Joseph Eichler was born on this day, June 25, 1900, in New York City. He lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright home in Hillsborough, California for a while, and was so inspired by Wright’s new naturalist designs, that he founded a company that eventually created modern, innovative housing for the Greater San Francisco Bay and Greater Los Angeles areas, as well as a few commissioned homes on the outskirts of New York City. What was particularly interesting about his venture was that he created stylish housing that was affordable for middle class denizens.
His company, Eichler Homes, built over 11,000 homes in twelve California communities and he established an anti-discrimination policy so that no one would be prohibited from buying an Eichler home. He was the only architect to build mid-century modern tract homes for the masses.
He utilized the benefits of his environment for his homes. The homes offered clean lines, open courtyards, lots of window spaces to let the California sunshine reign in, and he used local materials like California redwoods to design the interiors. His style was typically referred to as “California modern.”
“I don’t want to be immodest, but I believe we were the first volume builder in California to use many of the things that are now commonplace: sliding glass doors, built-in range and oven, metal cabinets, metal sash, radiant heat in floors.” – Joseph Eichler, American Builder Magazine
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