Idea House 1947


In 1947, the Walker Art Museum designed and built this example of the modern architecture of the day.  It was designed by William Friedman and Hilde Reiss, Walker staff members, and local architect Malcolm Lein.  It was part of the museum’s desire to demonstrate “art-in-use” and followed the thinking that functional objects should be beautiful as well.

TIME magazine arranged for an average family (an insurance salesman, his wife and their two children) to live in the house for a week to test its appeal and “livability”. While the family didn’t like everything about the house, they recognized many of the superior elements of the design and enjoyed most all of the stay.  Yet, many of these wonderful, practical and simple innovations are still largely absent from architecture of today.

It would be amazing for a museum to arrange something like this again with the most cutting-edge architecture. It’s easy to have awe-inspiring or conversation-starting buildings but, we often wonder about the day-to-day functionality of the spaces.  I would gladly volunteer!

Tomorrow, I’ll post another article about the house with photos in FULL COLOR!


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