at the scale of furniture. Only the first image depicts a method that might be found in light building construction -- in my estimation. An even more elaborate, stronger intersection could be achieved by laminating many thin members into a beam, with the intersection configured as a two-way (continuous) finger joint . . .

SDR

Tom
Posts: 3217
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

Thanks for the post. I would have missed this otherwise. First time I've seen inside this place.

pharding
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Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: River Forest, Illinois
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Post by pharding »

This is the first that I ever saw that house and I have every major book on FLW. That house is ultra-cool and timeless. That family is a great steward for that wonderful architectural work. I enjoy the economy of materials and elegant details. What a great house by a great architect.
Last edited by pharding on Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

peterm
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Just amazing, and perfectly presented, decorated and photographed! What a delight...

Laurie Virr
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Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:32 pm

Post by Laurie Virr »

I have never seen images of this house previously. and find it interesting to compare the roof structure with that of the Richard Davis house at Marion, Indiana.

The Davis house is another attempt by Frank Lloyd Wright to resuscitate the Lake Tahoe project. The Type A roof trusses in the living/dining area are rotated so that one of the top chords is vertical, and fixed to the chimney mass, whilst the bottom chord forms the roof pitch. The other top chord is carried by the window mullions, and forms the sloping ceiling and soffit.

It is worthy of study.

Tom
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Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

The use of wood shakes stand out for me here. I can't think of another house right off hand that does so except for those early Chicago houses.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

The clerestory separating "crown" from "brim" is a vital element, never before revealed in full because we had no interior or (night-lighted) exterior photo.

The back-rest upholstery to the bench seat is a unique solution, whether by Wright or others: comfort is provided for individual sitters (reducing the waiting-room atmosphere) while the boards of the construction are revealed as they wouldn't otherwise be. The yellow fabric is a nice shade, too, I'd say.

SDR

egads
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Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:42 am
Location: Long Beach CA

Post by egads »

Next to the fire is perhaps one of the most comfortable looking chairs Wright ever designed. At first I was drawn to the rear legs jutting out like a pair of skis. Then I though it might be a chase. In another photo it is reveled to be a chair and ottoman. I wonder if the back is adjustable?

Craig
Posts: 564
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 7:25 am
Location: California

Post by Craig »

Wonderful! This has to be the least-known of all standing Wright's houses. I tried to find it when I lived in New Mexico but even the exact address is impossible to find. It's somewhere in Pecos, east of Santa Fe. I wonder why the owner(s) finally allowed these photographs to be published? I'd love to see more photographs.
ch

Paul Ringstrom
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Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Arnold Freidman House (1945) Pecos, NM

Unbelievable, Wright has been dead for 54 years and we are still discovering (mostly unknown & unpublished) houses! Amazing!
Last edited by Paul Ringstrom on Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Well -- not completely unpublished. Storrer found it, after all, and shows one black-and-white photo . . .


SDR

dkottum
Posts: 427
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 8:52 pm
Location: Battle Lake, MN

Post by dkottum »

There are intersecting structural members supporting the roof of the Wyoming Valley School, which allow for a clerestory set back from the walls. We stopped by some 18 years ago, and a man was there with a stepladder doing some repair on them.

Curious how the were joined I climbed up for a look. The cross member was butted and fastened to the through member with perhaps a 1 1/2" x 1/4" steel plate about 6' long, one on top and (I think I remember) one on the bottom, lag bolts about a foot apart fastening the steel to the wood. The (fir?) structural members were then wrapped on the three visible sides with 1/8" Luan plywood.

Another trick from the magician.

doug k

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