Most the materials were prefabricated and shipped to the site where a construction crew of eight men assembled the 11 tons of factory steel and glass in just over a day-and-a-half. The overall cost was approximately $1 per square foot (or about $10 per square foot today – $1.50 less than the average home price in 1949!). They accomplished this remarkably low cost by using relatively inexpensive, prefabricated materials, and compartmentalizing the design in order to simplify construction. Ray explained in Eames Demetrios’ book An Eames Primer, “It was the idea of using materials in a different way, materials that could be bought from a catalog. So that there was a continuation of the idea of mass production, so that people would not have to build stick by stick, but with material that comes ready-made-off-the-shelf in that sense.”
When I toured the property earlier this year, I was taken aback by how simple the design is and how unobtrusive and beautiful the buildings are on the site. This was a place where imagination and ingenuity came together to create a new design philosophy. The idea of prefabricated, mass-produced materials may not have been a new one, but Case Study House # 8 certainly began a new way of thinking resourcefully, and continues to be a source of inspiration for architects and builders today.