It will take the work and creativity of many individuals to conserve the Eames House for the next 250 years. We are thankful for the dedication of a wide range of individuals that made Phase 1 of the 250 Year Project a success, and in fact, enabled us to exceed our expectations.
“At one point, the words were actually stated: ‘Restore the House like a piece of art.’ Was it the architects? The Getty? No matter, clearly these are the right partners.”
– Lucia Dewey Atwood, Director, 250 Year Project
There are many who provided advice, guidance, scientific knowledge, foresight, risk analysis, and financial help, but there are a few in particular that must be thanked here.
Sponsors of Phase One of the 250 Year Project
Thank you to our Founding Sponsors: Vitra, Herman Miller and the Eames Office, who, in understanding the importance of this preservation planning and work, generously contributed funds toward this project, above and beyond their on-going deep support and encouragement for the operations.
Thank you to the Dunard Fund, the Ludwick Foundation and Neboweb, who generous contributions supported the work on the new floor, spine wall, roof, and many steel repairs and the window/door conservation.
Thank you to the Eames Family for continuing to honor and to share the Eameses’ legacy. From the earliest days, even before the House was finished, through the end of Ray’s life in 1988, the Eameses shared their home with visitors. So it felt right to the family to continue this tradition of sharing the site.
Charles and Ray believed deeply in the value of direct experience, and the ability of people to internalize knowledge. Our Founder Lucia Eames wanted to give that direct experience to others. Since gifting the Eames House to the Foundation, the family has continued to focus on its longterm conservation and on raising awareness and funds to cover the many costs, whether engineering and architectural or archiving, photo research, and oral histories.
Phase 1 Team under the 250 Year Project
Thank you to the members of our 250 Year Project Phase One Team for, at all times, determinedly identifying the pure need, and then pursuing the best solution.
In 2010, we spoke with a number of amazing architects and selected Escher GuneWardena Architecture as investigation/project managers for Phase One of our 250 Year Project. Having already worked on the conservation of John Lautner’s Chemosphere, they understood the importance of preserving the Eameses’ approaches to living in their home and offered an artist’s eye for a property filled with color and finishes. They identified potential team members, which ultimately brought us our amazing general contractor, Tom Montgomery of Montgomery Construction Inc., and other teams, with special thanks to Chris Rackard and Rick Cortez from RAC Design Build, and painter Brian Miller of Brian Miller Fine Stains and Finishes. Deeply committed to the project, they tirelessly developed connections and even interested a major donor in helping to fund a key project. We were lucky to have Veronica Martin, Principal of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., join the team as a specialist consultant to design/engineer our new roof (in order to stop damage to the structure resulting from water cascading down the facades), her final project before retiring.
And thank you to the Los Angeles Museum of Art for providing the opportunity to undertake this work. For several years we had been pursuing different plans for clearing the room in order to replace the flooring. But none provided a level of care–from moving to storing–with which we could feel comfortable. Being able to loan the delicate objects of the living room and alcove to the museum for its blockbuster show: California Design: 1930 – 1965: “Living in a Modern Way” meant that we had an opportunity to undertake investigations and work… while not endangering the contents. During the exhibition, we were able to perform many tests, replace the deteriorated floor, and conserve the steel frame and tallowwood spine wall. This was a visionary exhibition with an on-going, direct impact.
Despite the exacting work, under the pressure of a tight timeframe, this group (to paraphrase Charles) never “let the blood show”. Thank you all.
Getty Conservation Institute and Getty Foundation
The Getty’s contributions to our 250 Year Project have been especially far-reaching. The Getty’s advice, experts, introductions, and investigations have raised the caliber of the work undertaken at the Eames House to the highest standard.
We are very grateful to be the first field project in the Getty Conservation Institute’s innovative Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative as well as to have received a Getty Foundation Keeping It Modern grant in order to undertake an exacting study of the color and finishes on the Eames House. Thank you in particular to Susan Macdonald, Chandler McCoy, Gail Ostergren, Sara Galerne, Laura Matarese, Shin Maekawa and Kyle Normandine, for their unflagging commitment to quality thinking and results. As Charles said, “The details are not the details; they make the product.”
From the beginning of this project, the process of working on the Conservation Management Plan has been immensely helpful. Many thanks to the Getty Conservation Institute, which has led this project and brought in consultants Sheridan Burke and Jyoti Somerville of GML Heritage Consultants.
With the help of many teams at the Getty, we are growing a much deeper understanding of what it will take to truly accomplish our 250 Year Project: the conservation of the Eames House so that future visitors may have the same authentic experience as visitors may have today. This deep understanding, and its sharing with the community of today and tomorrow, is the only way our project, as well as others, can succeed. Thank you.
We would like to thank the many individuals of the following departments as well as those working on specific projects, for the rigor of their investigations as well as their insight on understanding and meeting the need. It is an inspiring group, one that believes deeply in the value of deep-thinking. Charles said:
“Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.”
- Getty Conservation Institute: Building and Sites Department (“B&S”)
- Getty Conservation Institute: Science Department (“SD”)
- Getty Museum: Decorative Arts Conservation Department (“DA”)
Getty Conservation Institute, Buildings and Sites Department (B&S): Susan Macdonald, Head; Chandler McCoy, Senior Project Specialist; Kyle Normandin, former Senior Project Specialist; Gail Ostergren, Research Associate; Sara Galerne, Senior Project Coordinator; Laura Matarese, Associate Project Specialist/former Graduate Intern.
Environmental Investigation Report: Shin Maekawa, Senior Scientist (B&S).
Floor Investigations: David Carson, Laboratory Manager (SD); Beril Bicer-Simsir, Associate Scientist (SD).
Paint Analysis Investigation: Alan Phenix, Scientist (SD); Emily MacDonald-Korth, Project Specialist, former (B&S); Rachel Rivenc, Associate Scientist (SD).
Wood Panel Investigation: Tom Learner, Head (SD); Arlen Heginbotham, Conservator Getty Museum Decorative Arts Conservation Department; Herant Khanjian, Assistant Scientist (SD); Joy Mazurek, Assistant Scientist (SD).
Former Buildings & Sites Department Graduate Interns: Ana Paula Arato Goncalves, Mesut Dinler, Luise Rellensmann.
The Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI) is a comprehensive, long-term, and international program of the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). The goal of the CMAI is to advance the practice of conserving twentieth-century heritage, with a focus on modern architecture, through research and investigation, the development of practical conservation solutions, and the creation and distribution of information through training programs and publications.