Magazine article Sunset

Arizona Firebox Sculpture

Magazine article Sunset

Arizona Firebox Sculpture

Article excerpt

Arizona firebox sculpture

X-ray vision would reveal the inner mechanismsof these distinctive cast-concrete fireplaces: they're simple steel fireboxes, widely available and designed to be disguised. Tucson architect Judith Chafee experimented with a variety of forms to achieve the four examples shown here. In each case, the sculptural concrete shape expresses the functions of intake and exhaust vents for the heat-circulating unit inside.

Around each brick-lined firebox is anothermetal jacket designed for collecting and circulating heat. Intake ducts bring in cool air from down low, near floor level. The fire heats the cool air, which is then vented back into the room through an exhaust manifold. Though electric fans are available for use with these units, the installations you see here operate by convection only.

In two of the units, Chafee used pipe asdecorative elements that highlight the vents. At upper left on this page, terra cotta bell joints, usually used for sewer lines, form caps for the two intake and three exhaust vents. The bells were masked and cast in place, with the top three poking through the plywood forms during the pour. At right, in a whimsical bedroom installation, substantial 4-inch copper elbows cap the vent pipes; after the pour, they were attached to short lengths of pipe cast in place.

Styrene foam and wood were used toblock spaces in the concrete during each pour, creating openings to the circulating jacket as well as masking the firebox and chimney openings. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.