Eames Case Study House 9

John Entenza, publisher of Arts & Architecture magazine, purchased a five-acre meadow overlooking the Pacific Ocean with the intention of building several demonstration houses in close proximity for the Case Study House Program. Originally, six houses were intended to be built, but only five were (one of which was disavowed). It is a unique concentration, illuminating the innovative thinking of different architects as they addressed the challenge issued by Arts & Architecture magazine.

Landscaping and siting was used to provide privacy between the structures.  Seen on the left, a berm was built between the Eames and Entenza houses that was then planted heavily.

The December 1945 issue of Arts & Architecture discussed these two houses co-designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen: “While the land is intended to be used communally, each house is so oriented so that it has complete privacy within its indoor-outdoor needs. The road follows the natural contour of the hill and will be allowed to gather leaves and regain the natural surface of the land. It serves each of the two houses, expanding for necessary turning and parking areas.”

The Five Bluff Houses

CSH #8, THE EAMES HOUSE, completed 1949

Designed by Charles and Ray Eames,
Featured in December 1949 Arts & Architecture,
Eames Foundation, open to the public.

The second design for the site, the house was nestled into the hillside in order to preserve the meadow and trees. The same off-the-shelf materials–steel, expanses of glass and stucco–were reassembled into the new design, essentially a kit of parts.  The structure is fully revealed, a celebration of the honest use of materials. View the National Historic Landmark Nomination here.

CSH #9, THE ENTENZA HOUSE, completed 1949

Designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen,
Featured in July 1950 Arts & Architecture,
Private property, closed to the public.

Construction photo of the Eames House, with the Entenza House clearly seen beyond.

The Entenza House was designed for John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture, who spearheaded the Case Study House Program. As described by the LA Conservatory, CSH #9 “is a modular plan and features steel frame construction. But in contrast to many modern residences utilizing steel frame construction, that of the Entenza House is not actually revealed, but concealed with wood-paneled cladding… This design exemplified the concept of merging interior spaces through glass expanses and seamless materials.”

The Eames House and the Entenza House are not only linked by their designers, but they have also been described as comparative spaces. While the Eames House has been described as a revealed vertical space, the Entenza House offers a complimentary concealed horizontal space. Through these comparisons, CSH #8 and CSH #9 offer different perspectives of inside vs. outside space as well as private vs. public space. View the National Register of Historic Places Nomination by clicking here.

CSH #18, THE WEST HOUSE, completed in 1948

Designed by Rodney Walker,
Featured in February 1948 Arts & Architecture,
Private property, closed to the public.

Construction photo looking through the Eames House, with the Entenza House to the left, and the West House with its garage and lawn reaching to the right.

CSH #18 was the first Case Study House built on the bluff, and as described in Arts & Architecture, it displays “a simple, straight-forward solution of the client’s problems”. The intended clients for the West House were a couple in their early thirties who expected to entertain frequently.

Walker used floor-to-ceiling glass panels in public areas to emphasize the impressive ocean views, as well as created a living room with “a feeling of openness and informal spaciousness” for ease in entertaining. As explained in Arts & Architecture, the house was constructed on a three-foot module system to emphasize efficiency, symmetry, and the “absence of waste”. View the National Register of Historic Places Nomination by clicking here.

CSH #20, THE BAILEY HOUSE, completed in 1948

Original structure and later expansions designed by Richard Neutra,
Featured in December 1948 Arts & Architecture,
Private property, closed to the public.

At the time the Bailey House was built, Richard Neutra was the most well-known and respected architect taking part in the Case Study House program. As was typical for him at the time, Neutra designed the house with an extensive use of glass, steel and wood.

The client, Dr. Bailey, was a young, newly married doctor who needed to keep the budget low. Neutra’s design included several potential future additions, so that the house could grow along with the doctor’s family and budget. In addition, Neutra incorporated flexible, multi-purpose spaces open to the exterior, allowing the family to use the outdoor space for dining and entertaining.

HOUSE #201, Unofficial

Original design by Richard Neutra,
Featured in May 1947 Arts & Architecture,
Private property, closed to the public.

Considered the “forgotten case study house”, the House at #201 was originally designed by Richard Neutra in the late 1940s. The design was changed at the request of the first owners and therefore was not included in the Case Study Program.

The Case Study House # 9 was designed by the architects Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen for John Entenza, responsible for initiating the program and also director and editor of Arts & Architecture magazine, who lived and worked there until he sold it to the 5 years of its construction, at which time a series of changes were made on the original design.

Located at 205 Chautauca Boulevard, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles (USA), whose plot occupies almost one hectare in a meadow overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Like its partners in the "Casas de Estudio" Program, the house was designed not only to serve as a comfortable and functional residence, but to show how modular steel construction could be used to create low-cost housing for a society that He was still recovering from World War II. With this premise the architects Eames and Saarinen designed the house in such a way that the landscape was an extension of it, so that the house was related to the landscape and its surroundings.

