Architects never stop thinking about the future. Each drawing, site visit, and client meeting represents a step toward the eventual goal of a completed building, and then it's on to the next project. Over the years, a number of visionary designers have pondered the future in a bigger-picture way, dreaming up houses for 10, 20, or 30 years down the line. These creations didn't necessarily match real-life developments in housing, but they stand as an often-entertaining, always-interesting testimony to their creators' intellect and imagination.
Here are some of residential architect's favorites:
house of the future, 1956
The groovy, plastic model home Alison and Peter Smithson designed for the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition in London contained built-in furniture, a self-cleaning bath, and remote-control lighting.
house of tomorrow, 1933
Chicago architect and engineer George Fred Keck designed this 12-sided house in Beverly Shores, Ind., for the 1933–1934 World's Fair. Crowd-pleasers included glass curtain walls, air conditioning, and a private airplane hangar.
monsanto house of the future, 1957
Designed by a team of MIT architects and engineers, this four-winged white plastic structure stood in Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., for a decade. Some of its innovations, including microwave ovens and hidden entertainment systems, became mainstream success stories, while others have yet to materialize.
dymaxion house, 1927
R. Buckminster Fuller's ambitious attempt at prefab housing contained revolving closets, “O-Volving” shelves that rotated behind a wall at the push of a button, and a premade, plug-in bathroom unit. Even the aluminum home's name—a blend of the words “dynamic,” “maximum,” and “tension”—sounded decidedly futuristic.
endless house, 1947–1961
This unbuilt collection of biomorphic concrete bubbles represented Austrian-born architect Frederick Kiesler's radical thinking about the nature of spatial dynamics.