UNESCO Cities of Design

US-based home services website Angie’s List and content agency Neomam Studios came together to visualize 7 of the most eccentric and futuristic ideas of people who lived before us, future homes of our grandparents, with realistic architectural designs. Apparently, our forefathers had serious hopes for the future. How would they react to what we really accomplished? Step into the houses that were never built. Who knows what the future will bring.

Moving House (1900s)

Jean-Marc Côté’s “House Rolling Through The Countryside” featured in a collection of cigarette cards drawn up around the turn of the 19th century, imagining what life would look like in the year 2000.

Glass House (1920s)


Utilizing a special new kind of glass designed to admit the ultraviolet, ahem, “health rays” of the sun, the Vitaglass house would offer a year-round summer thanks to the addition of mercury arc lamps for gloomy days.

Rolling House (1930s)

The September, 1934 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics assured readers that spherical houses would soon become highly fashionable, even if the appeal of living in a giant hamster ball isn’t immediately obvious. The innovation was intended to make the remote construction and delivery of new homes more straightforward as travelling in the ball would be a bad idea if you valued your crockery and ornaments.

Lightweight House (1940s)

The January, 1942 authors of “This Unfinished World” offered a vision that gets closer every day: using super-light “aerogel” to create buildings that are earthquake-resistant and require less resources to build. Today, the lightest material in the world is graphene aerogel, which can be 3D printed, and boffins are hard at work figuring how to use the material to lighten the environmental toll of conventional construction techniques.

Space House (1950s)

Just four years prior to the Dome House, the cover of the December 1953 Science Fiction Adventures magazine proposed a glass dome – but in outer space. Puerto Rican cover artist Alex Schomburg’s free-floating snow globes come complete with rooftop chutes for launching space hatchbacks out into the great unknown.

Dome House (1950s)

The dome house’s eco-punk utopianism took sustainability as its driving factor. The rotating dome would allow homeowners to make efficient use of the sun’s energy. And while hydroponic vegetable patches like those outside the dome house do not yet feature in the average 21st century garden, the hydroponics industry in general is set to triple in value to $725m between now and 2023.

Underwater House (1960s)

General Motors created the Futurama II Pavilion to blow the minds of visitors to the New York World’s Fair in 1964. You can see their underwater world in motion in a promotional movie from the time.