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Curtis Besinger's MacNider House (1959)

 
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Education Professor



Joined: 05 Jul 2005
Posts: 592

PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:28 am    Post subject: Curtis Besinger's MacNider House (1959) Reply with quote

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/elisabethdunbar/sets/72157632112292057/

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:

[/img]

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



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



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
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pmahoney
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Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Posts: 187

PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:46 am    Post subject: basement Reply with quote

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.
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Education Professor



Joined: 05 Jul 2005
Posts: 592

PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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
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Paul Ringstrom



Joined: 17 Sep 2005
Posts: 4174
Location: Mason City, IA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17918
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3789
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 6078
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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

Are there any interior photos?
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Education Professor



Joined: 05 Jul 2005
Posts: 592

PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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/elisabethdunbar/sets/72157632112292057/

EP
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Education Professor



Joined: 05 Jul 2005
Posts: 592

PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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

http://www.savewright.org/wright_chat/viewtopic.php?t=6670&highlight=macnider

EP
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Macrodex



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 234

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9357

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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