Wally Fields, Eichlerholic


      Who is this weird guy, oozing through this packed, tiny, cramped, beautiful modernist space? He's got a video camera looming over his head, looking up at the viewfinder- not in front of him, to make sure he's not gonna step on any toes, bump into people, knock over hors d'overs trays, or otherwise make a Jerry Lewis ass of himself in the middle of this really cool party, held by Monique Lombardelli.

      But god forbid he should ruin the shot! I (the weird guy in question) have tried twice before to film this house with a steadycam- only to find out that with only 4 hours of practice, my gliding shots are steadier without that tedious contraption. With it, in the wrong hands, one might as well call it the "drunken cam".

      And now, at night, the exposure control would be much easier... no brilliant bright of the outside sun clashing with the dark of the wood paneling to ruin the shot. Indeed, light spilled over to the outside plantings, due not just to the lights inside, but the ones under the overhanging roof outside. I had to finally, REALLY capture this "Uber Eichler"!

      Only it wasn't an Eichler. Even better! This was the Bazett House, the Frank Lloyd Wright home Joe Eichler lived in back in his dairy and egg days- the one that inspired him to build his homes. One of these was the first home I ever lived in, back in the good, old-fashioned days of the Space Age. Origin of an origin! Batteries charged, camera chip emptied, dilithium crystals ready, captain!

      The Bazett house is strange... built not on a square module, but a hexagonal one. This is especially evident in the multiple, half-hexagonal bay windows sticking out of the Great Room. Because of their spacing, convex spaces bring the inside out, alternating with concave spaces that bring the outdoors in, thus serrating the line between indoors and outdoors like a three dimensional zipper. From well-chosen angles, one can get multiple through-views from in, to out, back in, back out. Outside space not only bleeds in, it POKES in.

      Needless to say, this crystalline honeycomb with it's multiple cross reflections of happy visitors, was a great party space. Yoko may not have brought her Walrus, but there was magic in the air this night, as we celebrated the release of "People in Glass Houses", an absorbing documentary about Eichlers spearheaded by Executive Producer and Realtor Monique Lombardelli, and directed by Kyle Chesser (Hands On Studios). Oh, by the way, it was narrated by a certain self-proclaimed "Eichlerholic" and studly voice-actor -not that he's biased- named Wally Fields.

      We all had the chance to see the film earlier in the day, and were blown away. It starts with shots of Paul Adamson -a design architect with SF-based Hornberger + Worstell- at a drawing board. (Cleverly, the director has Paul "wiping" away the last of the film's opening credits from his drawing board). Paul draws out what makes Eichlers special. One overhead view is then extruded into a 3D computer graphic of one, and the show begins.

      Paul co-wrote the book "Eichler: Modernism Rebuilds the American Dream", with Marty Arbunich (of Eichler Network fame), and this book was largely the visual template for this documentary. You can take this literally- as the extensive but not overused CGI in the film "enters" pages of the book -flipping open to Ernie Braun's classic Eichler photos- and then enters those photos three dimensionally.

      The film further features gorgeous dolly shots that really bring to life how three-dimensional space is sculpted in these homes. The soundtrack bypasses the standard Lounge and "Frankie-and-Dino" style music, for a different and less stereotypical take on the kind of Jazz music one might listen to in an Eichler.

      "Glass Houses" proceeds with interviews with other Eichler owners, some describing the aesthetic, some the history. Architect Mark Marcinik makes a great comment linking Eichlers with Apple... "Eichlers are the IPhones and IPods of the day".

      Check out the film HERE and see for yourself.

      I feel very honored to have contributed some small part to this effort. Obsession loves company!

      If you own an Eichler YOU'RE obsessed with, would you consider the honor of giving me a tour? if so, please get in touch with me at the contact link below. Thanks!

     

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Last updated: 12.11.29
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