Houses of Tomorrow: From Keck to Today

Opening: Friday, Feb 4, 2022 4 – 6 pm
Friday, Feb 4 – May 29, 2022

150 Cottage Hill Ave.
Elmhurst, IL 60126

Throughout the Elmhurst Art Museum’s 25th year of inspiring its community, the Museum will host a year-long celebration, with a focus on the three major hallmarks of its mission: architecture (Spring), education (Summer), and art (Fall). Central to the Spring season is the new multimedia exhibition, Houses of Tomorrow: Solar Homes from Keck to Today, open February 5 through May 29, 2022 within the Museum’s galleries, plus an accompanying light-based installation by Chicago-based artist Jan Tichy within the Museum’s historic McCormick House. The Museum has also announced a wealth of exhibition-relatedprogramming including an artist talk led by Tichy, a panel exploring today’s sustainable practices, docent-led tours curated in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Mies van der Rohe McCormick House, hands-on STEAM activities for children, and more. Tickets available at

Houses of Tomorrow follows the evolution of Chicago architecture firm Keck & Keck – created by brothers George Fred Keck and William Keck – who designed modern, award-winning, affordable homes throughout the Midwest from 1935-1979. For Chicago’s Century of Progress World’s Fair in 1933, George Fred Keck designed the “House of Tomorrow,” the first glass house in America with groundbreaking domestic amenities. The “House of Tomorrow” showed millions of World’s Fair attendees a technology-driven vision of what domestic life could be in the future as it featured many new ideas from the first GE dishwasher to a personal airplane hangar. It was through this house that the Kecks found a new way to harness solar energy, leading them to make energy efficiency breakthroughs throughout their career.

After the creation of this home, the Keck architecture firm built mid-century homes that now stand as early precursors to today’s sustainable building practices. This exhibition explores how the Keck brothers became the first “solar architects” with historic photos, architectural artifacts, design diagrams, and a commissioned artist interpretation by Jan Tichy centered on glass and light.


Houses of Tomorrow includes:

· An introduction to the groundbreaking “House of Tomorrow” with 1933 World’s Fair materials, documentary photographs, a look at the modern amenities it offered, and blueprints of current restoration plans

· A dedicated gallery illustrating Keck & Keck as the first “solar architects” with narratives, videos, and historic photos of their resulting solar adaptations and designs

· Installation no. 38 (Keck & Keck), a commissioned artist interpretation project by Jan Tichy centered on glass and light incorporating original artifacts from the 1933 House of Tomorrow

· Images of a 2021 passive solar design architecture competition using today’s groundbreaking solar and energy-efficient building technologies


Accompanying the main exhibition is Jan Tichy’s immersive installation Reflectance, which will invite visitors into Mies van der Rohe’s historic 1952 McCormick House, located on Elmhurst Art Museum’s property, to explore its domestic space as an environment of movement, light, activity, and wonder. With an emphasis on solar explorations, Tichy’s work will respond to the house’s south facing windows and other architectural elements along with additions of various architectural fragments, found objects, mechanical and electronic components, and photographic materials. His site-specific installation will show the McCormick House as a living, breathing, and interactive architectural structure.

Registration is required for exhibition-related winter and spring programming, which is free with museum admission unless otherwise noted: 

·Exhibition Opening: Houses of Tomorrow 
25th Anniversary Kickoff

Friday, February 4
4:00-6:00 PM Open House; 
6:30-8:30 PM Members-Only Reception

Visitors and members will get a first glimpse at the Museum’s recent Education Center renovations, the new Houses of Tomorrow: Solar Homes from Keck to Today prior to its public opening, and a multimedia installation by Jan Tichy in the McCormick House.

Elmhurst Art Museum has inspired its community through art, education, and architecture since 1997. The Members-only reception will showcase all three program areas with something for everyone, including a Valentine’s Day activity, a special discount for Summer Camp enrollment, and more.

