Eileen Gray Essay, Research Paper
When one talks or thinks of architecture, or the architects, there is a great gender gap, and due to these gaps, some women do not acquire the acknowledgement that is rightfully theirs. As one of the finest architects, designers, and artist of the 20th century, Eileen Gray was and still has not been given any attention as a serious designer/architect, unlike her counter parts, Le Corbusier, De Stijl, Mies van der Rohe, or Frank Lloyd Wright.
Eileen Gray spent most of her designing life in France and was influenced greatly by a veriety of designers and architects. She found her self indulged in the art of Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gaughin, Seurat, and Bonnaard. Eileen Gray admired Le Corbusier?s Five Points of Architecture, and found it to be a stating point in her designing of buildings. It could be seen in her E-1207 house, Tempe A Pailla, and her Lou Perou house built near St. Tropez.
Eileen Grays? most significant piece of work is the E-1027 house built on the shores of Menton (1926-29). Eileen responds to each of Le Corbusiers? points at E.1027. The roof garden is transformed into an accessible roof terrace without plantings. Pilotis support portions of the volume of the house. The windows of the house open with a completely different system than the one Le Corbusier proposed. Some of E.1027’s windows are vertical rather than horizontal bands, but still they are continuous and add flow to the interior rooms. The interior stairways are free, and there is storage places concealed in the walls of the stairs to add storage place. The façade of the house is free and white, while the plan of the house is open.
E-1027 at Menton (1926-29)
Further more, Eileen Gray proposed four problems that the great architects of the time, like Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies van der Rohe all thought about, but did not incorporate them into there work. Eileen proposed the problem of the windows. There were three types that the three had come up with, but all of them were similar, unlike hers. The problem of shutters, they never used any. The problem of independence and privacy. They all believed in free flowing open spaces, but Eileen incorporated room, that were private and independent, and gave the plan a free open space. The final problem that came into play was the idea of an open access kitchen, but with out the odour spreading into the house. All these problems were looked at closely when Eileen Gray built the E-1027 house. The problems also made the other architects to think and plan their buildings and incorporate these ideas.
As well, Eileen Gary, through out her education, was the experimenting type, trying and investigating surfaces and materials. She worked with lacquer, rugs and designed furniture using materials that would normally be used for construction. She investigated the limits of the vertical, two dimensional, surfaces using lacquer. In her work she folded both representational and abstract geometrical patterns into the surface and frequently juxtaposing them on opposite sides of the same screen. Her ideas were really influenced by the Art Nouveau movement. She also designed and created rugs, and traveled to Morocco to learn how to weave them. Her rugs consisted of rich colours and geometrical shapes. Once again she investigated with the layering of shapes, this time on the horizontal plan. She designed the rugs for her E-1027 and Rue De Lota houses.
"Centimeter" Rug designed for E-1027 Rug Design, circa 1925
Eileen Gray was also a furniture designer and furnished her houses with unique pieces. Eileen Gray was about designing pieces of furniture that would be used for a period of long time, regardless who used the house after her. She was concerned with the furniture?s practicality, and usability. She created coffee tables that adjusted to human jesture. She used a lot of shiny metals, such as chrome and silver, to trim chairs, tables, wardrobes, and beds. She used materials such as metal, leather, woods and cloth to decorate her designs. She used Mies van der Rohe?s idea of how to separate her rooms, and used materials such as corrugated metal, and fabricated metal nets to add a distinct look. A great example of this is the Rue Chateaubriand house. She used metal sheets with punched holes in them as walls that separated the interior of the washroom.
Bed Side Table (1926-29) E-1027 Interior
Her contribution to architecture and design of the twentieth century though small is significant. Present day commentators regard her as a critical observer of the Modern Movement, who pursued an independent creative journey towards the expression of architecture as “the shell of man, his extension, his release, his spiritual emanation,”.