The objective of the original project designed by the architects was to reach the maximum space with the minimum possible structure, the project is developed with the idea of ​​"elastic space" in which the space varies depending on the occasional occupation needs due to guests or the family. After a series of construction difficulties due to delays, the building was completed in 1949, maintaining the original idea of ​​creating a fluid space related to the environment.


The house is structured around four steel pillars, 10 cm wide and 2.13 m high, located in the center of the project, allowing, in this way, the bracing and transmitting most of the load to the perimeter belt getting all the interior elements to support a similar and lighter load.

The structure of steel and glass is hidden by drywall panels that line the walls of the house. The roof is made by a single flat slab of concrete while the interior roof is covered with birch wood slats.

The floor of the house with square shape and sides of 16.5 meters. The house is divided by a gap of 90 cm that separates the public rooms from the private ones, where the architects take advantage of these height differences to create a permanent informal furniture.

The entrance to the house, located to the North, is separated from the garage by a translucent glass that allows the passage of light from a skylight located in it. In the corridor we find the entrance to a more private area where there are two rooms, two bathrooms and a study without windows to avoid distractions from the outside.

South of the house is the public space where the architects Eames and Saarinen developed the idea of ​​flexible space through a translucent tobacco shop that separates while connecting all rooms allowing an intimate relationship with the outside. The kitchen and living room are separated by a wardrobe wall while both open to the south.

The photographs presented in this article from Casa Case Study No. 9 (Los Angeles, California), 1950, have been reproduced from the J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute of the Julius Shulman Photography archive. While copying has been allowed, the copyright remains the property of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

The "Entenza House" is the ninth of the famous Case Study Houses built between 1945 and 1962 for a society still recovering from the Second World War. John Entenza, editor of Arts and Architecture magazine, was responsible for initiating the program.

The Eameses are best known for their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing, and the photographic arts.

Charles Eames was born in 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri.  He attended school there and developed an interest in engineering and architecture.  After attending Washington University...read more

The Eameses are best known for their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing, and the photographic arts.

Charles Eames was born in 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri.  He attended school there and developed an interest in engineering and architecture.  After attending Washington University in St. Louis on scholarship for two years and being thrown out for his advocacy of Frank Lloyd Wright, he began working in an architectural office.  In 1929, he married his first wife, Catherine Woermann (they divorced in 1941), and a year later Charles’s only child, Lucia was born.  In 1930, Charles started his own architectural office.  He began extending his design ideas beyond architecture and received a fellowship to Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he eventually became head of the design department.

Ray Kaiser Eames was born in 1912 in Sacramento, California.  She studied painting with Hans Hofmann in New York before moving on to Cranbrook Academy where she met and assisted Charles and Eero Saarinen in preparing designs for the Museum of Modern Art’s Organic Furniture Competition.  Charles and Eero’s designs, created by molding plywood into complex curves, won them the two first prizes.

Charles and Ray married in 1941 and moved to California where they continued their furniture design work with molding plywood.  During World War II they were commissioned by the United States Navy to produce molded plywood splints, stretchers, and experimental glider shells.  In 1946, Evans Products began producing the Eameses’ molded plywood furniture.  Their molded plywood chair was called “the chair of the century” by the influential architectural critic Esther McCoy.  Soon production was taken over by Herman Miller, Inc., who continues to produce the furniture in the United States today.  Another partner, Vitra International, manufactures the furniture in Europe.

In 1949, Charles and Ray designed and built their own home in Pacific Palisades, California, as part of the Case Study House Program sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine.  Their design and innovative use of materials made the House a mecca for architects and designers from both near and far.  Today, it is considered one of the most important post-war residences anywhere in the world.

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Eero Saarinen (Rantasalmi, Finland, 1910 - Bloomfield Hills, United States of America, 1961), is an architect of Finnish origin that develops all his professional activity in the United States, country he moved to in 1923, when he was thirteen years old. He studies sculpture at the Academy of the Grand Chaumiére of Paris in 1929 and architecture at Yale University between 1930 and 1934....read more

Eero Saarinen (Rantasalmi, Finland, 1910 - Bloomfield Hills, United States of America, 1961), is an architect of Finnish origin that develops all his professional activity in the United States, country he moved to in 1923, when he was thirteen years old. He studies sculpture at the Academy of the Grand Chaumiére of Paris in 1929 and architecture at Yale University between 1930 and 1934.

In his first years of professional activity, Eero Saarinen works in the practice of his father, the also well-known architect Eliel Saarinen, of which he becomes partner in 1941 along with J. Robert Swanson. At this time he was also professor of architecture at the Cranbrook Art Academy.

After the death of his father in 1950, Saarinen opens his own practice in Birmingham (Alabama) under the name of Eero Saarinen & Associates. Some of his best known works are the General Motors Technical Center in Michigan; The Gateway Arch, in St. Louis; The TWA at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and the hockey pavilion at Yale University.

The professional career of Eero Saarinen also included his activity as furniture designer, creating well-known pieces.

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