Norman Bel Geddes Predicts the Future


It is that time of year that everyone makes predictions, and looks at predictions made a year ago; here is one that was made quite a bit earlier. It is sad that we live in a world where Norman Bel Geddes is more famous for being the father of Barbara Bel Geddes, Miss Ellie in a successful 80's TV show, than for his industrial design. Be that as it may, Norman made some interesting predictions for the future in the 1931 Ladies Home Journal, dug up by Enrique Ramirez of Archinect.
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Bel Geddes Futurama at 1939 Worlds Fair

All the following prophecies will be old-fashioned.

Aluminum will replace steel in railroad-car construction.

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There will be double-deck streets, divided into lanes for slow stop-off traffic and lanes for express traffic.

Synthetic materials will replace the products of Nature in buildings.

Arc welding will replace riveting.

Every roof will be a garden.

Airplanes will be able to land and take off vertically.

Whole blocks, in the midst of cities, will be given over to airplane hangars, the roofs of which will form landing fields.

Exterior walls of buildings will be of thinner material to effect economy of space.

Houses, in all climates, will have flat roofs.

Every floor will have one or more terraces. So that such terraces shall not cut off light from the floor below, even small houses will be built with setbacks, as are skyscrapers today.

The garage will be part of the house and will be placed on the street front.

Service quarters will be at the front of the house; living rooms at the back.

All metal used in house construction will be so alloyed or treated as to render it noncorrosive.

In small houses the dining room, as a separate chamber, will be eliminated.

Houses, in the main, will tend to be smaller, but the fewer rooms they contain will be larger.

All rooms will be soundproof.

Steel for building will be replaced by another alloy half the weight but equal strength.

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