The House of Tomorrow
by Leah Konicki
Looking at the Future Through Glass
The House of Tomorrow, a three-story twelve-sided house with walls made of glass, is perhaps the most innovative house of the Century of Progress houses. Known also as the Glass House, it was designed by George Fred Keck, a Chicago architect. The twelve-sided – or dodecagon – house is an example of what was called at the time “European Modernist” architecture. Keck was reportedly inspired by a mid-nineteenth century octagon house in his hometown. Like those houses, the central core of the House of Tomorrow provided structural stability and was the location of the house’s circulation system. Innovations in the house at the Fair included the first ever dishwasher by General Electric, central air conditioning, and a garage door that opened with a touch of a button. Interior finishes included black and gray Carrara plate glass and black walnut flooring. Rooms were furnished with pieces designed specifically for the house. At the original exhibit, a Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow, one of just five ever built, could be seen in the garage, while a built-in hangar – the architect apparently envisioned that we would all have our own planes by now – featured a replica of a Charles Lindbergh plane.
Today, the house has yet to find a lessee who is willing to rehabilitate the house, despite the offer of 50-year lease with no monthly rental. After weather-proofing and stabilizing the house, Indiana Landmarks began looking for a committed occupant who is willing to live in and restore the property. The anticipated price tag of the house’s restoration is $2.5 million.
(Photos of the interior of the house during the exhibition are included in a February 2019 Daily Mail article.)
Read about the Wieboldt-Rostone House: A house not made of stone