|The height of Mid Century Modern: Compared to today's|
typical tract house, the homes of developer
Joseph Eichler look about as old as tomorrow
(Image courtesy of MCM Daily)
“I call them Eichler homes,” he responded. “There’s nothing else like them.”
With their dramatic facades, breezy interiors and Californian focus on patio living, Eichlers are still standouts today, a half-century after their inception.
|Joseph Eichler, dairy executive turned|
developer and architectural visionary.
|In Eichler homes, acres of full-height glass|
reflect a time when energy was dirt cheap.
(Image courtesy of eichlerhometour.org)
|The daring Eichler atrium straddled|
the line between indoors and out.
|Eichler's modular post and beam system|
looked spectacular, but could make adding on
a real challenge.
However, the home’s single greatest shortcoming couldn’t have been anticipated by Eichler or by his architects: Designed during an era of dirt-cheap energy, Eichlers made extravagant use of glass and were poorly insulated. As energy costs soared during the 70s, Eichlers proved disastrously inefficient—and unlike homes with attics and conventional windows, there was no quick retrofit available.
For these reasons, as well as Modernism’s fall from favor, the Eichler will forever remain emblematic of the 1950s and 60s. But what an emblem! Though Joseph Eichler’s uncompromising vision may have brought him financial ruin, his legacy has proved more permanent.