Structure: ALCOA Care-Free Home
Location: Maryville, Tennessee
Architect: Charles M. Goodman
Story: The year is 1957, and ALCOA (the Aluminum Company of America, now called Arconic) decided that more people should live in homes made out of aluminum. It was as much of a sales pitch as anything else…but it be quite the experiment.
ALCOA hired architect Charles M. Goodman to design what they called the “Care-Free” home. The houses were 3 bed, 3 bath, 1,900 sq. ft. and were filled with colorful aluminum (used both as the structure of the house and as decoration). These pictures from the brochure show just how ALCOA was planning to market the houses.
This Care-Free house (in Portland, Oregon) gives you a look at the house in real life, and showcases the prominent use of aluminum throughout.
To get folks interested in these unique houses, ALCOA decided to pay for + build the first batch. They planned to build 50, but only 24 were ever built. As it turns out, building a house out of aluminum is quite expensive. The houses were intended to cost around $25,000 ($230k today), but they ended up costing double that price — and thus weren’t affordable for the middle class market ALCOA was aiming for.
Luckily for us here in the Volunteer State, one of the the 24 constructed houses was built in Maryville, Tennessee. It’s been unsympathetically remodeled however the bones still look to be in pretty good shape (probably due to the sturdiness of all that aluminum).