The Eames House

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The approach, bathed in light

Lauryn and I swapped one California city for another over Thanksgiving, and headed down to LA to celebrate with her family in a marginally warmer climate. I was delighted to discover that the Eames’ Case Study House No. 8 was in the neighbourhood, so we headed over before the lunch was finished. In the past, the grounds of the house were open for anyone to just romp around. Sadly, no longer – they were advertised as ‘closed for the holidays’. That didn’t stop a pair of intrepid mid-century adventurers though – we jumped the gate and had the place to ourselves, autumnal sun pouring through the trees.

Situated amid a grove of Eucalyptus trees, and in a thoroughly lived-in state, you could not help yourself imagining living life behind the windows, amid classic pieces of modern furniture (that you designed yourself) and artefacts gathered from a lifetime travelling the world. Rather inspirational.

A lovely balance of natural and man-made geometry. I could not help but think of my previous trips to Japan; no doubt a lot of influence came from the East.

Lauryn gets some interior design tips

“I’ll take it!”

The back of the house, brightened with some splashes of colour

Reflecting the surroundings

The rear elevation


Rather a nice experience, all in all. It makes me realise that while LA is a suburban hellhole compared to San Francisco, it reaches higher heights with regards architectural quality. This makes little sense to me, given my adopted home city’s reputation for design and innovation.

Goodbye for now.

It wasn’t only all about mid-century architecture, we also had a mini tour of the city, taking in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry. While not situated as tantalisingly as the Bilbao prototype, and with ideas which initially seem derivative, the surfaces sang in the Californian sunshine. Before I had seen it with my own eyes, I was a little sceptical, but it worked better than I expected, and certainly provides a focal point for downtown and the orchestras contained within.

Sunlight screams out the geometry

… but it’s in the shadows that the real drama lies.

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