Thinking differently: Apples + Eichlers

UPDATE 2.15.12 - after a 4 month investigation interviewing experts and cross-referencing data, the Eichler Network concluded that the Montain View home referred to in the Isaacson biography was NOT an Eichler home. Jobs' home was a Mackay Home -- likely designed by architects Anshen + Allen (who also designed homes for Joseph Eichler). There was indeed an Eichler neighborhood near Jobs' Mackay home, but three blocks away. Kudos to the Eichler Network for clearing this up!

Original post below:

It appears both Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had strong connections with Eichler homes. The biography, Steve Jobs, written about the Apple co-founder by Walter Isaacson, was released yesterday. It was sad news, as most of you know, when Jobs passed away earlier this month. According to the newly released biography, Jobs lived in an Eichler home.

Per an article from NTDV (special thanks to the folks at the Mid-Century Modern Fresno Facebook page for pointing out this article): "After Steve Jobs anointed Walter Isaacson as his authorized biographer in 2009, he took Mr. Isaacson to see the Mountain View, Calif., house in which he had lived as a boy. He pointed out its 'clean design' and 'awesome little features.' He praised the developer, Joseph Eichler, who built more than 11,000 homes in California subdivisions, for making an affordable product on a mass-market scale." Per Cult of Mac: "Jobs has cited him as a direct inspiration. In fact, he described the clean elegance of those homes as the 'first vision for Apple.'” See Architizer's post for more on this.

I would also like to mention that Apple's other co-founder and inventor, Steve Wozniak (aka Woz), lived in an Eichler Home. For 14 years, Woz lived on Edmonton Avenue in the Fairorchard Eichler subdivision of Sunnyvale. In the Winter 2001 edition of the Eichler Network newsletter (now known as CA Modern), Marty Arbunich interviewed Woz.

According to Arbunich's article, Woz moved into his Eichler home in 1958, after his father got a job with Lockheed. Per Woz, "It was my favorite home ever... my feelings of a perfect home will always rest with that particular home." It was the home in which Woz built his first computer and built a house-to-house intercom with his neighborhood buddies.

Woz further elaborated on his growing up in an Eichler home in his biography iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It
(co-written by Gina Smith): "When I think of that street, looking back, I think it was the most beautiful place you could imagine growing up.... Edmonton Avenue was actually a small Eichler subdivision -- Eichler homes of that period were kind of famous for being architecturally interesting homes in middle price ranges. They stand out as special homes to this day."

It's an interesting coincidence that both Apple co-founders admired Eichler homes. I'm not suggesting causality; you can draw your own conclusions. At any rate, here's to thinking differently!


Jon Rosen said...

I don't think it is causality. Its more testimony to the fact that Sunnyvale was the home to many people who worked in the early high tech and aerospace industries and that is where a large concentration of Eichler homes were built. That two kids who grew up in the same area both lived in Eichler homes is a high probability, so the fact that two specific ones of those went on to become famous probably has very little to do with the kinds of houses they lived in.

Gretchen said...

Agreed Jon - certainly the probability of having lived in an Eichler Home is greater for those who lived and worked in those industries.