This past July, staff from the GCI and GML Heritage, a consulting firm based in Sydney, Australia, undertook work on a conservation management plan (CMP) for the Eames House, an internationally recognized icon of modernist residential design. The house was constructed in 1949 by Charles and Ray Eames, noted American designers who occupied it for the remainder of their lives. The CMP represents the next phase in the Eames House Conservation Project—the GCI's ongoing partnership with the Eames Foundation to develop long-term conservation management and maintenance strategies for the site. The project is part of the GCI's Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative.
The Eames House Conservation Management Plan will combine historical documentation and oral evidence with a physical analysis of existing building fabric and site conditions, leading to an assessment of the heritage values of the place and the development of a series of conservation policy recommendations. An internationally recognized methodology, the CMP will provide the basis for creating a longterm conservation and maintenance framework for the house, its contents, and its setting. This will guide the Eames Foundation in its stewardship mission, ensuring the house's survival for future generations.
The GCI/GML team's meetings with Eames Foundation board members and extensive site visits were invaluable in developing a solid understanding of the house and its environs, knowledge that will inform the ongoing work. With the CMP, the GCI will demonstrate the applicability and utility of this tool to twentieth-century heritage places, providing a model for other buildings from the era and encouraging widespread adoption of this model. Publication is anticipated for 2015.
The GCI is also providing the Eames Foundation with technical expertise and scientific analysis on specific materials, such as paint colors and wood finishes used in the house. The GCI will also perform climate monitoring, which will improve understanding of the current environment in and around the house and its effect on the building fabric and the important interior collection. In addition to serving documentation purposes, the results of these investigations will be instrumental in the development of appropriate treatment and maintenance strategies for the site.