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yellowcat
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:18 am
Location: Hagerstown, MD

Post by yellowcat »

You are correct Roderick, I was thinking of the architectural history of fireplace placement in colonial America (pre Wright). I should have made that clearer. I think designers/builders back then had to be much more aware of climate conditions around them than they do now. If I was going to guess when this began to change it would be somewhere around the late 1880's with steam heat.

But, I suppose fireplace placement, like many other topics in design (codes for example) can take a couple of generations to phase out completely. I would love to know if Wright's fireplace designs had any influence on the established masonry fireplace codes we use today. They must have! Where would one look to find out such information? The only source I have dates back to 1957, which is a bit late to have been applied to most all of Wright's designs.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

As with many technical matters in his work, Wright gives short shrift to the fireplace in his Autobiography. But on pp 496-98 he gives us "The Unkind
Fireplace," concerning a small fireplace in Lloyd Lewis's study that wouldn't draw---a fact that he makes light of, while claiming to have built "some three
thousand fireplaces that do draw, and a few that didn't know how at first but that do know how now." He concludes that it might require "a little fan, a kind
of policeman, up there in the chimney with a switch down nearby where Lloyd sits . . ." thus making it unique, he says, among the three thousand non-faulty ones.

S

Reidy
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Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

Some variations on the pattern SDR notes in his post of 1.25.20 are Tomek - enter at the right side of the photo and turn right to face the view - and Freeman - a kitchen, originally open, where the fireplace is in the others. (SDR's post of 10.2.10, last photo, in color)

yellowcat
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:18 am
Location: Hagerstown, MD

Post by yellowcat »

Thank you SDR, for "The Unkind Fireplace"reference. I thought I had remembered reading somewhere about a fireplace learning to draw. This amusing little story is found on pages 522-525 of the "Autobiography" edition that I have.

Is this topic what Hendrickson meant when he mentioned that chat rooms can be "a trip through the looking glass" in "Plagued" or where he mentions later, "You can find great threads about............,as if an idea for a doctoral dissertation might erupt at any second". I'd like to think that it is the latter.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Heh. One wonders what the author meant by "a trip through the looking glass"; would that be comparable to one Wright Chatter's repeated query,
"What was he smoking" ? As for a research paper, I've certainly been guilty of suggesting topics for future academic work, a not unwholesome
proposition I hope. (I am reminded, nevertheless, of the catchphrase said to be a favorite of a friend of a friend at school: "That would make an
interesting research paper !" she was heard to say on various occasions . . .)

William Allin Storrer, John Sergeant and others have proposed categories into which Wright's floor plans could be placed---Inline, L-shaped, T-shaped,
cruciform, etc. Grand Hildebrand has described the procession into and through a number of the houses, without I believe categorizing them by
type. There must be any number of configurations of entrance, main space, its fireplace and built-in seating, view and garden access, and secondary
spaces; the coincidences I noted between Robie, Jacobs and Rosenbaum represent just one apparent repeat of a pattern.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I should say, the drawings teem with carefully drawn sections of chimneys, throughout the career, displaying numerous variations on the shape and disposition
of the chambers and flues. But the orthodox design rules---specific ratios of firebox opening to flue section, etc, seem largely to be ignored, if i'm not mistaken.

S

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

Post by Roderick Grant »

Lloyd Lewis' tiny fireplace might have had less of a problem if Lloyd simply cracked open the balcony door on the east wall of the den.

By the way, has anyone seen - first hand or in photography - that sanctum?

yellowcat
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:18 am
Location: Hagerstown, MD

Post by yellowcat »

I wish there was more written first hand recollections by some of the tradespeople (besides the apprentice project managers) who worked on Mr. Wright's designs. I recall reading somewhere that more than once there was some friction between the masons and the project managers concerning the fireplace specifications. I can imagine some lively and colorful languaged conversations between the masons themselves!

Mr. Wright's mention of a fan to induce draft in the chimney of the Lloyd Lewis house is interesting. This house was built in 1939. The industry standard today is the "Exhausto"® fan, and it dates to 1957. In my limited knowledge of physics, it seems that using a fan to draft an open fireplace would pretty much nullify any useful heat energy gain. Is it possible that the "usonian" era house designs was the turning point for the fireplace's role as a heating device to one as a focal/gathering point or to merely provide a nostalgic atmosphere when actually being fired?

I remember seeing my first cantilevered wood framed and lap sided chase chimney/fireplace around 1980. I thought at the time what a crazy idea, that is a fad that will never last, people will never give up on the secure feeling of a masonry mass! I have never studied economics, but maybe I should!

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

But for the lack of a school of architecture in Norway, my grandfather would have majored in the subject instead of civil engineering. In the end he became a contractor. His in-the-field experience made him disdainful of the art. When he built the house my parents commissioned, he said the fireplace (on an outside wall) wouldn't draw as designed, so he redesigned it, and it drew perfectly. It looked the same, but the guts were rejiggered.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

One drawback to a working fireplace in the Lewis sanctum would have been to make the tiny room too hot to inhabit with even a modest fire going. Best to leave it as an architectural conceit. I met a later owner; I should have asked him.

Tom
Posts: 2910
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

SDR wrote: A “Hibukuro� (�袋) above the kitchen serves as a chimney, carrying smoke and heat away, and as a skylight, bringing light into the kitchen
This sure does feel like what Wright was doing above the "workspace"
Also the described sliding walls were interesting.
Curious to me that Wright never experimented with that as far as I know.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Yes. The prototype of the Usonian "workplace" with its elevated ceiling may be found in Japan, it turns out. But what provision did Mr Wright make for ventilation, for openings at the top of those kitchen---if any ?


Memoirs of builders who constructed or worked on Wright buildings, from any period, would certainly be of interest. There may in fact be unpublished, or
obscure published material, out there somewhere. Did any of the known builders commit themselves to paper ? Harold Turner would be a good place to start . . .

S
Last edited by SDR on Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

Hanna, surely

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Yes, the Hanna and Pope memoirs contain much material on the construction of those houses. More ?

A little section drawing of Jacobs published in Monograph 5 indicates, in a note to the middle section, the "opening windows" of the kitchen/bath clerestory. These appear in the sepia exterior view of the house, and at the very similar Hoult Usonian as well.

The Jacobs/Hoult plans combine kitchen and bath, with a shared clerestory, in a simple and straightforward manner not easily or often bettered in the entire Usonian catalog . . .?


Image

Image

Image

Hoult
Image

images © 1985 A.D.A. EDITA Tokyo Co., Ltd. and by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

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

Post by Tom »

Thanks for posting that.

Of course this could be said about many
Wright projects but it's a shame Hoult was not built.

Someday I'll read the Hanna and Jacob books.

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