Designed by architect Craig Ellwood, Case Study House #18(2) is his third contribution to the Arts and Architecture Magazine experiment in residential architecture. Built at 1129 Miradero Rd in Beverly Hills, CA, he created the entire structure with factorybuilt components allowing Ellwood to show how good design could be applied to prefabrication. Ellwood was already a strong proponent of prefab buildings, believing that increasing labor costs and declining craftsmanship would soon force a complete mechanization of residential construction. The exception being those houses with very high budgets.
Much like today, the typical prefab home is based on a copy of an existing style made to appear job-built, but Ellwood chose not to disguise the fact that this home was built in a factory. The steel frame was visible in blue and the wall and ceiling panels off-white. Room partitions appear as modules keeping with the theme and although the panels are thin, they are very heavy and the house was built to withstand earthquakes with steel pilings driven up to 54’ into the ground.
Translucent glass was utilized to allow light in while providing privacy where needed. Large glass panels and doors allow for spectacular hilltop views for the owner, Dr Irving Fields. The interior was designed with additional lighting allowing Dr Fields to properly display his art collection and far more electrical outlets were installed than were typical for the day, as well as additional TV outlets so that the TV could be moved or additional TV’s could be added. Proving once again that Ellwood was ahead of his time. It was also the second Case Study House to be outfitted with central vac.
Over the course of time, the house has been renovated repeatedly and unfortunately bears little resemblance of the home that at one time was ahead of its time. In June 2017 it was listed for sale at $9.5 million