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Restoring Keck’s House of Tomorrow – America’s First Glass House
February 25, 2017 | 11:30 am - 12:30 pm |
Widely regarded as one of the most innovative and influential houses in modern architectural design, the House of Tomorrow, recently declared a National Treasure, is set for restoration through a partnership of Indiana Landmarks, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service.
Todd Zeiger, director of Indiana Landmarks’ northern regional office, explores the history of the house, beginning with its construction for the 1933-34 Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago, the futuristic attributes of George Fred Keck’s design, how it came to reside in Indiana and the recently launched restoration project.
Keck’s House of Tomorrow was among the first residential buildings to employ a glass curtain-wall, predating both Mies van der Rohe’s 1945-51 Farnsworth House and Philip Johnson’s 1949 Glass House. It signaled a change in residential architecture that reflected the influence of industrial design, including an attached automobile garage and airplane hangar with push button doors, central heating and air conditioning, an “iceless” refrigerator and first-ever General Electric dishwasher.
Keck’s innovations promised an easier life for people grappling with the Great Depression. Wildly popular, the house drew over 1.2 million people who paid an extra 10 cents to tour the house. After the Fair, the House of Tomorrow, along with four other Century of Progress homes, were purchased by developer Roger Bartlett and barged across Lake Michigan to their current location in Beverly Shores, Indiana, a town he attempted to develop as a vacation destination for Chicagoans.
Indiana Landmarks is raising $2 million to fully restore the House of Tomorrow, which it is leasing from the National Park Service. For more information, please visit