Eames House
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Architect Charles Eames
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Location Pacific Palisades, California   map
Date 1945 to 1949   timeline
Building Type house
 Construction System semi-prefab, light steel frame with panels
Climate mild temperate
Context rural
Style Modern
Notes Case Study House No. 8. Modern aesthetic of light elegant assembly from standard industrial elements.
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Drawings

 


Lower Plan Drawing

Site Plan Drawing

Upper Plan Drawing
Plan Drawing
Plan Drawing

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Discussion Eames House Commentary

"This house was designed as an attempt toward a living pattern and not as a fixed architectural pattern. The materials used are steel frame and factory windows with plaster and glass used in panels."

— Frank Harris and Weston Bonenberger, ed. A Guide to Contemporary Architecture in Southern California. p34.

"Charles Eames' own house was one of a number of Case Study Houses sponsored by the West Coast journal Arts and Architecture. The aim of the magazine was to seek out new design ideas—particularly in the use of new materials and techniques—and to propagate good design. Eames' house was certainly unconventional, a package of standard, off-the-peg components which, when assembled, made up an art-work as unique as a Duchamp ready-made. Basically it is a double-storey unit divided into house and studio areas by an open court. The house itself has a full-height living room at the south end and takes up eight of the seventeen standard 7 foot 6 inch bays. The house and studio were built against a 200-foot long concrete retaining wall and constructed as steel skeletons designed to receive standard industrial sashes and panels."

— Dennis Sharp. A Visual History of Twentieth-Century Architecture. p170.

"Eames' house uses existing industrially made components in a straightforward and workmanlike way. But he uses the paneling necessary for an industrial grid in an inventive way. The exterior of his house consists of transparent panels, clear or wired glass; translucent panels which are glass fibre and opaque ones which are wood, grey asbestos, aluminum and coloured blue, red, earth colour, black, or, on occasion, covered with plaster covered with gold leaf.

"R. Craig Miller gives this description of the interior: 'In contrast to the starkness of many international style interiors, Eames's interiors were increasingly filled with distinctive arrangements of furniture, rugs, flowers, pillows, toys, candles, shells and other collectibles that approached a high Victorian clutter.' "

— David Dunster. Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century Volume 2: Houses 1945-1989. p16-17.

"Factory-produced steel window and door units, as well as steel framing and roof decking, metal frames are filled with transparent or translucent glass and panels of stucco painted with primary colors or white. The main part of the living area is two stories high. Bedrooms are on a mezzanine floor which opens into the living room; beneath the mezzanine is a small alcove with built-in seats and bookcases."

— from Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Arthur Drexler, ed. Built in the USA: Post-war Architecture. p59.

The Creator's Words

"In the exhibit, we are trying to show something about a decision that the designer must make when he starts to work for a client. We have found it a very helpful strategy to restrict our own work to subjects that are of genuine and immediate interest to us—and are of equal interest to the client. If we were to work on things or in ways that we knew were not of legitimate concern to both of us, we probably would not be serving our clients, or ourselves, very well. Throughout the work for the various clients, the unifying force is this common interest, plus a preoccupation with structure which comes from looking at all problems as architectural ones... As client and designer get to know each other, they influence each other. As society's needs become more apparent, both client and designer expand their own personal concerns to meet these needs."

— Charles Eames. from the catalogue for the exhibition What is Design? p14.

Details

201 Chautuaqua
Santa Monica, California

American Institute of Architects 25 Year Award, 1978

Resources
Sources on Eames House

"Classic Home 067", by ArchitectureWeek, ArchitectureWeek No. 305, 2006.0927, pH1.

"Case Study: Eames House", by Eames Demitrios, ArchitectureWeek No. 95, 2002.0424, pC1.1.

"The History of Interior Design", by John Pile, ArchitectureWeek No. 65, 2001.0905, pC1.1.

David Dunster. Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century, Volume 2: Houses, 1945-1989. Boston: Butterworth Architecture, 1990. ISBN 0-408-50029-8. LC 85-42945. NA680.D86 1985. discussion, p16-17. ground floor plan, p17. upper floor plan, p17. site plan, p16.

Muriel Emanuel, ed. Contemporary Architects. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980. ISBN 0-312-16635-4.

Frank Harris and Weston Bonenberger, ed. A Guide to Contemporary Architecture in Southern California. Los Angeles: Watling & Company, 1951. NA 730 .C2 H35. p34.

Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Arthur Drexler, ed. Built in the USA: Post-war Architecture. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1945. LC 68-57299. NA712.N45 1968. discussion p59.

John Neuhart, Marilyn Neuhart, Ray Eames. Eames Design: The Work of the Office of Charles and Ray Eames. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1989. NK 1535 .E25 N48 1989. ISBN 0-8109-0879-4. p14.

Marilyn Neuhart, John Neuhart. Eames House. John Wiley & Son Ltd, October 1994. ISBN 1854909053. — Available at Amazon.com

Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. New York: Facts on File, 1990. ISBN 0-8160-2438-3. NA680.S517. construction, interior, and exterior photos, plan drawings, p170. — Available at Amazon.com

James Steele. Eames House, Charles and Ray Eames (Architecture in Detail). Phaidon Press Inc., August 1994. ISBN 071483002X. — Available at Amazon.com

Marcus Whiffen and Frederick Koeper. American Architecture, Volume 2. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984. exterior photo, f301, p377. — An excellent survey of American architecture. Available at Amazon.com

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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