Advertisement
Entertainment & Arts

Eames House, L.A. landmark of Midcentury design, closes in the Getty fire evacuation

The iconic home finished in 1949 by Charles and Ray Eames is under evacuation from the Getty fire.
The iconic home finished in 1949 by Charles and Ray Eames is under evacuation from the Getty fire.
(Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)

The Eames House, one of Los Angeles’ greatest landmarks of Midcentury Modern architecture — closed Monday as part of the evacuation zone of the fast-spreading Getty fire.

The Eames Foundation said all tour appointments for the day have been canceled because of the fire, which broke out near the Getty Center and the 405 Freeway around 1:30 a.m.

The husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames completed the historic home, also known as Case House Study No. 8, in 1949. It was designated a national historic landmark in 2006 and is the subject of a Getty Conservation Institute project. The Eameses used off-the-shelf components to create a thoroughly singular design on 1.4 wooded acres in Pacific Palisades. In a 2008 Times ranking of Southern California’s landmark houses, architectural experts placed the Eames House at No. 4, behind only Rudolph Schindler’s Kings Road House in West Hollywood, Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House in Palm Springs and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House in Los Feliz. In 2011, the contents of the Eames House living room were carefully logged, packed up and installed in a recreation of the Eames living room at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

What the LACMA exhibition couldn’t replicate was the idyllic grove of eucalyptus trees that shaded a meadow in front of the Eames House. It’s this same stand of eucalyptus — full of oil and notorious for being combustible — that has made wildfire mitigation a larger concern.

Advertisement

The Getty fire poses a threat not just with flames but also with smoke, which can damage artworks. But the museum says its paintings are protected.

When a small fire broke out in L.A.'s Pacific Palisades neighborhood this month, Eames Foundation Director Lucia Atwood told The Times that fire risk mitigation is a top priority. The nonprofit is seeking donors to accelerate the installation of a water cistern, she said.

“Fire always presents a concern, even when it appears to be distant,” Atwood wrote in an email. “Here in Los Angeles, we have all seen how quickly a fire can spread, especially in windy conditions, but even when it is calm. And with all the growth from last year’s rains, there is a lot of tinder available.”

She added that the foundation is honing its landscape-management plan to address expectations that fire risk will only get worse in the years to come.

Advertisement

“Last year, we closed for a few days due to the November 2018 Woolsey Fire in order to ensure visitor safety as well as to assist in reducing road traffic for first responders,” she wrote. “This week, we were prepared to do the same.”


Newsletter
Get our daily Entertainment newsletter
Advertisement