Tour the Fantastic Time Warp of the 'Day After Tomorrow' House

A rare piece of American history is on the market: the 15,000-square-foot glass-and-steel Chicago home designed by the father of solar.

Photo by: Prudential Rubloff Living room waterfall in architect George Keck's Chicago "Day After Tomorrow House." Keck was at the forefront (some would claim him as the father) of energy efficiency residences and his architectural engineering created the first "passive" solar houses in the 1930s and '40s.  

Built in 1936 by architect George Keck as a sequel to the revolutionary dodecagonal design of his 1933 World's Fair "House of Tomorrow," this Lake Forest estate stands as a flagship in the emergence of the smart home and passive solar heating. Yeah, the green movement happened way back when.

Keck, a Wisconsinite and style contrarian who trained as a draftsman under Chicago architectural luminary Daniel Burnham and embraced the modern tidal wave led by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, accepted the whimsical commission of one B.J. Cahn to create a luxurious, open, ever-so-modern home that was splendid throughout and efficient within. 

That he did, delivering a 15,000-square-foot, 7-bedroom, 9.3-bath prize of engineering: The structure has non-bearing walls and partitions, it keeps its cool in the summer and heated in the winter and the whole thing is gift-wrapped on a blooming 4.6-acre private domain in the tree city. An extensive remodel in 1996 expanded the footprint with a second story addition. (Isn't it obvious the current owners pampered and fussed over the home?) Add seven zones of efficient heating and cooling systems to tickle the green-conscious house-hunter in this updated jewel box.The walkscore on this spread is a pitiful 7/10. Meaning: you need a car to live up here. Relax! Make it an efficient one.

Keck is best known for the 1940 Glenview, Ill., Sloan House, the first on record tagged as a "solar house," but this one predates it and the ingenuity and beauty is still a thing to behold. Asking $5.49 million, repped by Sheila Brooks of Prudential Rubloff.  

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