A model of Case Study House no.8, known as the Eames House, was created in Second Life to understand the evolution of the home from its basic structural elements to the final multi-layered presence that is celebrated today.
The original plans for case study house no.8 by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen were first published in 1945. Material shortages after the war led to a postponement of construction and over the next four years, Charles and Ray fell in love with the meadow that would have been covered by the original design.
They set about redesigning the home, utilizing the materials that had already been ordered and preserving the meadow by cutting into the hillside. a stand of eucalypts that would eventually contribute their playful shadows to the façade of eames house was also preserved.
Case study houses No.8 & no.9 follow the same principles of steel construction – a grid of steel posts supporting lightweight ready made trusses. They are simple enclosures, industrial cages with glass and solid infil panels.
No.9 hides much of its structure in cladding. No.8 exposes its structure and borrows noticeably from the Japanese tradition. Its painted framework emulates shoji screens. The overall feel is of a lightness.
The trees create a secondary façade to the exterior of Eames House.
Without them, the cagelike qualities of the structure would dominate. The building would present a fixed, unchanging state.
With them, there is a constant play of light and shade across the façade.
Through their proximity, the bark and leaves of the trees and the hollow of the meadow become an organic textural overlay to the vertical steel and glass fabric.
Their reflection in the glass brings a seasonal fluidity to the curtain wall.
In 1955 the Eameses make a short film with the title: Home, after five years of living. The film has a lively score by Elmer Bernstein and sharp editing of slides taken by the Eames juxtaposes the many elements of their home. No one thing is more celebrated than any other. The Japanese austerity and familiar minimalism of modernism that was there in the first years of occupation are no longer apparent and what we find is an extraordinary collection of everyday objects, artifacts from other cultures, plants, books, artwork, candlesticks, masks, kachina dolls, toys, rugs, all kinds of organic material – shells, butterflies, tumbleweeds … Charles refers to this as the ‘good stuff’.!
The house has an energy. The steel and glass container is brimming over.
Home for Ray and Charles is more than a refuge it has become a stage set, a toy box, a lively puzzle of intricate and delicate artefacts.
The visitor is surrounded by offers to engage in creative play, to make discoveries. There is a ladder. Where does it go? Or is it just an invitation to climb and enjoy another view.
A painting by Hans Hoffman hangs from the ceiling, facing down into the room. The alcove is home to a stereo system and dozens of kachina dolls. Many things are small and fragile… candlesticks wait to bring their flickering light to the treasure trove.