Alternatives to fireplace as psychological center of home

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Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

It's an air-conditioner that works by evaporation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evaporative_cooler.

egads
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Post by egads »

Swamp coolers move air through wet material. A simple unit has a large squirrel cage fan, three sides with louvered covers holding what used to be a
sisal mesh. A pump takes water from a pool in the bottom and sends water cascading down through the mesh. There is a float valve to replenish the water that is evaporated. The other name for them is an evaporative cooler. they work well in dry hot climates. A/C works by removing moisture by passing air through a cooling coil. That's why an A/C system needs a condensate drain like. And why you car has a puddle under it when you park. Usually coming from behind the passenger side front tire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evaporative_cooler

Laurie Virr
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Post by Laurie Virr »

The Prairie Houses often comprised a pinwheel ground plan with pavilion like spaces arranged around a compact central core, the latter having 2 floors above grade. The chimney mass was located in the central core, and was usually quite substantial, whereas the roof of that area was just a fraction of that for the whole house. As a consequence the relationship of the volume of the chimney mass to the area of the roofs did not present the same problem as occurred with many of the Usonians.

Despite the fact that most of the early Usonians were considerably smaller than many a Prairie House, the one room wide ground plan, and the single floor resulted in a comparatively large roof, much more of which was visible. The Hoult house grappled with the problem in a most unsatisfactory way, but Jacobs 1 combined the chimney mass and the walls of the kitchen as they penetrated the roof, establishing a balance between the two. After the latter house, FLLW never looked back in this regard.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Laurie, the Hoult House had a chimney stack almost exactly like Jacobs I, engaging the mass of the kitchen. The house with the unconvincing solution you probably mean is the Lusk Project (Mono 5, pp 243-244, 1936) designed for Huron, SD. FLW wrote about the tall industrial smoke stacks in a deprecating fashion in "When Democracy Builds," but the tall, skinny chimneys of Lusk call them to mind.

Laurie Virr
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Post by Laurie Virr »

Roderick Grant:

Thank you for correcting my error. Of course you are right. It was the Lusk house project, the Usonian on training wheels.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Image Lusk


Image Hoult

Rood
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Post by Rood »

Laurie Virr wrote: Despite the fact that most of the early Usonians were considerably smaller than many a Prairie House, the one room wide ground plan, and the single floor resulted in a comparatively large roof, much more of which was visible. The (Lusk) house grappled with the problem in a most unsatisfactory way, but Jacobs 1 combined the chimney mass and the walls of the kitchen as they penetrated the roof, establishing a balance between the two. After the latter house, FLLW never looked back in this regard.
Not entirely, Laurie. The tall kitchen flue in the 1938 Ralph Jester Residence is entirely reminiscent of Lusk. It's there, today, in the Pfeiffer House.

Laurie Virr
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Post by Laurie Virr »

The above post is bordering on the desperate.

The topic of the Ralph Jester house has has been discussed here on previous occasions, and the general consensus has been that the Pfeiffer residence bears resemblance only in the ground plan.

If Frank Lloyd Wright had been alive, and had been commissioned to build the house for the Pfeiffers, even if he had been obliged to conform to the requirements brought about by changes to the code, his design would have been radically different from that constructed. The Pfeiffer house is a travesty of the original scheme.

Frank Lloyd Wright had an exquisite sense of residential scale, especially in the vertical, something entirely lacking from the Scottsdale scheme. To even compare the Pfeiffer house to any of the Usonians is to do the latter a grave disservice.

I hold that had the house been built for Ralph Jester, FLLW would have seen the anomaly of the height of the kitchen flue. I suggest he would have increased the height of the parapet wall over the kitchen, and lowered that of the flue, so that they were at the same level.

What is implied in the above post is that he did not learn from his mistakes, which is drawing a long bow indeed.

The flat roof Usonians look good, are ground hugging, because Frank Lloyd Wright used his special sense of what was the appropriate height. Whereas with a pitched roof it is possible to extend the eaves to obtain the desired result, even if they have to be fretted on the elevations facing the sun, if the height of the soffit is poorly chosen for a house having a flat roof, there is nothing to be done to rectify the situation. That nobody with authority in the Fellowship, or its apologists, appreciated this at the time of the construction of the Pfeiffer house, and now, speaks volumes.

The Ralph Jester house was an iconic design. When it was conceived, the form of construction was at the cutting edge of the available technology, and the design a fine effort to move Western residential construction away from the tyranny of the right angle.

