In 1933, the nation’s actual property professionals eagerly anticipated their annual conference in Chicago.
After a number of sedate, unadventurous conferences targeted on surviving the Melancholy financial system, the 1933 assembly promised to be particular: The Century of Progress Worldwide Exhibition, higher referred to as the Chicago World’s Honest, occurred to be happening on the identical time. “Come to the REALTORS®’ greatest conference,” learn promotional materials mailed to every member. “Come to the World’s Honest!”
A day was put aside within the conference schedule to permit attendees to discover the truthful. Of specific curiosity to the conference attendees was the truthful’s House and Industrial Arts part, which featured 11 mannequin homes showcasing the most recent constructing strategies and applied sciences. “Full-size homes, utterly completed and outfitted, have been erected within the Housing Division on the World’s Honest,” declared one other promotional mailing. “REALTORS® can be fascinated about learning these reveals as a result of they current the latest architectural traits and present many new supplies, processes, and innovations.”
Earlier this 12 months, the Elmhurst Artwork Museum in Elmhurst, Unwell., supplied an opportunity to revisit one of many 11 homes featured on the 1933 World’s Honest, the groundbreaking Home of Tomorrow. “Homes of Tomorrow: Photo voltaic Houses from Keck to At the moment” informed the story of how the Home of Tomorrow’s use of passive photo voltaic power and different revolutionary options launched the exponential curiosity in sustainable energy-efficient houses that we’re experiencing immediately.
The Home of Tomorrow was designed by Chicago architect George Fred Keck, a up to date of Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson. His twelve-sided home was simply probably the most experimental of the Century of Progress houses and is acknowledged as being the primary glass home inbuilt america, previous these designed by Johnson and van der Rohe by greater than 15 years.
Irvin Blietz, a REALTOR® from Chicago and one of many organizers of the House and Industrial Arts exhibit on the World’s Honest, gave a full description of the home in his presentation throughout the 1933 REALTORS® Conference:
“The Home of Tomorrow is hanging in design. It has a metal body with a spherical metal tower as its middle structural assist. All of the utilities of the home are carried on this spherical tower. The principle staircase of the home winds round this tower. The home is fully enclosed in plate glass. Venetian blinds with a coating of aluminum are used for a twin goal – first, so that folks in glass homes can take a shower, and second, as a deflector of warmth and chilly. It has been found that aluminum, due to its deflecting energy, is a splendid insulator. Aluminum foil no thicker than paper is used as an insulator between the roof and the coiling. Wooden floors are in place however are usually not nailed to the subfloor—as an alternative, they’re held in place by a grooved and locking system. […] The architect claims the homes we’ll stay in tomorrow must have hangars and planes, so this home has a hangar and airplane. Air-con is a part of this home.”
Along with its credentials as the primary glass home and the primary to make use of passive photo voltaic power, the Elmhurst Artwork Museum exhibit listed a number of different design improvements and options that made their debut within the Home of Tomorrow. They embrace:
- An open floorplan
- An electrical storage door opener (an invention that wouldn’t change into broadly accessible till after World Conflict II)
- The primary Normal Electrical dishwasher and a brand new “iceless” fridge
- An “electrical eye” that projected photos from the house’s exterior onto a display inside (a precursor to immediately’s good doorbells)
- The primary home use of movement sensors to robotically open and shut the kitchen door
The Home of Tomorrow, as Blietz defined in his presentation, was meant to be a laboratory of kinds, constructed to point out truthful guests a uniquely totally different form of residence with facilities that they could encounter someday sooner or later. Different houses within the exhibit have been extra sensible and less expensive, highlighting new applied sciences that might probably revolutionize homebuilding straight away. Metal-frame development strategies and manufactured stone exteriors caught the eye of the actual property professionals, together with the most recent kitchen design traits that they may move alongside to their purchasers again residence.
After seeing how individuals interacted with and reacted to the Home of Tomorrow, George Keck and his brother William continued to develop the concepts that went into its visionary design, in line with the Elmhurst Artwork Museum exhibition. Quite than specializing in all-glass constructions as a design ingredient like different architects, the Keck brothers expanded on the engineering potential of glass, pioneering methods that may higher permit for passive photo voltaic warmth to maintain a construction heat or cool it as situations required. They went on to design and construct tons of of homes all through the Midwest, together with a sequence of prefabricated photo voltaic houses, that are nonetheless a lot desired by patrons for his or her massive window partitions and energy-saving options.
After the World’s Honest closed in 1934, the Home of Tomorrow was bought to a personal proprietor and relocated to land that’s now a part of the Indiana Dunes Nationwide Park. It’s presently owned by the Nationwide Park Service and is awaiting a restoration plan.