Cad a Dhéanfaimid Feasta Gan Tínteán

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 10 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #710916

    teak
    Participant

    If the present trends in carbon fuel reduction measures are to persist the fireplace — that mainstay of the Irish living room — is under the guillotine.
    How will this affect design of the living room ?
    Will a mock fireplace (without a hearth) become the vogue in order to maintain this traditional element ?
    Or will a new focus be sought for the family groupage within the room ?
    Would this new focus relate to the new source of heat ?
    Or will it – assuming that evenish heat distribution be achieved – relate to a more fundamental (yet more modernly posited) relation between the house and the concept of family ?

    What do you people think ?
    Imagination applied to the newer heating systems might have one arrive at interesting proposals here . . . . 🙂

  • #811149

    Anonymous

    Is this really an issue teak or are you just trying to kill some time?

  • #811150

    Anonymous

    For me – and those others thinking of building soon – yes.
    Heating considerations have to be looked at in relation to the new global goal of avoiding dramatic climate change.
    Despite the fact that they are deemed to be green fuels, the fact is that both timber and turf will create CO2 on burning — CO2 that will not be offset in the same time period by trees breathing.

    Wind and solar are readily available here in Ireland.
    And that, as I see it, is the way for people to go.
    So if new homesteaders go this way for heating a lot of the interior design (maybe spatial design also) aspects are open to rearrangement.
    Hence my question.

    Sure, it’s only a detail.
    But an interesting one, I thought.
    I accept that cost/build, insulation, planning situation are more acute issues of the day.
    I apologise if I have upset anyone.
    Yet I have seen issues much less relevant on this forum . . . .

  • #811151

    Anonymous

    How about a bioethanol fire ( http://www.kedco.com/e/bio/bioethanol-chimmneyless-fires/ ), nice to see some flames on a cold winters night – how about a TV playing a ‘fire’ DVD

  • #811152

    Anonymous

    the idea of a central focus can be retained whilst at the same time maximising the efficiency of the heat source.

    why are fireplaces under threat??
    1. they are a very inefficient source of heat. 70% of the energy produced is wasted
    2. the allow a continuous 200mm dia “hole” in the fabric of the building, ie the chimney
    3. the hearth is commonly created as a large thermal bridge as very few contractors insulate under it.
    4. the chimney construction itself is a large thermal bridge

    solutions?
    1. improve the efficiency. this can be dramatically improved by use of a stove. These stoves can be decorative so as to retain the psychological warmth of an open fire place.
    2. the use of a stove reduces the continuous air leakage of a chimney
    3. use of a room sealed stove further reduces air leakage
    4. use of double skinned flues negates teh thermal bridge of the chimney, otherwise detail the thermal bridge out by use of structural insulative materials such as foam glas blocks.

  • #811153

    Anonymous

    The idea of a stove in the family living room and a (probably largely ornamental) fireplace in the visitors lounge is great.
    But chimneys are a balls for a number of reasons.
    Trying to fit in windows symmetrically on up-and downstairs of a dormer gable is a tight enough fit without having to worry about the flue.
    And then there are both the practical (dust, carting in firewood/turf in wintertime) and CO2 aspects to these fuels . . .

    But, let’s say one does work out an affordable wind/solar space heating + HW system.
    Now, is the traditional “shrine” big fireplace in a sitting/living room with its mantelpiece, ornaments, sofa & chairs arranged around it now pointless as the mock-mantelpiece’s strictly functional dimension is gone ?
    In other words, if heating is uniformly distributed around a space, would a person orient/arrange the sitting room sofas/chairs/tables in relation to a certain window or wall – or would one seek to equalize the layout of things about the room ?

    In countries where the heating is no issue, how are sittingrooms lain out ?

  • #811154

    Anonymous

    Around the telly teak.

    You’re really making a meal out of this.

  • #811155

    Anonymous

    Can’t you just burn wood, or those eco-logs made of sawdust?

  • #811156

    Anonymous

    Around the telly teak.

    What an attitude.
    A sure case of SAD syndrome. 🙁

    The TV would be in the family lounge in a normal house.
    The sitting room is for visitors — allows you to have them in without upsetting TV watchers in the family lounge.

    I don’t want to burn anything.
    Already explained why too.
    So the fire is taken out of the design.

    It seems that Ireland’s architects have no appetite for exploring new horizons.
    They cling to the old constraints like a tramp to his dirty clothes.:o
    Ah sure I’m so comfortable in ’em !

  • #811157

    Anonymous

    @teak wrote:

    Around the telly teak.

