Joseph Eichler (1900-1974), was an American real estate developer well known for his suburban developments in what has come to be known as the California Modern, or mid-century modern style. His most extensive development was in the San Mateo Highlands. It was built over an 11-year period from 1955 to 1965. To promote this new development, Eichler built the X-100. It was a research house designed in 1955 by architects A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons and opened in October 1956.
It was recently restored to both preserve and enhance the integrity of the original design. Work was being complete right up to the 2017 Eichler Home tour we attended this past May (the first time the house was open to the public since 2009.)
The plan is roughly a square that has been split and slid along the north-south axis. Sliding the plan created the openings for the entries, and—in conjunction with all the glass—dissolves the distinction between interior and exterior space. The materials are steel (structural and decking), and concrete (block and slab). The interior is finished in panelling, laminate and ceramic and vinyl tile. Lighting is provided principally with skylights, which are spotlit from above so they can be a source of light both night and day. This is supplemented with wall and ceiling mounted spot lights, and the occasional pendant or ceiling fixture. The central bathrooms are tiled on the floors, walls, and counters, and feature a shared sunken shower. The kitchen is open and modern, with the only nod to tradition being the oven cabinet that separates the kitchen from the living room.
For the curious, below is a Universal International newsreel from October 24, 1956 that introduced the house. The announcer points out that "it's not for sale, if you could afford it. It's a research house testing a whole new design concept." He goes on to mention the indoor and outdoor gardens, the skylights, the steel columns and roof beams, and the sliding table with a built in cooktop.
This Eichler was built in 1956, has three bedrooms, two baths, and is 1044 square feet.
The X-100 is one of twelve homes that Inertia was able to visit in May on the Eichler Home Tour 2017. Earlier, we wrote about other houses on the tour, as well as posted a gallery of Eichlers that weren't included in the tour.