Lisa Schrenk Presents Paper on MCM Model Houses
SoA Associate Professor Lisa Schrenk presented the paper Homes of Today and Tomorrow: The Mid-Century Modern Model Houses of Chicago's 1933-34 Century of Progress International Exposition at the recent Southeast Society of Architectural Historians annual meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The paper explores the wide range of designs and underlying agendas of the full-scale model homes that were built at the Chicago world’s fair in the context of the exposition’s forward-looking theme and concurrent trends in modern residential architecture. The model dwellings, including the House of Tomorrow, the Masonite House, as well as others, such as the Rostone, Good Housekeeping Stran-Steel, and Frigidaire Air-Conditioned homes, clearly illustrated the potential dramatic impact a science-driven consumer culture could have on domestic environments by featuring mass-produced building materials, novel methods of construction, passive-solar designs, progressive concepts for the organization of interior spaces, modern furnishings, and laborsaving devices. Several of these homes, including the House of Tomorrow, still exist today as part of the National Park Service’s Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park in Beverly Shores, Indiana, where the houses were relocated after the close of the exposition.