    What an attitude.
    A sure case of SAD syndrome. 🙁

    The TV would be in the family lounge in a normal house.
    The sitting room is for visitors — allows you to have them in without upsetting TV watchers in the family lounge.

    I don’t want to burn anything.
    Already explained why too.
    So the fire is taken out of the design.

    It seems that Ireland’s architects have no appetite for exploring new horizons.
    They cling to the old constraints like a tramp to his dirty clothes.:o
    Ah sure I’m so comfortable in ’em !

    Don’t flatter yourself teak, you’re not pushing any new boundaries here.

    The heart of an Irish home is the kitchen, not the sitting room or parlour that you seem to be trying to make a conundrum out of.
    You’d be better off focusing your efforts on sorting out the kitchen first, and if this is designed properly then the other spaces should fall into place almost of their own accord.
    If the ideal Irish house design that you are pursuing contains a separate kitchen, sitting room and ‘family lounge’ then I fear you may have more to worry about than the absence of a fireplace.

  • #811158

    Anonymous

    The thread was aimed at professional architects.

    That’s not to say that others may have a view to offer.
    But a man at the level of a comment like

    The heart of an Irish home is the kitchen

    can’t really be of the right material for an architectural forum.

    A joiner making nothing but kitchen units wouldn’t say such a foolish thing. 😮

  • #811159

    Anonymous

    As a “professional architect” I obviously understand what you mean teak… but for the rest of the population please explain, why the kitchen could not possibly be the heart of the “Irish home” and why such a suggestion deserves to be scoffed at…

    And also why an “architect” who has an “appetite for exploring new horizons” begins with the compartmentalised planning of “kitchen”, “lounge” and “sitting room”?

  • #811160

    Anonymous

    the psychological importance of an open fireplace to the life of a family should not be underestimated.

    I for one would persist in putting them in houses for this reason alone, regardless of it’s energy inefficiency.

    to me, this is a question of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • #811161

    Anonymous

    @teak wrote:

    The thread was aimed at professional architects.

    That’s not to say that others may have a view to offer.
    But a man at the level of a comment like

    The heart of an Irish home is the kitchen

    can’t really be of the right material for an architectural forum.

    A joiner making nothing but kitchen units wouldn’t say such a foolish thing. 😮

    Are you going to form a defence for your argument or just hurl insults at me or anyone else that disagrees with you?
    Do you consider this forum to be suitable place for your behaviour? As you seem to believe that you are an authority on who should be permitted to contribute.

    You began this thread by bemoaning the demise of the open fireplace as a critical component of the Irish house.
    This may come as a surprise to you, teak, but the open fireplace’s origins lie in that space that you seem to have overlooked the importance of; the kitchen.

    I do not wish to stoop to the level of a slagging match, as so often happens on this site, but I would strongly suggest that you go and engage in a little bit of research and forethought before you post your next comment on this topic, lest you bring the whole house down on top of yourself.

  • #811162

    Anonymous

    @what? wrote:

    the psychological importance of an open fireplace to the life of a family should not be underestimated.

    I for one would persist in putting them in houses for this reason alone, regardless of it’s energy inefficiency.

    to me, this is a question of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    the psychology behind the infatuation should be explored…. the location of a fireplace in the main room of the irish cottage played a huge part in the everyday workings of the family, from heating and cooking to cleaning. The gathering around for storytelling and other forms of entertainment were for practical reasons, both light and heat.

    these practical aspects of the fireplace do not exist any more, the gra is retrospective.

    the status quo shouldnt simply be accepted as being a finished article, thats lazy.

    there is a problem, there are arguments for and against, a resolution should be arrived at which addresses all factors. As i argue above, the psychological aspect can still be retained whilst improving the efficiency of it as a heating source.

  • #811163

    Anonymous

    @notjim wrote:

    Can’t you just burn wood, or those eco-logs made of sawdust?

    wood is made of sawdust, pedantically

    I think it would be a great shame to lose the fireplace. I’ve had a fire lit every night for the last week as, in the good old G-rated terrace house that is the norm in the inner city, it probably works better than the rads. it’s also cheaper than gas.

