Eichler-inspired Glass House

Artist Mildred Howard’s ‘Clear Story’ is a light-filled delight made of bottles
Mildred Howard

Mildred Howard understands the importance of history. So when she was creating a public artwork for Palo Alto, what came to mind were that city’s iconic Eichler homes.

Her ‘Clear Story,’ a ten-foot-tall wood-frame and glass house inspired by the Eichlers, stands on display at Kings Plaza, near Palo Alto City Hall.

The piece, sponsored by the Palo Alto Art Center, might suggest an Eichler house but doesn’t quite look like one. For one thing, its transparent glass comes in the form of bottles, thousands of them.

Over the years, this Berkeley artist has created vibrant, often large-scale installations that have dealt with slavery, African-American soldiers in World War I, and the passage of time.

Besides suggesting Eichler homes, ‘Clear Story’ also recalls West African and American Southern bottle houses, which fended off bad spirits while protecting the good.

Howard loves Eichler’s homes because of their look and materials—the glass, and concrete floors—and, she says, because Eichler “built houses for everyone. He established this non-discrimination policy so anyone of any race could move in.”

The ‘Clear Story’ installation can be viewed through August adjacent to 250 Hamilton Avenue (City Hall), Palo Alto.