Have you heard of Eichler (pronounced ike-ler) homes? Jason and I have long admired the style and I decided to do a little more homework on the history and philosophy of Joseph Eichler and the “California Modern” homes he built.
Eichler was not an architect; he was a developer. Between 1950-1974, he built over 11,000 homes in California. He used architects who were students of Frank Lloyd Wright, like Robert Anshen. As I understand it, his philosophy was much like Wright’s: blurring the lines between inside and outside. One thing that set Eichler apart from his peers is that he wanted to keep his homes affordable to the middle class. His strict non-discrimination policy to sell homes to anyone regardless of race or religion led to his resignation from the National Association of Home Builders in 1958.
These paragraphs from Wikipedia (where I’m getting most of this info) really sums up the flavor of Eichler homes:
Eichler homes are from a branch of Modernist architecture that has come to be known as “California Modern,” and typically feature glass walls, post-and-beam construction, and open floor plans in a style indebted to Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe. Eichler Homes exteriors featured flat and/or low-sloping A-Framed roofs, vertical 2-inch pattern wood siding, and spartan facades with clean geometric lines. One of Eichler’s signature concepts was to “Bring the Outside In,” achieved via skylights and floor-to-ceiling glass windows with glass transoms looking out on protected and private outdoor rooms, patios, atriums, gardens, and swimming pools.
The interiors had numerous unorthodox and innovative features including: exposed post-and-beam construction; tongue and groove decking for the ceilings following the roofline; concrete slab floors with integral radiant heating; luan paneling; sliding doors for rooms, closets, and cabinets; and a standard second bathroom located in the master bedroom. Later models introduced the famous Eichler entry atriums, an open-air enclosed entrance foyer designed to further advance the Eichler concept of integrating outdoor and indoor spaces.
Here are some visual examples (sources in • below image):