    Quite apart from that there’s a calm and – sorry to be nonarchitecty here – homliness about it. Personally I think the absence of one adds to the soulIessness of an apartment, for instance. I might hang my environmentally unsound footprint in shame (if you can hang a footprint) but, feck it – I’m middle aged

    Just for your information Teak – a large proportion of the G-rated terraces had fireplaces in all the rooms, including the kitchen. it’s not uncommon to find fireplaces in bathrooms as people have converted what used to be a back bedroom into a bathroom

  • #811164

    Anonymous

    why the kitchen could not possibly be the heart of the “Irish home” and why such a suggestion deserves to be scoffed at…

    Because the heart of the home — as I appreciate it at any rate — is that area where people relax, talk, watch TV together, read, listen to music.
    Assigning this area to the same area where food is being prepared (noise, smell, space / circulation compatibility issues to name but 3) is just a way to make the life for the owners harder and (when receiving visitors) more embarrassing.

    why an “architect” who has an “appetite for exploring new horizons” begins with the compartmentalised planning of “kitchen”, “lounge” and “sitting room”?

    I think — as clearly delineated areas, not necessarily permanently walled spaces — this is a quite acceptable place for a progressive architect to start.
    Why ?
    Because every explorer, innovator, developer has to start from somewhere.
    Somewhere that is (to both him and his/her clients) familiar, decent and — in the event of failure to better it — acceptable in the last resort.

    Naturally others will have their own preferences as to whether they see a a functional advantage or styling purpose to the fireplace in their own (or freely designed) house.
    Many of the comments made as to the attractiveness of the open fire certainly ring true at this time of year, maybe also for formal family occasions in the colder months.
    Yet — as with everything that costs real money — one must ask if this feature’s benefits really justify both its cost and the restrictions on the design of other features that are imposed by its presence.
    Sentiment and comfort have their place.
    But, in the context of the overall value derived from a good house design, I have my doubts if the fireplace will be a fixture for many new home builders who have to address the challenging demands of eco-concious design as they push their nesteggs as far as they may.

  • #811165

    Anonymous

    A wood burning stove could be used. Wood is zero Carbon.:)

  • #811166

    Anonymous

    A wood-burning stove in the living room ?
    It would be better placed in the family room surely.
    But burning wood – like burning all organic fuels – will release CO2.

    Rating wood as zero-carbon is dependent on the current (i.e. this very instant, continuously into the future) rate of increase in CO2 removal from the air by trees breathing being greater than the rate of increase of CO2 generation from burning wood.

    Is there clerk in the Dept of Energy & Nat Resources keeping these CO2 books in positive balance for us all the time ?
    I doubt it.

    Aside from this, since we in the western world have more freedom to remove CO2 from the atmosphere than developing/poor countries, should we not avoid burning any fuel that would generate CO2 ?

    Sure a wood burning stove was for a long time the perfect solution to heating.
    Fast warm-up, no dust, overhead drying-rack,optional HW, hot-plate, traditional look, small flue pipe allowing easier matching of up- and down-stairs windows at gable walls, etc.
    But for many country homes the availability of strong wind allows one to microgenerate.
    No question but electric heat (when it’s generated from wind) is healthier and more manageable for people.
    Certainly, some folks will retain their fireplace anyway, even if microgeneration policy is incentivised properly here.
    But for those of us who would question anyway the role of the traditional tinteán in a modern house design, the specific cost / benefit for this feature in the present world puts it in under the spotlight more than ever.

  • #811167

    Anonymous

    Merry Crimbo everyone..

    Hope thats not Teak their burning there… respect wood.

  • #811168

    Anonymous

    @teak wrote:

    why the kitchen could not possibly be the heart of the “Irish home” and why such a suggestion deserves to be scoffed at…

    Because the heart of the home — as I appreciate it at any rate — is that area where people relax, talk, watch TV together, read, listen to music.
    Assigning this area to the same area where food is being prepared (noise, smell, space / circulation compatibility issues to name but 3) is just a way to make the life for the owners harder and (when receiving visitors) more embarrassing.

    why an “architect” who has an “appetite for exploring new horizons” begins with the compartmentalised planning of “kitchen”, “lounge” and “sitting room”?

    I think — as clearly delineated areas, not necessarily permanently walled spaces — this is a quite acceptable place for a progressive architect to start.
    Why ?

    If you don’t wall off your separate kitchen, lounge and sitting room then how do you intend to overcome your perceived problems with the kitchen as the hearth, i.e. noise, smell and embarassment?

    Why are you embarassed to bring someone into your kitchen?
    What the hell do you do in there, skin the neighbourhood cats?
    In many Irish homes, at least in the countryside anyway, it is more traditional to enter a home through the back door and directly into the kitchen than it would be to formally approach the front door, proceed to the ‘living room’ or parlour and then wait on your host to entertain you there.
    In fact, how many homes have you ever visited where you have not ended up in the kitchen at some point?
    Why is it, do you think, that at most parties the formal, tidy and ‘comfortable’ living room remains empty while the entire congregation wedges itself into the kitchen, no matter how poky or embarassing that kitchen is?

