The Kwikset House

DATE - 1951

In 1951, the Kwikset Lock Company of Anaheim, California, commissioned the Eames Office to design a low-cost, prefabricated house. Charles and Ray planned its construction with off-the-shelf parts and hardware, allowing Kwikset to manufacture the house in high volumes as a “kit home.”

Additional Information

This mass-produced quality stemmed from the Case Study Program’s idea of normalizing industrial, post-war materials and processes in residential building. The hope was to allow post-war families and individuals to live in a “modern” way for an affordable price tag with a reduction in materials and time spent building.

The Eameses proposed a one-story modular house with a curved plywood roof and exposed beams. The interior had an open plan with a large living room that opened out onto a garden.

The Eames Office constructed a one-inch to-scale model of the house, furnished, of course, with miniature Eames furniture. Although Charles and Ray’s plan met the company’s conditions, a life-sized prototype was never built. As soon as the Eames Office was ready to begin manufacturing, the Kwikset Company changed hands and subsequently went bankrupt.

A few years later, Charles and Ray designed the De Pree House in the same spirit of economic construction as the project for Kwikset.

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