Hale House
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Architect Craig Ellwood
Location Beverly Hills, California   map
Date 1949   timeline
Building Type house
 Construction System steel columns and wood beams
Climate mild desert, sloping site
Style Modern




Plan Drawing

Discussion Hale House Commentary

"In 1949, the Hale House in Beverly Hills, California, immediately showed Ellwood's approach to architecture. Slender 4-inch 'H' columns were rigidly connected to 4- by 10-inch wood beams (although a complete steel frame was considered, economy necessitated the partial use of wood). Non-structural, infilling panels of glass, and stud walls that stopped clear of the roof deck at the under side of ceiling beams, created a feeling of lightness and openness in a relatively small volume. The structure was exposed throughout the house, and like the entry-stair, was painted rust-primer red."

— from Paul Heyer. Architects on Architecture: New Directions in America. p148.

The Creator's Words

"Structure is the only clear principle. Form is valid only when it is shaped by structure and possibly characterized by function, region, culture and climate. Structure does not necessarily mean region, culture and climate. Structure does not necessarily mean the steel or concrete cage. The three basic elements of construction are solid bodies, slender members and stressed surfaces. The architect has a choice which can lead to vastly different forms, each with structural integrity and clarity....

"Discipline is the key word. There must be something beyond arbitrary decision, some underlying force that motivates the forms of architecture. The moment that form becomes arbitrary, novel or stylish, it becomes something other than true architecture. Form must express logic, meaning and rationality, yet it cannot exist by itself; structure through technology is the only means to valid form.... only through structure can we create new architecture....

"What do we seek? What are our goals? If we are truthful about it, self-aggrandizement is too often the prime aim, and unfortunately, a natural ambition. Creativity cannot evolve without ego, but also it cannot evolve without order. Order is basic, there can be no freedom without it. Whether we like it or not, in our economy this order is bound to the machine and governed by it. Mechanization is here and we have helped to promulgate it. The craftsman is disappearing and we have helped to stifle him. Our economy dictates that machine products and machine techniques be the essence of our buildings. We cannot retrogress to handicraft methods or to forms that repudiate, or are incompatible with, methods of machine building...."

— Craig Ellwood. from Paul Heyer. Architects on Architecture: New Directions in America. p150, 151-152.

Sources on Hale House

Paul Heyer. Architects on Architecture: New Directions in America. New York: Walker and Company, 1966. LC 66-22504. discussion p148, 150, 151-152.

Esther McCoy. Craig Ellwood, Architecture. Venice, Italy: Alfieri, 1968. exterior photo from below, p17 plate 5.

Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. New York: Facts on File, 1990. ISBN 0-8160-2438-3. NA680.S517. interior, exterior photos. — Available at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Hale House


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