It was too good to have been tampered with. That it was is yet another betrayal of their mentor by the Fellowship.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

There's evidence in drawings (M6/59) that FLW knew quite well how tall the Jester chimney was to be, standing mostly alone without the embrace of extended kitchen walls, which do rise above the roof line slightly, but not for clerestories; the kitchen was lighted by a circular skylight. Why the chimney is so tall is a mystery, but in part it can be explained by the fact that this is not a typical Usonian, it in no way compares with Jacobs I or Lusk. Nor is it a flat-land house, but was intended to be on a hilly lot in Palos Verdes, overlooking the ocean. (A second version for Martin Pence on Hilo, HI had a similar site.) It is a "one off," as they say, completely unique. It was also one of those "dog with a bone" designs that FLW offered repeatedly to clients in one form or another, though never a version quite as convincing as the original. Something else to consider: The tall chimney was not for a fireplace, but rose above the cook top in the kitchen for ventilation. It's higher than the fireplace chimney, which just clears the roof of the high-ceilinged living room. Why? I dunno.

While Pfeiffer enlarged the scale of the house to accommodate Bruce's tall father, the proportions seem to conform closely to the original. What I find wrong with the house is its use of a single material: stucco over studs. There is no contrast. Jester was designed to be made of rough stone piers and very light-weight, non-structural, bent plywood cylindrical rooms. While the arrangement of rooms about a roofed open terrace is appropriate for a desert setting, the mono-material heavy-handedness of the Pfeiffer construction is off-putting. There's no structural justification for the circles, just a whimsical design choice, in contrast to the original project. Bending plywood increases its compressive strength significantly. Had Bruce requested a house while FLW was still alive, he would not have got what he got.

marvinluke
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Re: Alternatives to fireplace as psychological center of home

Post by marvinluke »

The Xiangershi provides best quality wood fire and gas burning clay pizza oven manufacturers that can cook a pizza in short time. You can cook a pizza and cook meat, vegetables, and even doughnuts. You can cook all sorts of things with this oven.

Tom
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Re: Alternatives to fireplace as psychological center of home

Post by Tom »

Pizza oven as psychic center of house ... yummy.

Matt2
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Re: Alternatives to fireplace as psychological center of home

Post by Matt2 »

This has probably already been suggested, but I'd vote for a dining table. If you have a big masonry mass surrounding the kitchen...work space...then on the living room side of this mass would be a dining table. The various extensions of the house could pinwheel from this central core.

Reidy
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Re: Alternatives to fireplace as psychological center of home

Post by Reidy »

Matt2’s suggestion is a pretty good description of Hanna before they turned the playroom into a formal dining room. Dining table and central fireplace were side by side at the juncture of kitchen and living room.

In the metaverse we’ll have all the fireplaces we want.

SDR
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Re: Alternatives to fireplace as psychological center of home

Post by SDR »

Well, not quite; indeed the location of the original dining table at Hanna places it in a most unusual fashion, on an outside wall diagonally opposite the fireplace. An inglenook of sorts is created (and remains) to the left of the fireplace; this peninsula includes a table at its terminus.

Image

1957 plan:

Image

jay
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Re: Alternatives to fireplace as psychological center of home

Post by jay »

Old thread, but glad to read it.

I'm tempted to dive into this conversation about the 'fireplace as psychological center', (my personal opinion being the fireplace cannot be omitted, if the goal is to have a Wrightian-esque residential space).. However, I'm gonna step out on a limb and raise the question of why the fireplace needs to be abandoned in the first place?

From an environmentalist point of view, I wonder if the Usonian is unrightfully being compared to the "sealed" nature of the typical residential home? Before any discussion turns to a leaky chimney, what about all the windows? As far as I can tell, the highest rated window being manufactured has an R-value of 5. With Usonians having dramatically more window coverage than the typical house, that's already a huge deficit of R-value to justify. (And I haven't seen anyone suggest an omission of Wrightian window usage in these types of hypotheticals...)

It would be neat to learn how much of a home's total R-value is lost to a chimney.. Any guesses?

Regardless, I don't believe the Usonian should be looked at as a "sealed" enclosure––not in its architecture nor in its air temperature.

I came across this blog-post about how radiant floor heating actually heats the body:
http://organonarchitecture.blogspot.com ... ket_mylist

My thought is... Winter seasons should generally have warm days inside the broadly-glazed Usonian. At night, if the fireplace is in frequent use (as intended for the experience of the architecture), then the chimney itself shouldn't be causing significant heat loss to the ambient living space... And overnight, the space grows cool, but the residents are asleep.

And more importantly, if the warmed thermal surfaces are keeping human bodies warm inside the Usonian, even if the air is cooler, that is a successfully heated space.

Perhaps owners of Usonains here can inform us as to how "cold" their homes are in the winters? (and how "cold" they feel themselves..?) Nearly every homeowner I've had the pleasure to meet has expressed how much they enjoy "warm feet" in the winter.... Are heating bills excessively higher than previous homes they've lived in?

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