What the future looked like

Every architectural drawing calls to the future, but some projections surpass their particular contexts to reveal something wider—and highly timely. It’s easy to recognize the currents of anxiety or optimism that run through the moments that populate this issue, but we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking they are familiar; these are past futures that never really arrived. Rather, they lie in wait, giving us renewed routes toward understanding what preoccupies us today.

Article 12 of 14

1956: House of the Future

Unknown photographer. Alison and Peter Smithson, architects. Interior view of the House of the Future looking down from the viewing platform, Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition, London, March 1956. DR1995:0042

Because we have the drawings in our collection, we’ve accumulated quite a bit of content related to the House of the Future. Some of it appears below.

From our collection database:

Peter and Alison Smithson designed the House of the Future for the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition. The exhibition was held in the Olympia Exhibition Centre from March 6-31 1956 (DR1995:0046:001-006). The House of the Future was never intended for actual production but for theoretical discussion. Designed around a courtyard garden that supplied natural lighting and private outdoor space, there were few windows on the exterior walls allowing the houses to be placed directly side-by-side. For viewing purposes, there was no roof but an elevated platform so exhibition goers could look inside the house from above. Appliances and work areas were hidden from view within cubicles allowing for a large open space in which to live.

Drawing the House of the Future

Drawings by Alison and Peter Smithson


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