The Factory

In Sausalito, Brian and Edith continued to expand the business and increase production with the introduction of the jigger wheel and plaster casts and molds. Responding to increasing demand with additional staff, in ten years they outgrew the space in the Mason Building in downtown Sausalito and purchased land on Gate Five Road in Marinship, an industrial area north of Sausalito. There they designed the ideal factory space with architects Claude Stoller and Robert Marquis. The Heaths requested a building “ as practical and as aesthetically pleasing as a good coffee pot or dinner plate.”[1]

Edith had very specific ideas about the building program to insure it would be an efficient workspace. She wanted to “have as little wasted space between one activity and the next one and the next one. So [she] designed it as sort of a doughnut, with a hole in the middle.”[2] The central courtyard allowed for cross-ventilation, natural light, and acted as an outdoor break area for employees. All workstations had a window for natural light. The building also featured movable walls so that the building could evolve as the business continued to shift and grow.

The unique roof trusses spanned the interior spaces so there were no posts, allowing Edith flexibility in the design of the workflow. Heath Ceramics moved to the new building in 1959 and is still located at 400 Gate 5 Road.

[1] Ceramics Factory in California, Architectural Forum, August 1961

[2] Heath, Edith. (1995). Oral History interview with Edith Heath. Tableware and Tile for the World, Heath Ceramics, 1944-1994. Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.