expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

17 May 2009

Disneyland's House of the Future

The House of the Future was an attraction that debuted in 1957 at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. Sponsored by the Monsanto Chemical Company, the ultra-modern house was almost entirely synthetic.

Set in the year 1986, the House of the Future's 4 equal wings seemed to float above its beautifully landscaped grounds and waterfalls.

The house's designers, Marvin Goody and Richard Hamilton.

Designed by Marvin Goody and Richard Hamilton of the Goody Clancy firm in Boston, Massachusetts, the 1280 square foot structure took 2 years to develop. Originally members of the faculty or architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Goody and Hamilton were hired by Monsanto to find new markets for plastic products. They eventually formed their own private firm to take over the commercial planning of the project.

A 1966 magazine article describing Monsanto's futuristic plastic house.

The House of the Future was made from 8 prefabricated plastic modules, placed one on top of the other, forming the ceiling, floor, and wall (the remaining walls were windows). When the modules originally arrived at Disneyland for assembly, receiving clerks thought they were part of a boat!

The central core of the house contained the kitchen and bathrooms, while the four wings each contained one room. The entire structure was solidly anchored to an earthquake rated concrete foundation.

The House of the Future under construction, in early 1957.

Construction at Disneyland began on January 7, 1957, and was completed by early June. A special preview day was held on June 11, 1957, while the official public opening of the House of the Future was held the next day.

An estimated 60,000 visitors toured the House of the Future each week.

Upon entering, visitors found themselves in the dining and family room, a place where the family of the future would play, rest, and dine on stylish plastic furniture. Nearby, the Atoms for Living Kitchen awed guests with futuristic amenities such as the microwave oven.

The 2 children’s bedrooms followed, one for the boy of the future and one for the girl of the future, as well as the shared kids’ bathroom. The master bedroom and the main bathroom were next on the tour, which concluded itself in the sleek living room, featuring a giant, wall-mounted television and built-in high fidelity equipment.

The futuristic kitchen featured an ultra-sonic dishwasher.

The dining room of the future... with plastic dishes, of course!

The ultra-modern bathrooms were completely molded in plastic.

A night view of the House of the Future.

An illuminated replica, in a limited edition of 1000, produced in 1996.

The House of the Future is yet another example of the retro-futuristic aesthetic that I adore, reminding me a bit of Jacque Fresco's designs...

Vanished today, there continues to be subtle tributes to the House of the Future both at Disneyland and Walt Disney World...

images: (1) yesterland.com
(2, 4 & 11) flickr.com
(3, 5 & 6) davelandweb.com
(7, 8, 9, 10 & 12) LIFE photo archive

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post!

thanks for this :)


10:28 pm  
Blogger Sam said...

I can imagine Brini Maxwell living here...

10:41 pm  
Blogger Jason Stockl said...

Thanks for the inspiration, DC!

Sam, I agree... Brini would love it!

10:55 pm  
Anonymous Suzanna said...

I'll bet YOU would love to live in a house like that! hahahahahahahaha

7:19 pm  
Anonymous Pluche said...

Great article Jason. From what I read someplace they actually tried to demolish the house with a wrecking ball which kept bouncing off the house.

10:06 pm  
Anonymous William said...

A coincidence that the attraction closed in 1967? :)

Great article Jason - I like the interior shots and the bathroom photo is particularly interesting... One thing I think its easy to forget is prototypes like these have direct influences over actual industrial design (the bathroom looks suspiciously like an airplane or train toilet...)

Maybe an interesting article for the blog would be what influences Expo had over the real world? I know for example that the Mirabel terminal was directly inspired by the Quebec pavillion... hopefully we can find some examples that are a bit more "heureux"!


11:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be a piece of cake to build something like this in 2014. One of the more expensive parts of a new house is the concrete slab. If that was reduced to the small square in the middle of the disney house, there would be a huge financial saving. I have built fully cantilevered decks, using 250mm high steel beams, so that could form the floor frame, and you only need 4 ! But the big cot saving ids the minimilistic style. There is a lot of wasted frilly stuff on so - called modern houses. Also P.j. O'Rourke has written a brilliant article on it.

8:07 pm  

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