Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

Ford House (1949)

Bruce Goff Architect

404 S. Edgelawn Avenue, Aurora IL

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Visited July 5, 2013

Bruce Goff designed this house using unusual materials and creative uses of common materials. This house’s structural system is created by standard quonset hut ribs forming the dome shape. The exterior wall behind the ribs is constructed of coal blocks with glass cullers, a waste product from glass furnaces. The house is on a full city block, with much of the property left in a natural state.

Albert Ford was a gas company executive, and his wife Ruth Van Sickle Ford was the Director of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

The Ford’s received many comments during the construction of their unique house. Many neighbors in the upscale neighborhood of traditional homes were not kind in their comments, calling the new house a “Big Apple”, “Birdcage” and the less creative “Dome”. The Ford’s added a quote to the construction sign which let the neighbors know how they felt….”We don’t like your house either”. See a photo from Life magazine in 1951 showing the sign:  Construction Sign Link

I have taken a photo from the same view as the sign photo in Life magazine, followed by the next door neighbor’s white traditional house at the end of my slideshow.


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