The words “daring and creative” are rarely heard when decribing today’s housing developers. When confronted, it is not unusual to hear the almost automatic response, “I’m only building what the public wants”. But are they? This book tells the story of one post World WarII developer named Joseph Eichler who decided to build modern homes for the mass market only after initially confining himself to traditional home designs for his housing subdivisions. Reasons vary for how he came to the decison to build modern.
Ned Eichler, who would join his father’s business a few years later, recalled a conversation between Anshen and his father in which the architect criticized Joe’s developments. “How can you build this crap?” Ned recalled Anshen asking bluntly. When Anshen then proposed that Eichler hire him to design his next subdivision, Eichler at first dismissed the idea with a scowl, claiming Anshen lacked the discipline to design within his strict merchant building budgets. Eventually, it was agreed that Anshen would develop a prototypical design for 51 units in the second phase of Eichler’s Sunnyvale Manor subdivision. That group of homes sold out in only two weeks, and the national press soon hailed their success.
For a virtual tour of an Eichler home, circa 2008, Enter the World of Eichler Design