The original design of the Eames House was a collaborative project by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. It called for a home located upon a cantilevered truss bridge and to display a sense of openness through its exposed steel frame. The Eames House was to float above the ground in an attempt to achieve the maximum span from the minimum of material. The original form did not arise from the program or the land it sat upon, but solely from its own structural order. However, not all of the structure was actually to be exposed as the floor and ceiling joists were concealed by plaster ceilings and soffits. As a result, the structure could then allow for the placement of interior partitions for the sake of acoustic privacy. Similar to the final design of the Eames House, the original design also called for the side walls to be layered in bands of horizontal steel windows.
|The "Bridge House" design|
Though, upon visiting an exhibition of Mies van der Rohe's work at the Museum of Modern Art in 1947, Charles Eames found inspiration for a new design that would preserve the meadow in the centre of the site and sit behind a row of eucalyptus trees.
If the two designs are compared, the point regarding the lack of efficiency in the first design is in fact true. The concept of using minimal material in the 'bridge' design did not yield efficient results and in comparison, the final design contained 3000 square feet to the 2500 square feet in the original. The final design of the Eames House also used considerably less steel, and in that manner, proved to be much more efficient than the original, but lost much of its industrial styling in the process. However, what eventually arose was a more subtle, and site aware example of steel construction where Charles Eames adapted systems from steel commercial buildings into his own pragmatic view of residential design.
From The Details of Modern Architecture vol. 2