The Case Study House 9 by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen

The Case Study House #9, was part of John Entenza’s Case Study House Program launched through his magazine Arts and Architecture in 1945.

This house was designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen for Entenza himself and is considered the twin of the Charles Eames Case Study House 8, even if they fulfill totally different needs. They have similar structures and used the same materials and building techniques but they are conceptually different: Entenza’s is vertical while the Eames house is horizontal. A contemporary magazine defined them as “technological twins but architectural opposites”.

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During the four years after its publication in 1945 and before its completion, the design of the Case Study House 9 changed very little. When finally ready in 1949, it became the first house of the program to have a steel and glass structure with concealed-within plaster and wood-paneled surfaces interiors.

Eames and Saarinen’s Case Study House #9

The Case Study House. 9 is built on over an acre of meadow that overlooks the Pacific sea. Eames and Saarinen wanted to interrelate the house with its environment and so they designed it to make the landscape as an extension of the inner space.

The goal was to achieve a spacious inside within a fairly minimal structure. To do so, they placed four steel columns at the center allowing cross bracing and continuity. Also, a floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass door connects the interiors with the surrounding meadow and the ocean beyond.

Eames and Saarinen’s Case Study House #9

Eames and Saarinen’s Case Study House #9

Even though the building phase suffered of several problems and delays, the result was coherent to its original idea of creating a beautiful living environment. The result was a house with a living room featuring a built-in seating and conversational area to entertain friends and organising dinners: the main Entenza request.


case study house book cover

The interior open-plan layout features a 36-foot-long living room with a decoratively painted freestanding fireplace, a dining room, two bedrooms, two baths and the kitchen. The office is probably the only really private space of the house with no windows to avoid distractions from the outside.

Eames and Saarinen’s Case Study House #9

Even though the design process was coherent and clear, always following a clear purpose, Entenza was not stunningly surprised by the result as it sometimes happens when someone has too high expectations.

Entenza lived and worked in the Case Study House #9 for five years before selling it. Since then, it has gone through many changes to its original interior design to please the several owners. Do you live in a mid-century or modernist-inspired contemporary house and want to be featured on MidCenturyHome? Contact us: [email protected]

Eames and Saarinen’s Case Study House #9

Eames and Saarinen’s Case Study House #9

Photos via Dailyicon