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See your point, exactly. Makes a person wonder why Mr. Wright didn't turn the smaller fireplace at a 90 degree angle ... to
face the seating. Surely that big pier would have been large enough to accommodate a fairly substantial fireplace.
If it were my good fortune to own and live in the house ... that's the first thing I'd change, FLLW or no FLLW. Even today it wouldn't be that difficult to correct. Don't know how the flues work, but it wouldn't take much to tear out the little steel lintel and put in another at right angles ...
PS: I did a similar trick in the house in which I now live ... Tore out the ugly white quartz stones fronting the fireplace, lowered the hearth to just above floor level (it was about 18 inches above the floor, which left a person's feet mired in a cold sink, not matter how close he was to the fire), purchased a new 9 foot long steel lintel, whose free end turned in a 9" long right angle ... embedded both ends in the concrete block walls ... placed a row of bricks along the length of the lintel, and built a false wall above ... to the ceiling. Above that 9 inch section I kept a slatted opening containing a string of the small Christmas lights, to cheerfully and physically demonstrate the falseness of the new wall ....
Now the fireplace looks like a FLLW fireplace. It's a delightful place to warm one's feet and to have meals on cold winter days. In fact there's a fire burning in it right now. Arizona has suddenly turned both rainy and chilly
Not all fireplaces are meant to be the focus of a room or the primary activity of the room’s occupants. The background sound, scent, and reflected flicker in the room are often enough to set the mood without huddling around the fire as one might in a cold dark forest or a prehistoric cave.
That there are two fireplaces in the same house with very different designs, actually makes clear that Wright designed these with intention based on the character or intended uses of the spaces themselves.
It should also be noted that the glass in a Usonian house reflects the fireplace(s) such that in my house for instance I can see the fireplace from some spots in the kitchen and dining area.
And it's not that Mr. Wright didn't successfully design back-to-back fireplaces before .... Indeed, there are two at Taliesin, both found on the plan of Taliesin found on page 144 of 'Wright: 1917-1942' At different times I've built fires in both ... or, to be more precise ... in all four. Mr. Wright once said that he loved to see a fire burning deep in the masonry of a fireplace.. and I'm sure he didn't mean seeing only a fire reflected in a window.
A fire is not just something to look at. This is Wisconsin, after all, and the entire extent of one wall of the living room is essentially glass ... single-pane glass. In that it's not unlike both Wisconsin houses built for the Jacobs family.
Susan (Jacobs) once told me that they had to huddle around their fireplaces on the coldest winter days.. just to stay warm. If that didn't work, the children would run back and forth from one end of the house to the other. She and I did the same thing one cold winter day in the office at Taliesin West.
So ... if one can't see the fire while seated in the alcove of the Schwartz House ... or feel it's warmth .... unless standing in front of the fire or seated on the floor ... the fireplace as built has no real purpose. Alas, in this case Form and Function are not one.
Wingspread is a massive version of a multi-"fireplaced" structure, with 5 fireplaces in 4 directions. FLW did not hesitate to provide however many fireplaces were needed or desired, in a group or individually, but he would never do a fireplace as an afterthought.
You know, "that guy".... there's one of them on just about every tour you've taken or given.
I believe Jimi Hendrix mentioned him in a song:
" 'Scuse me while I kiss this guy."
Jimi was a man of peace.