The Historical Importance of Eichler Homes

Eichler’s Vision

From 1950 to 1974, Joseph Eichler built over 11,000 of his iconic homes in nine communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and three other communities in Southern California. Eichler’s dream was to design affordable, functional and stylish homes located in inclusive and diverse communities for middle-class Americans. His communities integrated parks and community centers which boosted the sense of community which was slowly disappearing. He also established a non-discrimination policy and sold his homes to anyone of any religion or race. In fact, in 1958, he resigned from the National Association of Home Builders when they refused to support a non-discrimination policy.

Eichler’s Inspiration

Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, he decided to produce similar designs with the help of well-known architects who would design both the site plans and the homes themselves. What Eichler and his associates created are fantastic examples of Mid-Century modern designs (also known as “California Modern”). Basically, his homes reflect the idea of taking separate elements and making them flow as one unit. The main features of these beautiful homes are their glass walls, post-and-beam construction, and open floorplans. As for the exteriors, the most notable features are their elegant flat and/or low-sloping A-framed roofs, vertical 2-inch pattern wood siding, and simple and clean facades with geometric lines.

Integrating Homes into the Environment

Eichler’s designs were meant to “bring the outside in” while maintaining an optimal sense of privacy. He successfully achieved this notion through the use of skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows with glass transoms looking out on protected and private outdoor rooms, patios, atriums, gardens, and swimming pools. What’s more, his homes have very few, if any, front-facing windows. The front parts of his homes have either small discreet, ceiling-level windows or small, rectangular windows with frosted glass.

Eichler’s Motivation

He designed structures which were meant to enhance our quality of life and sense of family. Similarly, his communities were also designed to heighten the level of community feeling amongst the residents. Those fortunate enough to live in Eichler homes and communities enjoy more interaction with family members as well as their neighbors. Eichler may not be known as a great philanthropist but it is a fact that he never made large profits from building these innovative homes. His motivation for creating them was never monetary. He was clearly motivated by the social concerns of his time. He wanted to enhance the quality of the average American home, while at the same time, provide all Americans with affordable custom-designed housing. Ironically, today Eichler homes are so sought-after that they cost millions. Fortunately, Eichler homeowners love their homes so passionately that it’s never a problem to get them to sign petitions to designate their neighborhoods as historic districts which will help preserve them for years to come.

Armstrong has always supported the preservation of San Francisco and Bay Area treasures like the Eichler homes. As a result, Armstrong Roofing installs state of the art SPF roofs on Eichlers not only to protect them against the elements but also in order to preserve our common American heritage. If you’re an Eichler owner, we invite you to contact us to learn more about why Armstrong’s SPF Roofing is the ideal choice for your home.

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