This month's interactive 3D floor plan shows a simple and beautiful steel frame structure designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. The Case Study House Program, initiated by John Entenza in 1945 in Los Angeles, was conceived to offer to the public models of a low cost and modern housing. Predicting the building boom after World War II, Entenza invited renowned architects such as Richard Neutra to design and build houses for clients, using donated materials from manufacturers and the building industry.
Entenza was the editor of the monthly magazine Arts & Architecture, in which he published the ideas of the participating architects that he had invited. Two of those architects were Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames, who for Case Study House number 6, Entenza commissioned to design his own home. The house was built just a few meters away from Charles and Ray Eames’ house which the duo also constructed as part of the Case Study program.
The Eames House consisted of two double height adjacent pavilions and was originally designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. It was substantially modified by Charles with his wife Ray during the building process. Due to these changes in the Eames House design – and despite certain similarities with the Entenza house in the treatment of the facade – a writer in a contemporary journal wrote, that they were “technological twins but architectural opposites”; the Eames house could be described as vertical while the form of the Entenza house was much more horizontal.
The Entenza house, by comparison, did not go through many modifications. It was built in 1949 almost exactly the way it was published in Arts and Architecture, as a rigorous steel and glass construction with an open and adaptable space, which could be modified depending on the number of family members and guests. The architects placed four columns in the center of the structure with the goal of creating a spacious interior with as little obstruction as possible. In keeping with this principle, the communal area of the house, which was 11 meters (36 feet) long, could be divided into different relaxation, dining and meeting areas. The floor in the living room had different levels, which created steps that could be used as informal seats.
The materials inside the house consisted of plastered floors and wood-paneled walls, while the ceiling was covered with birch wood slats. A chimney was placed in the center of the living space, and the bedroom was exposed to the seating area – on a slightly raised level so that the floor of the bedroom encountered the top of the seat-backs – but could also be shut off from view by sliding walls. Sliding glass doors created the impression of an expansive inside space. They gave a view to the exterior prairie landscape and the nearby ocean.
Entenza lived and worked in his house for five years. Once he sold the house, the original design was changed several times. Other houses were built on the plot, which had a significant impact on the overall appearance of the site.
Christa Gebert is curator of Alte Fabrik and an admirer of the Case Study House Program. The 3D model included in this article was created by Orest Karaskevych of Archilogic. Photographs by Andrew B. Hurvitz.
Don't miss Archilogic's previous models shared on ArchDaily:
- Case Study House #6 / Richard Neutra
- Case Study House #22 / Pierre Koenig
- Case Study House #21 / Pierre Koenig
- Case Study House #8 / Charles & Ray Eames
- Farnsworth House / Mies van der Rohe
- Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe
- Quoted in Elizabeth A.T. Smith, Case Study Houses, (Taschen-Verlag, 2006) p.27