The Eames House

Designed and built by the Eames couple in 1949, The Eames House (also known as Case Study House No. 8) is a landmark of mid-20th century modern architecture and is located in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles. It was made to serve as living space and a design studio for Charles and Ray Eames. The house reflected the Eames couple very well.

The Eames House

The house is said to have been filled with gifts from friends, family, and colleagues. To this day it is a house studied by architects all over the world for its representation of the Eames philosophy: Simplicity and functionality.

Julius Shulman – Charles and Ray in the Eames House living room, 1958 

Design

In 1945, Charles Eames draws a first sketch of the house with his dear friend and colleague Eero Saarinen. The design showed a raised steel and glass box projecting out of the slope and spanning the entrance drive before cantilevering dramatically over the front yard. The designed was modified and the house is now made of two glass and steel rectangular boxes one being a studio and the other a residence. A mezzanine was added to the residential space accessible by a spiral staircase. Furthermore, a courtyard was introduced in order to separate the residential bit from the studio. The house was built using only “off-the-shelf” components from construction catalogs. The materials used were plywood and plastic materials that the Eames couple developed for their furniture.

“Just as a good host tries to anticipate the needs of his guest, so a good architect or a designer or a city planner tries to anticipate the needs of those who will live in or use the thing being designed.” – Charles Eames

Collection

The Eames House is also known for the number of objects found in it. It was a home filled with gifts, books, fabrics, folk art, prisms, shells, rocks, and straw baskets. Essentially, Charles and Ray Eames believed that life was an act of design which made them collect the objects that represented their “living”. The objects told stories about their lives, interests, and passions.

Landscapes

Ray Eames was known to have taken great care of the garden and landscape of her house. The surrounding nature of the house was essential to its design. With a sense of conservatism, Ray Eames wanted to preserve a row of pre-existing eucalyptus trees and decided to implement California native plantings. The couple did, however, add nonnative plants such as olive trees, pepper trees, roses, violas, and Santa Barbara daisies among many more.

The Eames House Now

The Eames couple lived in this house until their deaths (Charles in 1978 and Ray, ten years to the day, in 1988.). The house is now a historic house museum maintained by the Eames Foundation. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

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