Why is it called The Gamble House? Well, it was owned by the Gambles, of the Proctor and Gamble, a huge corporation specializing in pharmaceuticals, cleaning supplies, personal care, and pet supplies among others.
For those of you that are in the know, this is also the house in which the character, Doctor Emmett Brown, from the "Back to The Future" movies lived.
After visiting the Gamble House in Pasadena California, one's first impression might be to think the house strangely out of place. This idea can especially be heightened by the way we know houses in Southern California today. However, upon further inspection, one can see that Charles and Henry Greene, the architects of the house, knew not only how to design for the area, but how to do it very well and in an aesthetically pleasing manner that incorporates many design elements ranging from the modern to the Asian.
Starting from the bottom up, we find that the foundation of the house alone is remarkable for its conception in 1908. The house is actually bolted to a solid foundation which helps the house considerably during an earthquake and is a feature that is now mandatory in today's house architecture in Southern California.
Furthermore, the house is set up with windows and doors conveniently placed opposite one another to create a natural cross draft that allows the house to cool itself in the hot Californian summers. When reaching the roof, one finds the inclusion of a gutter system lining the roof that captures and moves water around and funnels it to a desired location while keeping a heavy Asian influence to the roofs appearance.
All of these pieces of the beautifully designed puzzle that is the Gamble House might seem to be simply brilliant innovation that might be found anywhere. One will be hard pressed however to find such an excellent unity between form and function that is obvious in the design and implementation of the Gamble House. All of this was done in 1908 before the current standards and knowledge of Southern California.
The house was truly a testament to the outlook of Southern California. It embodies fresh ideas with its inclusion of Asian influence that was so popular at the time, new invention in its foundation, and a simple and elegant glamour all rolled into one very livable package. I encourage you to visit if you are in the area!