Sponsored by Lakeside Bank

·Houses of Tomorrow Exhibition Introduction

Monday, February 7, 7:00-8:00 pm at Elmhurst Public Library and virtual 

During this sneak peek presentation, participants will hear a survey introduction to the exhibition including how the original glass-walled “House of Tomorrow” at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair led to breakthroughs in architecture and solar power, and consider the possibilities and limitations of “green” buildings.

Co-organized with the Elmhurst Public Library

·Lecture: The House of Tomorrow, Today

Saturday, February 19, 1:30 pm
Todd Zeiger, Director of Northern Regional Office of Indiana Landmarks, explores future restoration plans for the “House of Tomorrow.” 

·70th Anniversary McCormick House Tour

Saturday, February 26, 1:30 pm 

This docent-led tour invites visitors to explore the unique design and history of Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House, and celebrate the House’s 70th anniversary 

·Family Day

Saturday, March 12, 1:00-4:00 pm

Families are invited to participate in this hands-on, STEAM-friendly workshop inspired by the current exhibition. Participants will explore the use of the sun to create their own unique works of art. Available to all ages.

·Panel Discussion: Sustainable Architecture

Saturday, March 19, 1:30 pm

In this moderated conversation, architects Nathan Kipnis, Tom Bassett-Dilley, and Doug Farr will introduce how key technologies have transformed their practice and will share how their current work has contributed to a more efficient and sustainable design. 

·70th Anniversary McCormick House Tour: Mies van der Rohe Birthday

Sunday, March 27, 1:30 PM

In honor of Mies van der Rohe’s birthday, this docent-led tour invites visitors to explore the unique design and history of Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House, and celebrate the House’s 70th anniversary.

·Online Lecture: Keck’s House of Tomorrow

Thursday, April 7, 1:30 pm

This pre-recorded video, led by industry experts and historians Robert Boyce and Tony Denzer, will provide an in-depth look at the innovations of George Fred Keck’s House of Tomorrow. Online only.

·25th Annual Art in Wilder Park

Saturday, April 30 – Sunday, May 1, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Art in Wilder Park, a free-to-the-public event presented with RGL Marketing for the Arts, features more than 100 Midwest artists along with events and exhibitions at the Elmhurst Art Museum. Both days are presented festival style with one-of-a-kind art, food vendors, entertainment, and kid’s activities including hands-on activities for families hosted by various community organizations. 

·Online Artist Talk: Jan Tichy 

Thursday, May 5, 1:30 pm

Artist and educator Jan Tichy reveals the inspiration behind his immersive installation Reflectancewhich shows the McCormick House as a living, breathing, and interactive architectural structure. This pre-recorded video is online only.

·Museum Day

Sunday, May 15, 1:00-5:00 pm
The 25th Annual Museum Day in Elmhurst commemorates the important cultural value of museums to communities. Visit Elmhurst museums for free admission, family-friendly activities, exhibit tours, refreshments, and more.

·70th Anniversary McCormick House Tour

Saturday, May 21, 1:30 pm

This docent-led tour invites visitors to explore the unique design and history of Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House, and celebrate the House’s 70th anniversary.

Houses of Tomorrow: Solar Homes from Keck to Today is sponsored by the DuPage Foundation, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Artis, Room & Board, and Chicago Bauhaus & Beyond. 


About Elmhurst Art Museum 

The Elmhurst Art Museum is located at 150 South Cottage Hill Avenue in Elmhurst (IL), 25 minutes from downtown Chicago by car or public transportation (Metra). On the museum’s campus is the McCormick House, a single-family home designed in 1952 by Mies van der Rohe, one of the great architects of the 20th Century. The McCormick House is one of only three residences designed and built by Mies in the United States – and one of only two open to the public.

As a unique arts complex, the Elmhurst Art Museum is deeply committed to three distinct areas of focus to inspire and enrich our community: art, education, and architecture. The Museum is one block from theElmhurst Metra station and is open Wednesday and Thursday from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Friday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and every second Friday of the month from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Golf prices are $10 for Adults (ages 16+), $8 for Seniors, $5 for Children (ages 5-15), and Free for Kiddies (under 5). For more information, please call 630.834.0202 or visit