Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Narrative and Purpose


The Cast Study House Program was a product of concerns regarding where domestic housing was headed after the war. Designs for Postwar Living was a competition held in 1943 when development of housing ceased due to the nation’s involvement in the  war. The production of the Model-T, Highway Defense Act, opening of the first grocery store and the emergence of the general assembly line all pointed at a future made for the masses versus the select. The competition was a response to the evident incoming influx of post war housing demand due to the advent of the middle class. Instead of continuing with competitions Entenza decided on a more concentrated program of constructing houses to provide opportunities for talented architects to imagine, design and construct the ideal home for a postwar middle class American family. The Eames House was one of the evangelized houses to promote the new modernist philosophy to the general public. The hopes was to not only captivate the public with the beauty of modernist houses but also with their functionality, affordability and liveability.

Sources: http://www.nps.gov/nhl/designations/samples/CA/Eames.pdf
Summarizes the Eames House in the context of domestic postwar housing including construction, location, and origins.


The Eames House was designed as part of the Arts and Architecture Magazine Case Study House series. In the original annoucement , the objective of the experiment was explained to be  an investigation into post-war housing and designs using the mass of material that had accumulated as a result of the wartime years. There were originally 8 houses purposed (it expanded to 34). The houses were going to be open for public tours and were going to explore the perfect living accommodations for each architect's respective lifestyles and would work on a specific living problem in California. Each architect was faced with a particular problem and their design had to fit within a specific budget. By no means were the Case Study Houses meant to be a stage for an individual "performance", and each house had to be capable of duplication. As well they must try to use prefabricated pieces from companies to build these homes. The first set of plans for the Eames House was published in the magazine in December 1945. Due to war shortage and the Eames deepening connection to the land, the design was rethought and the goals became: not destroy the meadow, maximize the volume with minimal material, to use the same parts (however they did order more steel beams). Also privacy and integrating the house into the landscape were valued.  After its construction its purpose resulted in affecting architecture around the world. It is an architectural icon now and is preserved, maintained and tours are available through The Eames Foundation, created by Charles’s daughter, Lucia Eames, in 2004.

The original announcement to the Case Study Project in Arts and Architecture Magazine

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