Charles Eames considered everything the Eames Office did as an extension of architecture and as early as 1937 Ray wrote, “Modern architectur—not a style. A philosophy of life.” Nevertheless, the list of their built — or even designed — buildings is short indeed.
Like with most finished products, especially with those that have become famous or familiar or treasured by people, the Eames House exists for most as a snapshot of when they first encountered it. But, in fact, it went through a fair amount of transformation. The house was commissioned as a part of the Case Study House Program, sponsored by Arts and Architecture Magazine, publisher John Entenza. One of the goals of the case study program was to find ways to house the GIs who were expected to deluge America after World War II. In the program, every house had a hypothetical client. In the Eames House, Charles and Ray made sure they were the client, therefore the house was designed for a working couple with grown children, who needed a studio space and a living space. Another goal was to try to use some of the technologies that had evolved from the war for something besides killing people. The Eames House was designed to be made entirely out of off-the-shelf pre-made parts to show that a house could be prefabricated and still be a successful home. The initial design of the Eames House was actually designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen in their only other architectural collaboration besides the Entenza House (next door to the Eames House). This design was known as the Bridge House. After the parts were delivered, however, Charles and Ray realized that they had made the classic architectural mistake of choosing a beautiful site, and wiping it out with a building. Therefore, Charles and Ray decided to pose themselves a new problem: how to enclose the maximum volume with the same elements. It is this design, which was eventually built, and it is this design that is properly credited to Charles and Ray. As it happens, they did build it out of the same pile of parts, and only had to order one extra beam.
901 Washington Boulevard
The Eames Office worked here from 1943 until Ray’s death in 1988, moving out in early 1989. The building required extensive earthquake proofing at the time. Such work required removing the contents and gutting the interior. Ray had made clear to her family that she felt preserving 901 under those circumstances would be something of an empty gesture. The building still stands after extensive remodeling (of the interior and the facade) by the architect Frank Israel. The street name has been changed to Abbot Kinney Boulevard. 901 is not open to the public.
Herman Miller Showroom
Only portions of the facade of this 1949 design are still intact, but visible at 8806 Beverly Boulevard, just west of Robertson Blvd on the south side of the street.
The Entenza House
The Entenza House is near the Eames House in Los Angeles, California. It is not open to the public, even by appointment. It has recently been restored by the new owners and has an addition by the architect Barry Berkus.
Charles designed and built several houses and churches in the 1930′s, many of which are still standing. As the Eames Office receives permission for their inclusion in this site, we will do so.