Curtis Besinger's MacNider House (1959)

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Education Professor
Posts: 594
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:10 pm

Curtis Besinger's MacNider House (1959)

Post by Education Professor »

Below is the link to a flickr photo set by Elisabeth Dunbar from last October that features Curtis Besinger's MacNider house in Mason City, Iowa. It appears that the photos were taken as part of a sponsored tour.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/elisabethd ... 112292057/

In addition, I've attached some photographs that were taken of articles about the MacNider house from "The Prairie School in Iowa" (1977) and "The Prairie School Review" (1968, Volume 5, No. 3), respectively. Please note that the spelling is "McNider" in these articles. The finding aid for Besinger's archival collection indicates the spelling as "MacNider".

From "The Prairie School in Iowa", 1977, pg. 88:

Image[/img]

From "The Prairie School Review", 1968, Vol. 5, No. 3, pg. 40:

Image

From "The Prairie School Review", 1968, Vol. 5, No. 3, pg. 41:

Image

Has any fellow Wright Chatter toured this home? If so, what did you think? Is the basement finished?

EP
Last edited by Education Professor on Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

pmahoney
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basement

Post by pmahoney »

We did not tour the basement last year but we were told it is finished space. The house in general presents very well as an original work by an apprentice, one of the finest homes not designed by Wright I have seen.

Education Professor
Posts: 594
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:10 pm

Post by Education Professor »

Thanks for your insights, pmahoney. The house appears to be finely detailed from the photographs, and the stained glass windows are an especially nice feature.

EP

Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4297
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

This house will most likely be included on next year's Walter Burley Griffin Society Annual Meeting's house tour on May 31, 2014.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

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

Post by SDR »

As revealed by the plan if not in photos, the lower terrace, nestled into the south elevation of the house, might be a sheltered spot to take some midday sun, even in the cooler months . . . ?

"Obtuse angle grid" is an obtuse way of saying "triangular grid"?

While it might be true that a plan with this sort of geometry flows nicely and has certain planning advantages, I deem it too much to claim that it achieves, by itself, "a much more open and unconfined interior space." That is, either sort of plan (angular or orthogonal) can have the same amount of glass, and the same level changes and roof type -- as a great many orthogonal Wright plans will attest.

That aside, this seems a really nice house. I place it in the same drawer (in my mind) as the (demolished ?) Aaron Green residence on the Hollywood flats which has been discussed here in the past -- no doubt because of its plan geometry and its long, narrow footprint.

SDR

DRN
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Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

As I noted back in October just after my return form Mason City, my evening at the Ringstrom's house by Drummond, and seeing this house by Besinger, were the highlights of my visit.

Besinger's MacNider house is a gem. On a narrow sloping site, Besinger gracefully weaves a Usonian into a neighborhood of Walter Burley Griffin and Barry Byrne houses, maintaining privacy where necessary and opening to the view when possible. The concept of entering at a carport and traversing a long path to the living space would seem arduous, but through the use of Kalwall top lights, partial height partitions topped with glass to borrow light, and a level change, the trip is spirited. In short, I loved being in this house.

The basement was not part of the tour, but as I recall, the owners indicated that they plan to, or are in the process of finishing portions of the basement. Given the possiblity for flooding of the nearby river, primary living spaces are on the main level.

peterm
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Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

http://www.kalwall.com/about.htm

Are there any interior photos?

Education Professor
Posts: 594
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:10 pm

Post by Education Professor »

Thanks for your insights, Paul, SDR, and DRN. I do hope that MacNider remains on the house tour in May 2014.

DRN, I'll search for your previous discussion about MacNider and will post the link. In terms of scale, it seems that the house is approximately 1,500 sq. ft. (main floor). Is this accurate? Do you recall if light decks used as well to help with the compression/release aspects of the design?

peterm, a few interior photos are available in this flickr photo set:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/elisabethd ... 112292057/

EP

Education Professor
Posts: 594
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:10 pm

Post by Education Professor »

Link to a previous discussion about Mason City & MacNider by DRN and fellow chatters:

http://www.savewright.org/wright_chat/v ... t=macnider

EP

Macrodex
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Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:11 pm

Post by Macrodex »

The grouping of the bedrooms/bathrooms reminds me of the Carl Wall residence.

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

Post by Roderick Grant »

Is "bathrooms" correct? Or "bathroom"? If there's one fault I find with this exquisite plan, it's the busy bathroom (singular) with multiple (plural) doors sliding and swinging about, lighted only by a bit of skylight. Probably had a lot to do with client needs and desires, but it could have been simpler and more efficient.

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