    How many engaging conversations have you had while sitting around a television in a living room, as opposed to sitting at the kitchen table conversing over a tea or coffee?
    How well does dinner conversation hold up when that dinner is eaten from one’s lap in front of a television, rather than at a dinner table?
    If you visited your friend’s house for dinner, would you sit in the living room watching television and shouting through a wall at him while he prepared the meal in the kitchen, or would you go into the kitchen, offer to give a hand with the preparation and converse informally while you do so?

    I fear that you have grossly underestimated the importance of the kitchen teak, and your stubborness won’t allow you to admit otherwise.
    The kitchen has a unique ability to draw people together, to induce conversation and to make people feel welcome in a home. To overlook this, as a ‘professional architect’, could be viewed as malpractice, or even a crime.

  • #811169

    Anonymous

    “I think — as clearly delineated areas, not necessarily permanently walled spaces — this is a quite acceptable place for a progressive architect to start.”

    I agree to an extent, I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel, the standard set of rooms have come about of a long evolution. However the aim of this thread, as I understood, was questioning the role of the fireplace and how to design a home without it. However this starting point which you have chosen, the “kitchen”, “lounge” and “living room” is bound with the fireplace, I do not think it is possible to simply replace it with something of equal value, which is why I would expect an “architect” with an “appetite for exploring new horizons” would start further back, at a more fundamental level; these clearly delineated areas strike me as a conclusion.

  • #811170

    Anonymous

    It’s Xmas.
    I’d better do my bit to educate you, FJ.
    (It has become clear that architects here see lay people’s ignorance as their natural resource: they are quite content to see a person in a foolish design orbit for ever rather than take him to one side and explain a thing or two to him for free. But that’s their problem – and they are suffering for this “professional” attitude right now.)

    Kitchen in today’s parlance is just that area where the food is prepared and washing up done.
    It need not be a large space.
    I know that the word kitchen meant something else in the country homes of our youth.
    Even some of the city homes too.
    But thank God (except for the very poor and the wilfully neglected) this is no longer the case.

    Meals would be done in most newer homes in the area designated as Dining.
    Basically an area big enough for those sitting around the table to operate with plenty of elbow room.
    Yes, the Kit and Din areas are sometimes not walled off at all.
    They may be open plan with eachother, one may have a serving counter surrounding the Kit area, one can have a transparent foldbable partition to lessen odours entering areas adjacent to the Kit, one can wall off most of its interface leaving a doorway between them.
    The Family Lounge would normally (but not always, according to choice of residents) link to the dining area. This space would have all the usual couches, armchairs, coffee table with newspaper shelf under it, TV, stereo, shelves for family photos/books, etc.
    I suppose the notion of a Family Lounge area and a Living Room is to allow home residents to remain undisturbed by the arrival of visitors.
    As someone who grew up in a house where the kitchen had everything in it (cooking, baking, ironing, eating, TV, sudden visitors) I never liked the way everything had to change to suit the visitors: no talk, TV off, chairs taken from under one, etc.
    Having a cosy family lounge away from the front door allows visitors to be kept from causing undue disruption in a home.
    I hope that this is a bit clearer now.

    I have to confess that I have no great interest in other people’s kitchens.
    I have of course eaten dinners in their Kit/Din rooms but apart from discussion related to the stuff on the table, all real conversation waited till we were back in the living room.
    Generally I would not talk at or go into the kitchen with someone making dinners.
    Nor would I want them doing the same towards me.
    Offers of help in washing-up are normally given and accepted however.
    So, no, the Kit has not been a setting of great sentiment in my life.
    To me it’s just a mainly functional area.
    I see no unique ability in a kitchen to draw people together.
    Surely the place for that is in the family lounge, seeing all the photos, heirlooms, books of importance and everything else that defines the life of the people in that house ?
    If one doesn’t connect with that core aspect of people’s lives what interest would their Kit/Din area ever have for one ?

    To SS :

    the “kitchen”, “lounge” and “living room” is bound with the fireplace

    I would not say that at all. Pity you haven’t elaborated.
    To my eye these are purely sensible divisions of the space based on primary function and convenience of operation. I think they would exist as such (given affordability, of course) even if we had no need of space heating.
    I see the potential for removal of the fireplace feature as challenging the architect/int designer to rearrange the new living room space without that traditional feature.

  • #811171

    Anonymous

    Wow teak, you’ve certainly opened my eyes alright.
    I’m not sure I’ve ever come across a more myopic or selfish approach to domestic existence in my life.

