Eames House by Charles and Ray Eames
On September 20th, 2006, the Eames House became one of America’s National Historic Landmark, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on that very day as well. It also is considered an architectural iconic structure, and a must see for designers and architects alike. It is also known as the “Case Study House #8” and it was constructed and designed by the husband and wife team, Charles and Ray Eames. It was built in 1949 and is loc
ated in 203 N Chautauqua Blvd, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. The Eames has proudly used the finely constructed masterpiece as their home and studio ever since it was completed around Christmas 1949.
The house is a symbol to the mid-20th century modernistic, avant-garde era, and truly reflects the designers and architects themselves, as they could honestly be described as such. It was made known to everyone, how much inspiration, efficiency, and love was all around in their house, inspite of most other architectural structure that seem to lack purpose and spirit after its built. Theirs was a fully functional home.
The famed “Case Study House” program for Entenza’s magazine “Arts & Architecture”, which purpose was to deduce a modern home, elaborate its necessary requirements, acquire an distinguished architect to design and develop a house meeting all those prerequisites utilizing modern materials combined with thorough construction procedures, and finally they needed to complete the house. The Eames’ scenario was based on their plights of a young newly married couple needing a comfortable place to work, live, and entertain under one roof, still maintaining the harmony with the environment. Full documentation of all the processes was taken, before and after, and it was to be published in the magazine.
The site was near the coast but located on a forested slope, which was once part of Will Rogers’ huge estate. In 1945, together with his old friend Eero Saarinen, Charles sketched out the house, which resulted in an elevated glass and steel box protruding outwards of the slope, as it spanned the entry driveway before it cantilevered sensationally over the front yard. It was to completely construct from “off-the-shell” components obtainable from steel fabricating catalogs. But sourcing these materials post war was hard as most of the materials were in short supply, and by the time all the materials actually arrived it was three years later. During their down time, the Eames’ investigated every corner of the plot, getting to know the area, but they had a change of heart and they decided to not let the house transgress onto the meadow that lay to the front of the house. They collaborated feverishly, and came up with solution of the house sitting on the land more peacefully, instead of the previous overlooking design.
The newer design resulted in house being tucked into the slope with an 8ft tall by 200ft width concrete retaining wall on the ascending side. Making full use of a pre-fabricated spiral staircase that meant to be the lower entrance, a mezzanine was added, as the upper levels held the bedrooms and it overlooks the double height living room, and a courtyard was added as well, dividing the residence from studio space. The entrance door was branded with gold-leaf panels overhead, and the original row of eucalyptus trees were preserved along the exposed wall, giving shade and comfort.
The Eames’ House was the most famous of the 25 houses in the project, due to it fulfilling its purpose as the Eames’ resided there until their respective deaths. It is still used today by the Eames’ family as an occasional residence and taking full care of the house and décor, and the studio is part of the Eames Office continuing his work today.