Usonian Basements?

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

Post by SDR »

Right. I believe Wright calls it the "Korean room" in a Japanese house, in the Autobiography.

S

yellowcat
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:18 am
Location: Hagerstown, MD

Post by yellowcat »

There are several unique circumstances that are necessary to make a chimney backdraft naturally. One is being short, as many usonians were, another is a wind effect causing a negative pressure at a lower level, such as at the hearth.

In 1952, prior to mechanical air conditioning becoming mainstream, I can easily imagine how using the chimney as a cooling mechanism could have been conceived and even experienced at Taliesin West during the summer. I wonder how far the concept was explored, either just in conversation or in actual design on paper, since many apprentices who passed through had some prior engineering training. I haven't met an engineer yet, who did not take meticulous notes!

SDR
Posts: 19606
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Next on the list, after "All Wright's Fireplaces" (a coffee-table/scholastic-exercise volume "soon never to be released"), will be a book on the
chimneys.

Wright's Usonian chimneys start off with a bang: the unbuilt Lusk project, which precedes both Jacobs and the also-unrealized Hoult, has 3
chimneys worthy of a Nineteenth-century boiler factory:


Image

Image



Jacobs and Hoult, on the other hand, have the more typical minimized Usonian flat-roof chimneys, integrated into the masonry core.

Another of that type is Rosenbaum. But unlike Jacobs, both of Rosenbaum's streamlined chimneys were at some point discreetly raised:

Image

Image

Image


Goetsch-Wickler, on the other hand, whose single chimney likewise terminates at roof-top level, never needed alteration:

Image

Image

Image

yellowcat
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:18 am
Location: Hagerstown, MD

Post by yellowcat »

Wonderful and very appropriate graphics as usual, thank you SDR.

From the basement to out the chimney, what a great flow of content!

The following may be pure hearsay, but I think it is probably true. This comes from a friend of mine who recently retired from the hearth products industry. He said that the part in the residential fireplace/chimney code that requires the chimney to be at least 2 feet higher than any part of the structure measured horizontally 10 feet away was an arbitrary number that was arrived at by a group of code council members just throwing out numbers, and these sounded good. There was no scientific or testing criteria that originally arrived at this measurement!

It seems that there should have been a good number of chimneys, not just usonians, built prior to this part of the code being adopted, that should have been required to be extended when they changed ownership.

SDR
Posts: 19606
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I can certainly understand the reason for an arbitrary standard being set: each property has a unique set of conditions affecting how well a flue might draw.
Prevailing winds, nearby structures or trees, shape, size, and height of flue, firebox opening area, etc, are all variables that could affect the performance of
a given fireplace.

S

Matt2
Posts: 243
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:07 pm

Post by Matt2 »

I'd never noticed those flat roof/chimney usonians before. I always felt the usonians benefited from a vertical chimney element just for balance sake. Reminds me of the Larkin building and the famously non-drafting chimney's that has to be significantly raises so that they were taller than the main mass of the building.

SDR
Posts: 19606
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Wright meant what he said about horizontality---"the earth line"---and by the end of his career he mostly cleaved to it, with exceptions where appropriate;
you'd be a fool to celebrate the horizontal when designing a tower. He doesn't seem to have been overly concerned about a fireplace that didn't draw
correctly---there were more than a few, apparently---any more than he fretted much about a leaky roof. He had "bigger fish to fry" . . .

S

yellowcat
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Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:18 am
Location: Hagerstown, MD

Post by yellowcat »

"The smoke will learn", was Wright's answer to one client who called him up to complain about the fireplace not drawing.

I wonder if he really believed that!

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

SDR, Pamela Kingsbury, who wrote the book on Hoult, "Frank Lloyd Wright and Wichita, the First Usonian Design," would disagree with you on that claim.
Hoult and Lusk were close, but Hoult gets the cigar.

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

For the first chimney that barely rises above its flat roof, look at the 1911 Booth Cottage. It has been modified, but originally it stood just proud of the flat roof.

ZacharyMatthews
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:20 pm

Post by ZacharyMatthews »

Roderick Grant wrote:SDR, Pamela Kingsbury, who wrote the book on Hoult, "Frank Lloyd Wright and Wichita, the First Usonian Design," would disagree with you on that claim.
Hoult and Lusk were close, but Hoult gets the cigar.
Drawings and a timeline display for the unbuilt Hoult Usonian #1 are available to view at the Allen Lambe House in Wichita, on the second floor.


if you tour Allen try to schedule your visit with Howard Ellington, who handled the restoration and is a fountain of information.

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Pamela Kingsbury was also involved early on with Allen-Lamb.

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

Post by SDR »

Thanks. I went by Pfeiffer's order of presentation in the Monographs; I didn't look at the file numbers of the projects: Hoult, 3604; Lusk, 3605; Jacobs, 3702. We assume that those numbers accurately reflect the inception of each project . . .?

S

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