This is the masonry heater that we built in the central community building of the Rio Azul community outside of El Bolson, Patagonia, Argentina in March of 2010. This heater can act as an open fireplace to provide the magic of fire and cut the chill in the late Spring or early Fall… but it really shines through the cold months when you close the first damper and send all the hot gases through a full round-trip in the day bed before they leave through the chimney. When the fire has gone out, you close the second damper to keep all the accumulated heat in the stone and adobe inside the building which emanates until the next fire you make the following day. There are pipes in the firebox that heat water in a hot water tank which is above the heater.
Most of the heater was built in our Naturally Building for Fire workshop that I led and then Eva and I did the finishing work afterward. Here you can see a little more of the context in which the heater was built. You can see the community kitchen in the background. The heater helps to form the living room / hang-out area. There is a sleeping loft in between. The building currently acts as a barn as well which is why garlic and herbs are hanging and bins of seeds are all around.
This heater also represents a breakthrough for us is making our own hardware. My old metalsmithing teacher let me build the firebox door, dampers and cleanouts in his shop.
I look forward to sharing more about the process on my personal blog so stay tuned….