Curator, Barry Bergdoll: Charles and Ray Eames are designers of the mid-century and they've enjoyed an enormous revival in recent years, particularly for their furniture.
Their house is not literally a prefabricated house. It's a prefabricated way of thinking. And what the Eames were interested in was looking at, really, the whole universe of things that are produced by industry. The components of the building are made out of available pieces that were primarily used for industrial storage or lightweight temporary structures. And they were able to turn these elements into one of the most elegant, light-filled, houses of the period.
So this is an off-the-shelf house, with the idea that one might have a kind of whole house catalog from which the consumer could pick variants on a system. And those parts could be reassembled very easily to change the interior spaces—to add rooms, to change the relationship between openness and closedness, to have a series of many more closed rooms, to open up maybe as the family itself changes. But it also suggests that different people who want to configure these buildings differently could have a completely individualized floor plan, set of spaces, program for their house—living, sleeping, work—all of which could express their individual needs, and ultimately, even their individual taste.