EFFECTIVE 14 Nov. 2012 PRIVATE MESSAGING HAS BEEN RE-ENABLED. IF YOU RECEIVE A SUSPICIOUS DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS AND PLEASE REPORT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.
This is the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy's Message Board. Wright enthusiasts can post questions and comments, and other people visiting the site can respond.
You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, *-oriented or any other material that may violate any applicable laws. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned (and your service provider being informed). The IP address of all posts is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. You agree that the webmaster, administrator and moderators of this forum have the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time they see fit.
I wonder in what ways raising the fire (i.e., the grate) is equivalent to reducing to size of the fireplace opening, and in what ways it is not -- as the relevant issue is presumably the movement of air (drawn by the heat of the fire) past the fire and up into the damper and flue. . .?
In the Usonian period we see Wright trying everything, from the curious and unique Lusk stacks, to the literally stackless Goetsch-Winckler. Perhaps the architect was aware of specific anticipated local climates, for the two projects ?
The two published plans (one the unbuilt preliminary, at bottom, below, the other in Storrer) don't really show what's going on in re the plan shape of the lintel -- I draw my impression mostly from the photos that we've seen.
A caption on p 122 of Pedro Guerrero's book reads, "Mr Wright made many visits to the Usonia site in Pleasantville, New York. Here [not shown] he and builder [sic] David Henken, a former apprentice, review plans for the Reisley house on its wooded terrain in 1949. After the house, the last of three at Usonia, was finished he came again, in 1952 [below] to address the problem of a chimney that was not drawing properly -- quickly and authoritatively sketching out his ideas (including a new fireplace grate)." Unfortunately, we do not see the result of this sketch session -- in Guerrero's book, at least.
I found something interesting.
The Sweeton drawings indicate the fireplace was originally designed with its back wall sloped toward the front of the fireplace. As built however, the rear wall is plumb and the masonry "hood's" inside surface is sloped toward the rear toward the damper. I'm 5'6" and can easily stand in the fireplace with headroom to spare before the damper (apparently to the amusement of my wife). The as built damper measures the full width of the fireplace...I can't get a fix on its depth as it is sealed shut at this time. I'm not sure if this change was done to aid draw, or to improve the appearance of a firebox open on 2 sides...I'm also uncertain if the geometrical change helps or hinders draw.
I'll send a scan of Taliesin's "Section Sheet 5" of the Sweeton drawings to SDR, if he would be so kind to post.
peterm: Is the back wall of the Lamberson fireplace sloped or plumb? Do the Lamberson drawings note the dimensions/geometry of the fireplace?
The back of the Lamberson fireplace is plumb.
We only have plans, no elevations, for the fireplace. But after removing the gas insert, studying the old photo, and carefully observing the firebrick in the opening, we are confident that we will be bringing it back to 1951. The back of the opeing would be just a V with a brick hood on top...
The question remains for us, however, whether what was built was exactly what was drawn...
From my limited studies, it seems like Fallingwater, Walker and Lamberson (sans copper hood) have the tallest fireplace openings. Is the Sweeton opening soffit height?
Fallingwater seems to have the lowest ceiling height and the largest opening....
I remember Samara has a red heat lamp installed in the side of the fireplace, illuminating the firebox. On the tour, we were told that this Wright innovation was designed to provide atmosphere when the fireplace was not in use, and to heat the surrounding air in preparation for a fire, in order to improve the draw.
At the Schwartz, the large fireplace is rectangular, and there are two extensions--one hanging across the front and on another on the side. They are essentially boards that--instead of raising the fire--lower the overhang. But they are also temporary solutions, hanging on eye hooks, that can be removed at any time to return to fireplace to its original look (well, original look + eyehooks, anyway). I assume this has been done to improve the draw (which was great when we were there), but I don't know that for sure. I've got a photograph somewhere that I'll try to scare up.
I assume that these extenders are some sort of metal painted black, but I didn't examine them at the time. Schwartz is also an example of a fireplace placed well away from the workspace, and on an exterior wall. Of course, in this instance, there is an exterior fireplace on the outside of this chimney stack, providing a fire for the master bedroom terrace. Man oh man, i love this house.
TnGuy's pic of the Sweeton fireplace gives a good sense of the relationship of the fireplace opening to the soffit (thanks TnGuy):
http://my.opera.com/TnGuy/albums/showpi ... re=9060172
The top of fireplace opening is 4'8" above the floor slab.
You certainly are welcome, though I wish I would have done a better job in controlling the lighting in that picture.
Here are some additional fireplace pictures:
Peterson fireplace #1
Peterson fireplace #2
Muirhead mian fireplace (w/ slanted back)
Muirhead dining room fireplace (w/ slant)
Muirhead bedroom fireplace (w/ slant)
Lockridge Medical fireplace
Marden main fireplace
Marden bedroom fireplace
Gordon fireplace #1
Gordon fireplace #2