Since the days of Jules Verne, humanity has constantly been casting its collective eye forward, towards the unknown future, trying to imagine the fantastic technology that will be at our disposal. This doesn’t end with vehicles, weaponry and communication devices that we so often see in science fiction, but also the very houses we live in.
As smart, computer-operated houses are very much a reality today, here are the many incredible ways people of past generations envisioned what our modern living conditions will be like:
1. The Moving House
This house, based on an 1899 French illustration is certainly unique in this list, in that it alone failed to imagine just how fast the wheels of technology turn. While the artist imagined his invention to be available in the faraway 2000, a mere ten years later the first motorhome would become available to the public, and by the 1920’s RVs very similar to this one existed.
Vintage motorhome, 1922
2. Rolling Homes
Talk about a complicated solution to a simple problem. A 1934 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics magazine posited that our immovable property will become movable by shaping the house as a sphere that can be rolled across the land. Not only are the physics of this confusing, but why roll the entire house, when you can just put it on a truck? Obviously, the mobile home industry opted for the second, simpler solution.
3. Glass Houses
Stone-throwing puns aside, this mid-1920’s project has aged really badly. Promising to be the first therapeutic living quarters, the Vitaglass house aimed to do this by letting in all of the “healthy” UV radiation that regular glass panes screen out. This doubly peculiar, because by that time, the connection between UV radiation and skin cancer was already something scientists speculated about.
4. Dome House
According to a 1957 Mechanix Illustrated issue, “Current research in solar energy and architecture indicates that by 1989 you may be living in a house with an exterior made entirely of steel-hard glass”. The idea is actually cooler than just that, the structure itself consists of an exterior glass dome and the building itself, which is a rotatable half-dome. The rotating aspect allows you to control just how much sunlight you’re exposed to at any given time.
5. Underwater Hotel
In 1939, General Motors captivated the imagination of the world by imagining a hypermodern cityscape of the future 60’s titled Futurama. In 1964, 25 years later, as many of their predictions came to fruition, they gave it another shot with the Futurama II exhibit. This time their ideas were substantially more outlandish and impractical, such as desert, cliff-side and underwater homes.
While we don't know of such a resort in the deep ocean, there is a restaurant in Norway that gives visitors an underwater experience:
6. Lightweight House
This 1942 idea isn’t quite as ridiculous as it may seem at first glance. The idea is to construct houses from ultralight aerogel- a solid mater made from a gel that had its liquids replaced with gas, forming a solid and light material. Building a house from aerogel might be a bad idea, as the material is rather brittle. That being said, modern technologies allows us to build with such materials as recycled plastic, which is durable and lightweight, though maybe not enough to be able to carry an entire house on a foam tray.
7. Space Dome
Not quite a practical proposition, legendary pulp and comic illustrator Alex Schomburg created the free-floating space dome for the cover of a 1953 issue of Science Fiction Adventures. The piece’s title is Outer Space Real Estate, and it comes complete with air-locked chutes that allow you to go out into the neighborhood via your personal spacecraft. Where water supply comes from, or how the dome doesn’t become a giant carbon dioxide death-trap is left to our imagination.