The Monsanto House of the Future (MHOF) was a prefabricated plastic house developed at MIT under Monsanto Chemical Company sponsorship from 1953 to 1956. Based on research in structural plastics by Professor Albert Dietz, the house was designed by Professors Marvin Goody (MIT ’51) and Richard Hamilton (MIT ’50) in the Department of Architecture. Goody and Hamilton wanted to create an affordable and highly flexible substitute for poorly designed, developer-driven tract houses. Under the direction of the client, Monsanto, and their plastics group engineer, Robert Whittier (MIT ’51), a prototype was built in 1957 and exhibited at Disneyland until it was demolished in 1967.
MHOF was among the most important of many 20th-century prototypes for low-cost, factory-built housing, and was one of many exhibition houses. As a building type—compact with fewer structural constraints than public or commercial buildings—the house form was an ideal laboratory for experimentation in design, materials, and construction. It has been considered one of the most important vehicles for the investigation of architectural ideas in the 20th century. In this and many other projects during the 1950s and 1960s, MIT played a key role in advancing architectural innovation.