A team has been chosen to rehabilitate the historic House of Tomorrow in Beverly Shores. Construction could begin later this year, with the project taking two years to complete, depending on fundraising efforts.
Designed by Chicago architect George Fred Keck for the 1933-34 Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair, it is the nation’s first glass house and introduced the concept of passive solar energy to heat a home. The structure, now perched high atop a dune overlooking Lake Michigan, incorporated many new design features, including an electric refrigerator, automatic dishwasher, open floor plan and a hangar for the family aircraft.
Last fall, the National Trust named the site a national treasure and, with Indiana Landmarks, announced a $2.5 million restoration campaign.
The derelict building is now stripped down to its house wrap, awaiting the extensive restoration project.
Designs and necessary approvals are the focus this spring and summer, said Todd Zeiger, director of Indiana Landmarks’ northern regional office in South Bend. Zeiger is project manager for the House of Tomorrow.
The design team working to rehabilitate America’s first glass house includes the following Chicago-based firms: bKL Architecture, taking the lead in architecture and interior design with a team led by Charles R. Hasbrouck; Bauer Latoza Studio, led by Edward Torrez, providing historic preservation consulting services; Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., providing structural engineering services with a team led by Senior Associate Michael Ford; Willoughby Engineering, led by Thomas Willoughby, supplying mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering services; HJKessler Associates, led by Helen Kessler, providing sustainability consulting services.
Staff from the National Park Service and State Historic Preservation Office will ensure the project meets preservation standards.
The rehabilitation will peel away deteriorated surfaces to reveal the original wheel-and-spoke steel structure, and restore the house using smart glass and other cutting-edge technologies and products.