When Harold Burdick designed and
built this house for himself, his primary motive was to construct a house
which, by the use of modern architectural concepts and manufactured materials,
could be a prototype for a mass produced house for middle income living.
The estimated cost was $12,000.It was built in 1938 toward the end of the
Depression and at the time when the International Style — the style of Gropius
and his group at the Bauhaus in Germany, of Corbusier in France — was
blossoming in the United States.The
Burdick house is a very rare example of a residence in the Midwest designed
according to the principles of this short lived but interesting architectural
The style shows itself in the use of glass block walls and
ceiling-to-floor plate glass windows, thus proclaiming its steel frame
construction.No masonry or wood construction could do this.The second
floor deck over the garage with its slim curved railing is suggestive of an
oceanliner, as well as the esthetic Corbusier set up in 1923 in his Vers Un Architecture.
Burdick used modern manufactured materials for his construction in an
effort to link home construction with mass production, thus reducing
costs.There is no hardwood in the house.Stucco is laid on masonite
board, as is the flooring.All interior walls are paneled to avoid having to maintain plaster.
Ceilings are Celotex.The entire frame is supported on steel beams
and interior walls are movable.
In this American version of a "machine for living," cabinets are built
in and all doors slide into the walls on ball bearing tracks.Yet there is ample space where it is needed,
and a feeling of spaciousness for the activities of the family.The vertical core of the house contains all
stairs and the chimney and utilities core; the rooms wrap around this vertical
element.The present owners' carefully selected and collected period furniture is especially congenial with the
concept and style of the architecture.