“Eichlers,” as they are referred to in California, are midcentury modern tract homes developed by developer Joseph Eichler between 1950 and 1974. Midcentury developer Joseph Eichler built around 11,000 houses in California.
Eichler's homes made heavy use of contemporary design ideas, including Scandinavian design furniture, slab foundations, glass walls, exposed post-and-beam construction, open floorplans, low-sloping A-Framed or flat roofs, concrete slab floors, sliding doors, a second bathroom and entry atriums and radiant heating. They are oriented toward the backyard with the living area opening to the backyard through large glass windows.
Born in New York to Austrian Jewish parents, Eichler studied business at New York University and started working on Wall Street. He worked in the wholesale food industry before building prefabricated houses. He first worked with Robert Anshen, a young architect who had studied at the University of Pennsylvania, and later also with Claude Oakland and Quincy Jones, a professor of architecture at the University of Southern California.
In 1961, Eichler Homes went public. His projects 'The Summit' and 'Geneva Towers' in Visitacion Valley suffered heavy cost overruns. In 1966, Eichler sold a controlling interest in the company. Joe Eichler continued to build until his death in 1974.
Steve Jobs credited his living in an Eichler Home as a child as the inspiration for his own aesthetic sense. However, Jobs' childhood home was not built by Eichler, although it looked similar.