Real estate trivia: Who built the first glass house in the United States? Or how about the first subdivision of solar homes? Both benchmarks were achieved by Chicago architects George and William Keck with the steel-and-glass House of Tomorrow, which debuted at the Century of Progress World’s Fair in 1933, and the 22-home Glencoe subdivision Forest Crest, which went up in 1952. “The visionary brothers teamed up to form Keck & Keck in 1935, and went on to design and build hundreds of elegant, livable, energy-efficient homes that were way ahead of their time. The great majority of their residences were built on the North Shore, but you can find them throughout the Midwest,” says Joan Gand, who cofounded Chicago Bauhaus & Beyond to celebrate and preserve local modern architecture and design. She also lives in a Keck & Keck home and considers the residences “works of art in their own right.”
It’s a sentiment shared by many architecture fans, which makes this beautifully preserved 1,700-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom 1956 ranch at 1189 Terrace (above) in the Forest Crest subdivision all the more enticing. The Keck & Keck home is on the market for $675,000, and has an updated kitchen, pristine windows, a full basement, a spacious screened-in porch and a lushly landscaped, 65-foot by 174-foot lot with a koi pond, says Coldwell Banker broker Mary Rosinski (left, call 847-293-6167).
Highs and lows
Just as works of art come in every shape, size and price point, so do Keck & Keck homes. Two currently on the market illustrate the broad range: a low-slung, three-bed, three-bath, 2,723-square-foot ranch in Flossmoor for $379,000 (above, call Baird & Warner broker John Travis Flynn, 708-602-7090), and a glassy, five-bed, six-bath, 7,550-square-foot stunner — situated on an equally stunning 27-acre parcel of land hugging the water at 925 Sheridan in Lake Bluff — priced at $9,995,000. It’s looking for the right architectural aficionado, as it needs a buyer before it’s destroyed by a developer who decides to build all-new homes on the land (call Griffith, Grand & Lackie broker Marina Carney at 847-283-0792).
Popular Mechanics: Want to know more about the design duo George and William Keck? The only book ever written about their work, Keck and Keck by Robert Boyce, is out-of-print and so coveted that the rare editions can cost upwards of $750. But Julius Schulman: Chicago Mid-Century Modernism by Gary Gand and Julius Schulman (above) includes a chapter on the architects’ work. $60; Rizzoli.com
Story by Lisa Skolnik