Seth Peterson Cottage Site Plan

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outside in
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Post by outside in »

no, steel is set into a beam pocket in the masonry, that's it.

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »

ok ... it's just let into a pocket and rests there w/ the load above it pushing down, then .... ok, thanks


David

Tom
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Post by Tom »

Little details like that seem like big knowledge to me. I appreciate the question and of course the answer. Thank you.

OutsideIn mentions bearing points for the roof along the main window wall. From what I can tell of the framing plan there are two bearing points that carry continuous framing members over the window wall terminating at the edge of the roof. It is hard to read the plans but I think I see them called out as "stl. plate flitch beams" ... Is that correct?

outside in
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Post by outside in »

yes, the two primary supports are flitched with steel plates. I believe the drawing is not complete in that we also flitched the perimeter framing at the front eave to ensure that the corners would not droop over time. (Field change).

Odd thing is that this project would be done differently today - more laminated lumber supports and open-cell insulation. The framing concept would remain.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

As to the exclusion of Lovness Cottage from Storrer's book, originally, in the first edition (1974), the Lovness House was presented as a "Private Residence," with a rough sketch but no photo, mention of the cottage or address. This was also done for Spencer, Boswell and Marden, all of whom, apparently, were jealous of their privacy.

For the 1982 edition, Lovness Cottage was given number A435 with the following text:
"This and the Seth Petersen [sic] cottage (430) were built from the same basic plan. Here, however, no compromise was allowed in plan or materials. The butterfly [sic] roof projection was engineered by William Wesley Peters. A full basement foundation was required by the sandy, hilly site above Woodpile Lake. Furnishings are from the first designs by Wright for Aline Barnsdall's Hollyhock House (208)."

Later editions deleted the cottage.

FLW designed the cottage for Peterson in 1958, and Lovness chose to build it in 1976, after Storrer's first edition had already appeared. What may make Lovness seem over-designed is not the architecture, but the furnishings. When I first visited in 1984, Don and Virginia had moved into the Cottage and rented the House out for $500/month! Along with them, they brought a lot of their personal collection, which was extensive. I think the cottage may have been a bit overwhelmed by it all.

It's worth noting that while Virginia laid the stone for the house (while hubby was away at 3M), professional masons built the cottage. Yet the stonework in the house is superior to the cottage.

Tom
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Post by Tom »

Eifler's book on the Peterson Cottage came today. Very informative from front to back and not merely about the technical aspects of the "rehabilitation" but about the entire process.

The discussion of the roof and especially the photographs of the framing were very helpful. It's taken me awhile but I think I've finally understood that Wright eliminated the header in his framing construction. At least in the Usonians. I may be wrong but I don't think in anything else I've ever read that this fact is so explicitly stated. Sargent certainly does not say that ... I think. It's amazing to me. Frank Lloyd Wright eliminated the header in his residential construction. Or maybe it's best said that he eliminated the traditional header. Still, amazing to me in either case. The Usonians really are a complete and total rethinking of basic construction practices. Remarkable.

Anyway, the book is concisely written and I'm glad I own it.

Laurie Virr
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Post by Laurie Virr »

DRN will correct me if I am incorrect, but I recall that the Sweeton house [1950] has a member behind the fascia that is called up as a header on the drawings. I have always understood the header to be the vehicle by which any discrepancies in rafter length can be ironed out, enabling the fascia to remain in a straight plane.

Tom
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Post by Tom »

The term probably has a broad use. What I mean specifically are horizontal members used as structural beams, at the top of windows and the top of walls that transfer loads to vertical members that take it to ground.

And if I am not mistaken the headers behind the fascia at the edge of the roof in a Usonian house do act as "traditional flush headers" (to use Eifler's term.) because they are the sole means of support for the roof joists that do not rest directly on the vertical columns. So I agree, even more so, with what you are saying here if I understand you correctly. The guy turns the roof eave into a structural support. Blimey that's shrewd.

dkottum
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Post by dkottum »

It seems moving the header function out to the fascia was a consequence of the brilliant idea that the roof would appear as a flat plane, uninterrupted by a header. I'm not sure Wright was the first to do this?

The window wall could then rise all the way to the bottom of this plane. The ceiling/soffit material appeared continuous from inside to out, especially in some later Usonians when even the window sash was eliminated and the glass set into a grove in the ceiling/soffit material.

It is fascinating to see how Wright would simplify traditional building ideas to create his art, then develop clever (and sometimes difficult) methods to make it work. The Seth Petersen Cottage has much of the Usonian idea in a very small package, a good building to study.

doug k

outside in
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Post by outside in »

Before going too far with praises, it should be pointed out that supporting joists/rafters by thickened fascia framing caused problems as well. Creep and deflection created loads on the heads of door and window frames. Snow loads resulted in theses parts being inoperable for much of the year. 3-2x4's are in incapable of adequately transferring loads back to vertical supports 4 ft. O.c. As seen at the Jacobs House. We installed conventional headers. However, this technique does work with deeper framing members and shorter spans, such as the sloped roof portions of Seth Peterson.

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Laurie is correct. There is a double 2x6 header just behind the fascias at the Sweeton house. It can be seen on the roof framing plan and a detail posted by SDR here:

http://www.savewright.org/wright_chat/v ... c&start=75

The header has worked well in most places, gathering and transfering the load of rafters (on 16" centers) that are situated between the rafters that bear directly on the structural mullions which are on 48" centers. The only failure has been the notorious living room corner eave sag, which is rooted in a header made from too many short pieces spliced together, supported at the cantilever by undersized perpendicular double 2x6 beams extending from the masonry pier at the NE corner of the room, AND a double 2x6 sloped beam behind the gable end fascia, that itself is sagging due to an undersized ridge extension at the gable end. Some weight has been taken by the corner glass, which cracked long ago as a result.
All to be corrected in due time with 6" depth flitches and sistering with engineered lumber.

Palli
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Post by Palli »

Outside In
First, apologies I have not read your Seth Peterson book, though I tramped over the property in the late 70s and early 80s before you important work there was even envisioned.

Do you have any knowledge about the perforated board unit design. I am interested in tracking the iterations of particular perf designs. The presentation drawing shows a different design with different proportions. Sometimes presentation drawings use a simplification of a perf design or an early proposed schema that was refined as the design process moved forward.

Do the original Seth Peterson building plans show the built perf design? Which page contains the perf unit drawing?

Have you seen any early plans that contain a measured perf unit drawing?

Can you confirm the date of the presentation drawing; it is difficult to read in the book. October ’58?

And finally, do you know which apprentice(s) drew the final building plans for Seth Peterson and Loveness Cottage?
The Perf Project

outside in
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Post by outside in »

This is a scan of a photocopy of the original blueprints for the cottage. I believe that Tom Casey was the project architect for both Seth Peterson and Loveness.

Image

Tom
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Post by Tom »

OutsideIn: Did the historical commissions give you any trouble with your decision to use the traditional flush header at Peterson? Seems odd they would make a fuss about an epdm roof and yet raise no eyebrows over the roof framing.

Also, given what you say about the deflection over the doors at Jacobs it also seems odd that your solution of traditional flush header was never (to my knowledge) snuck in by some apprentice here and there in some Usonian house.

If I ever build a roof like this I'll do it your way.

Palli
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Post by Palli »

Thank you!
The Perf Project

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