Browse Exhibits (2 total)
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.
The development of Greenwood Common began in 1903 with the construction of a summerhouse by John Galen Howard for the prominent San Francisco attorney Warren Gregory and his wife Sadie. After World War II, the area became home to a growing number of professionals, particularly those associated with the University. Among these new residents were the architect William Wurster, newly appointed dean of the UC, Berkeley, School of Architecture, and his wife Catherine Bauer Wurster, city planner, educator, and author.
In 1951, Wurster began negotiations with Sadie Gregory for the purchase of her lot on Greenwood Terrace. His intent was to subdivide and develop this parcel of land and to design a house on one of the lots for his family. Wurster envisioned a development that would combine an idealistic sense of community with a modernist design aesthetic and an awareness of regional traditions. He wanted a property that could be subdivided and developed as a community that reflected his and Catherine’s philosophy of socially engaged architecture -- that “a community defined by a group of homes could influence the way their owners lived.”
Greenwood Common is a large open green space that borders on Greenwood Terrace and provides a glorious view of the bay and the golden gate in the distance. Initially the shared space was to be only the biomorphic oval on the west end between numbers 10 and 7, but the center lot that was expected to have two homes was never developed. Given the slop of the site, the houses on the north side are two stories, and those on the south are single stories.