New Architecture and City Planning: A Symposium

By Paul Zucker | Go to book overview

WHEN SCIENCE TAKES OVER THE HOME

By ROBERT L. DAVISON

How lovely it would be if a scientist could sit down and write the accurate description of even one fully engineered house of the future! Unhappily, this is being done only by publicity writers. In warm but very generalized terms these describe houses all of plastic (Plastic sounds so modern) that will automatically wash your clothes, cook your meals, turn out ice or completely mixed cocktails, and indeed do almost everything except give birth to the baby.

One who sticks to scientific realism, on the other hand, struggles with difficulties. The fact is that our houses of today are actually still so close to the ox-cart phase that the scientist, far from describing an airplane, has to crave indulgence for the idea that there can be one.

Sentiment hangs heavy about the idea of the house. Few, even among trained architects, are emotionally prepared to think freely about things to come. I remember talking, years ago, with an architect in his office on the twentieth floor of a New York building. We were looking out over the city through a large plate-glass window. It was 6 feet high by 12 feet wide: the height of a man and the width of a fair-sized bedroom. We were talking about the possibility of walls only two inches thick. He de

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