    Thanks for the breakdown of what each compartment contains too, I’d never have guessed that a family lounge might contain couches and coffee tables (ones with newspaper shelves underneath too!!).

    Your attitude towards me and my views as a supposed lay-person is utterly patronising.
    You’re not doing the image of architects any favours there.
    I’ve seen enough Grand Designs episodes to know the difference between a lounge and a living room, thank you very much.

    I sincerely hope that your previous post does not also act as your own personal checklist for how you design houses, because it’s moronic.

  • #811172

    Anonymous

    You are judging people from the way they write, I feel.
    I have given you an explanation that you seemed to lack.
    I myself (a layman) was just as ignorant of modern house design up to not so long ago.
    Why you see my suggestion of removing the fireplace element as some sort of attack on all you hold dear, I cannot work out.

  • #811173

    Anonymous

    @teak wrote:

    You are judging people from the way they write, I feel.
    I have given you an explanation that you seemed to lack.
    I myself (a layman) was just as ignorant of modern house design up to not so long ago.
    Why you see my suggestion of removing the fireplace element as some sort of attack on all you hold dear, I cannot work out.

    Ok teak, this is where I’m going to climb off your crazy train.

    I had mistakenly inferred that you were a ‘professional architect’ as you had previously stated that this thread was aimed at such people.

    Your assertion that my position is a defence of the open fireplace is a misunderstanding on your behalf.

    When you say you were just as ignorant of modern house design up to not so long ago, who were you just as ignorant as? You betrayed your ignorance in almost every post you made on this thread, so you’re not quite there yet.

    If you want professional design advice before you build your house, I don’t think an internet forum is the way to go, especially if you end up pointlessly debating things that you don’t seem to fully understand with pig-headed, anonymous people like me.

    Find an architect, PAY HIM, then cross your fingers.

  • #811174

    Anonymous

    Seems that I picked the worst possible time of the year for this topic !
    So be it.
    If there’s any merit to this question then it will arise again, perhaps in the course of another member’s housebuilding or renovation project.

    Glorious New Years all.

  • #811175

    Anonymous

    How many times a year do we use fireplaces? The rest of the time they cause drafts and cold bridges. If you’ve ever been in a passive house you’ll find the last thing you want is a fire or stove. Are architects still designing houses with big 20kw oil boilers and 2 or 3 open fireplaces in 2010. No wonder most of the profession is redundant.

  • #811176

    admin
    Keymaster

    I think thats a little harsh; there is something very pleasant about an open fire particularly one that burns wood; in terms of carbon emmisions there is a cost but equally wood from responsible forrest management i.e. pruning or off cuts from joinery shops would have hit landfill anyway.

    I do however concur that the thermal bridge argument is a serious reason not to have an open fireplace in the existing format; however I have no doubt that in the future someone will design a system under negative pressure that can be closed at chimney/flue opening level when not in use. That combined with bundles of insulation behind the duct carrying the extract to prevent the thermal bridge effect along a long vertical area in the riser.

    Whilst the room level hearth and fireplace are likely to remain traditional I suspect the elements you can’t see are more likely to ressemble commercial kitchen extracts going forward and a grate tradition remain for those that can afford to buy and maintain a much more complex system.

  • #811177

    Anonymous

    Most passive houses being built have room sealed stoves with dedicated air supply and a thermally broken flue, both with damper valves.

    Open fires mainly use saw cut hardwoods or peat briquettes neither of which os a sustainable fuel source. Stoves can use sitka spruce or larchpole pine.

    A fireplace is a net heat loss to a house even when it get high usage, Sure i have to agree that there is nothing to match an open fire, but unfortunately it compromises achieving a build that meets our current expectations of comfort. When achieving stable year round temperatures without bolting on a big life support 20kW Boiler, you need to insulate, this has the effect of raising dramatically the entropy of the air. This extra moisture carrying capacity of the warm air will create condensation problems at cold spots where dew point can occur at temps as high as 15 degrees. In this context whole house ventilation strategies becomes the only option, heat recovery then becomes a necessity as you shouldnt have to reheat the house volume every hour. In this context with a nice compact design, good siting and tight, vapour open detailing. Your heat load becomes so small on the coldest day that half a toaster could meet the space heating peak load (10 w heat output per sq.m).

    Aesthetically, with good lighting, you dont miss the fireplace in a passive house, the opportunities for expansive glazing and open volume space more than compensate and your not running out every hour for more turf. So just stick a log fire DVD on the big plasma screen and walk about your toasty underfloor heated marble( locally sourced) floors in your bare feet. A fireplace place will not provide conditions of stable thermal comfort.

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