Claude Oakland joined the architectural office of Anshen & Allen in San Francisco in 1950. That year Joseph L. Eichler, the first major builder to engage the services of independent architectural firms, came to Anshen & Allen as a client. Soon thereafter, Oakland began serving as the principal designer for Eichler Homes, Inc. Oakland remained principal designer of subdivisions and subdivision houses at Anshen & Allen until 1960 when he left to start his own firm, Claude Oakland & Associates, and took over the Anshen & Allen Eichler account.
Oakland ended up devoting most of his career to Eichler and his various companies, developing along the way a unique kind of tract house that encouraged an informal life style and took advantage of California’s mild climate by permitting freer access to the outdoors. Structural elements such as exposed wood posts, beam framing with tongue and groove decking, and radiant heated slab-on-grade floors became instantly recognizable and integral design elements of the Eichler house. Oakland’s contributions to the development and refinement of these systems were a part of a larger regional design movement, but they are notable for having been developed in the field of mass-produced housing. The association between Oakland and Eichler continued until Eichler’s death in 1974.
The Oakland & Imada Virtual Collection contains images of all the site plans with house model numbers from the Oakland & Image Collection. For Eichler home owners wishing to find materials for their house, they can find their lot on the site plan to determine their house model number and then contact the Archives to see if/what other materials exist.