Eichler’s Influences: Elegance in Design and the Atrium Entry
Joe Eichler valued sophistication and grace in his personal and professional style. He greatly admired men such as Fred Astaire and Joe DiMaggio for their mastery and elegance. Eichler was also inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs and sought to bring this simplicity and modernity to suburban America.
One of the most notable characteristics of Eichler’s homes, the atrium, embodies Eichler’s artistic flair and melds a number of Eichler characteristics. See previous posts for more no Eichler Style. Eichler’s E-11 & E-21 models, such as 728 Gailen Ave. in Palo Alto, were the first to incorporate the atrium as it is now recognized. According to Ned Eichler, it was architect Bob Anshen, of Anshen & Allen, who appreciated this ancient Roman design and refined it.
In Roman structures, the atrium was where one received guests and thus was regarded as the most important room of the home. This open-air room often included extravagant decoration, such as mosaics, as well as a center pool to collect rainwater. While the atrium’s function has changed, it still remains the focal point of many Eichler homes.
The simple elegance of Eichlers such as 728 Gailen Ave. allows them to be tailored to suit the owners’ preferences and tastes. The atrium can be adapted through landscaping to accentuate a style of décor, highlighting regional or period influences. This flexibility of design is consistent with Eichler’s vision of a home with multifunctional spaces, and is one reason why his homes continue to be highly desirable.