Joseph Eichler was a pioneering developer of residential suburbs whose socially conscious ethic progressive planning, and elegant modern design for moderately priced housing in California still serves as a standard for housing developments today. Defying conventional building industry wisdom by hiring a group of progressive architects to plan subdivisions and design reasonably priced homes, Eichler provided more than 11,000 residences that helped meet the dramatic need for post-World War II housing with extraordinary commodity and style.
Through the 1950s and sixties, Eichler Homes gained national and international acclaim for its innovative yet affordable features. Eichler and his architects improved family living when they initiated flexible open planning and built-in furnishings that reformed traditional rooms. The kitchen opened onto a "multipurpose room" (the forerunner of today's great room); the living and dining rooms were combined, and often used to separate the children's rooms from the parents' room; and a central atrium brought the ambient joys of the Californian climate inside while expanding interior vistas.
Eichler's social conscience inspired him to confront prevailing business and political trends that promoted racism and discouraged creative land use. His subdivisions, recalling the planning ideas of Clarence Stein, were based on village concepts, and he publicly declared a policy of nondiscrimination.
Fifties-era photographs capture the now-classic style that introduced middle-class families to a modern way of life. Popular today, as they were then, the Eichler homes represent a legacy of design integrity and demonstrate a level of quality for residential development that remains unparalleled in the history of American building.show more