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Edge of Tomorrow: The Unexpected Path of Five “Homes of the Future” from 1933-34

September 12, 2018

The summer issue of Preservation Magazine includes a story about the fate of five of the 11 “Homes of the Future” built as show houses for the Century of Progress International Exposition at the 1933–1934 Chicago World’s Fair. After the fair a developer from Indiana bought the houses and barged them across Lake Michigan. They now make up the Century of Progress Architectural District. Once in such bad shape they ended up on Indiana’s 10-Most Endangered list, the houses have been restored and maintained through an innovative partnership. Owned by National Park Service, they are leased by the nonprofit organization Indiana Landmarks, and then subleased –with protective covenants – to people who restore them.

The star of the five is the “House of Tomorrow” designed by George Frederick Keck (1895-1980). It’s a dodecagon (12-sided polygon) in plan with an exterior that is almost all of glass. It was designated a National Treasure site by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2016. The “House of Tomorrow,” is the only home that has not been restored. Due to its complicated nature, Indiana Landmarks will take on the project and has launched a $2 million restoration campaign.

Edge of Tomorrow: The Unexpected Path of Five ‘Homes of the Future’ from 1933-34,” Preservation Magazine, Summer 2018.

Top: House of Tomorrow, designed by George Frederick Keck for the 1933 World’s Fair, photo courtesy Hedrich Blessing/Chicago History Museum Bottom: Florida Tropical House, commissioned by the State of Florida and constructed by Diegaard & Preston for the 1933 World’s Fair. Photo by Cynthia Lynn.