Monday, December 19, 2011

Shack of the Future

I have something new for you... and a repeat!

The new thing is this photo of the Monsanto Plastic Home of the Future, circa 1958. I wonder how well this design would scale up? Would it be structurally sound at twice the size? I love the design, even though it's a bit small. I'm also thinking that there doesn't appear to be much space for storage, unless they worked in some of those clever lockers in the floors and ceilings. Seriously, if I won the lottery (any day now!), I would want to build one of these just because.

And now for the rerun (newly scanned); this nice photo of Vesey Walker and the Disneyland Band gathered 'round the flagpole in Town Square to play a concert. It evokes all kinds of nostalgia. I'm guessing that Vesey was unable to stand for long (he had some health problems), which is why he is seated - and probably why the band is seated too.


TokyoMagic! said...

I would totally live in the House of the Future!

Chiana_Chat said...

Neat how they still worked in suggestions of a smokestack and slant roof from an old traditional house, as this angle shows.

What a line!

And on Main Street, lots of smart people using the sidewalks and gathered around to listen to the band. A bright lovely day for it, it was too. Thought it was a new pic! Your new scan looks great, Major :)

Major Pepperidge said...

Yes, TM!, especially when I look at my apartment; the HOF would be quite the upgrade.

Chiana, now I am wondering, did the plastic house have a real fireplace? Time for some research. Wouldn't the house melt?!? Meanwhile I have seen many slides that might bear rescanning, since I have learned a bit about how to make them look better over the years.

JG said...

Major, the house of the future had a steel frame, the plastic was just a skin, so the design could scale in size as you suggest, just need more and different steel.

Multi-story versions would be possible, I'm sure.

I'm not sure those roof elements are intended to recall traditional forms, I don't recall these from other photos.

A fireplace is quite feasible, even with a plastic skin. Remarkable insulation materials make this possible, and the plastic may have been more resistant than we think.

Comically, lots of plastic is used in modern construction today, but not allowed to look like plastic. For example, the huge "wooden" beams on the Grand Californian hotel, interior and exterior...all plastic, and fire-resistant.

I have seen the blueprints for HOF published somewhere on-line. I think DaveLand has a link. The house was not designed by Disney, but by a "regular" architectural firm. Disney may have given them the program, or it may have come through Monsanto.

I can't recall the firm name now, although I recognized it, their successors are in business today.


David said...

Is it me, or does anyone else find it odd that no one is walking down on Main Street (i mean beyond the sidewalks)?

No parade appears to be coming (or expected soon).

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I'm sure you are right that it is possible to have a fireplace in a plastic house. And of course things like ovens and stoves weren't made of plastic... there was SOME metal! Man, I would love to see a scaled-up version of this house, and the idea of a multistory version sounds kind of cool. Maybe turn the upper floor 45 degrees in relation to the lower floor? Or maybe that's a bad idea, blocking out natural light. That's interesting about the giant "wooden" beams at the Grand Califorinan... I like the idea of NOT cutting down a majestic redwood in cases like that. Thanks for the input!

David, you see people staying on the sidewalks often in the old days. Years of habit die hard I suppose...

CoxPilot said...

Lots of motorized and horse vehicles in those days, so few would wander in the streets. It was easy to get run down, and some did by the horse drawn surrey when the horses had not been out all winter. Later; when the crowds got bigger, and the traffic got less, people tended to treat the "street" just as another place to mosey.

Connie Moreno said...


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, Vintage DL Tickets posted a Popular Science article a couple years ago that shows how the house can be reconfigured and expanded. Check it out here: House of the Future

Major Pepperidge said...

CoxPilot, I'm sure you are right about the reduction in vehicle traffic on Main Street.

Connie, I know!

TM!, I posted that same article in 2007! I know the arrangement of rooms could be reconfigured, but they still look generally small. I was mostly wondering if the design could be increased in size by 40% (or more) and maintain structural strength.

Nancy said...

maybe it could have been apartment of the future? in any event, i want to live in one of those! now with fire-resistant plastic, its is definitely a good idea :-)