Joe Eichler is famed for his commitment to advanced and livable residential architecture. He is known as well for his commitment to providing housing for all, no matter race. But he’s less well known for another commitment – to the visual arts.
No, you won’t find a Joe and Lilliane Eichler Gallery at the de Young Museum. And Joe was not an important art collector.
Instead, Joe promoted art as an integral part of daily life, by emphasizing to the buyers and the sellers of his homes, and to the world at large, that the homes could serve as vessels for art, as living and working spaces for artists both professional and amateur, and as art objects in themselves.
Developer Joe Eichler and his Eichler Homes, Inc. built nearly 11,000 single-family homes in California, beginning in the late 1940s. In Northern California, they can be found in areas in and around Marin county, the East Bay, San Mateo county, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento. Three small communities of Eichlers in Southern California stand in Orange, Thousand Oaks, and Granada Hills. In addition, there are three Eichler-built residences in New York state. Together these thousands of ‘Eichlers’ reflect the beauty and uniqueness of the Eichler design and the integrity and daring of the builder behind it. Fifty years later, the house that Joe built endures as a marvelous legacy.