2414 Stratford Road (1977)


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 mode.


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.