The company judged the project a success. In 1947, local builder Albert Davies used the utility unit in a forty-home development near Gull Road and Eastland Avenue. In the same year, a $5 million 544-unit apartment project using the utility core was begun in Seattle, war veterans to be given the first choice of apartments. Although many have been modified in various ways, all the original Ingersoll Village homes are still in active use.
An Idea for the Future
It was, however, an idea ahead of its time. There was resistance from the labor unions, who felt that their work was being done in the factories instead of the building sites. In addition, the large variation in plumbing codes from city to city and a shortage of steel and copper finally stopped production in 1949. But the housing shortage persisted and uniform plumbing codes were gradually adopted, so other companies began experimenting with the general concept, and twenty years later Operation Breakthrough, a federal program, decided to try again to use a utility core in ten American cities. In Kalamazoo, the result was New Horizon Village on the city's east side.
The Houses in Ingersoll Village
A New England Cape Cod, one of three homes designed by J. Fletcher Lankton of Peoria. Lankton was a principle partner in the firm Lankton-Ziegele-Terry & Associates that designed a wide variety of buildings. This home is currently almost unchanged from the original.
Also a Cape Cod designed by Lankton
By Royal Barry Wills, of Boston, a New England Cape Cod with a bay window. Wills was widely known for designing modest homes in traditional New England styles and updating them to meet the needs of contemporary living.
By Edward Durell Stone of New York City and North Carolina, two-story, designed for southern temperatures. The main living space is located on the second floor, with a stone-surfaced ground floor for informal recreation, workshops, etc. No apparent exterior changes.
A Prairie Modern designed by L. Morgan Yost with few walls to maximize the flow of interior space. The main living area faces north to take advantage of the view on the site. This house has been extensively altered and expanded.
Designed by Alden B. Dow of Midland, the smaller of the two “corn-crib” houses, so called because two of the exterior walls in each slope outward at the top, creating a feeling of spaciousness and shading the bottom from direct sunlight.. Some alterations have been made to the original. Alden B. Dow was well-known in Michigan as a member of the Dow Chemical family. He was also the architect for the Kalamazoo Nature Center, the Disciples of Christ Church on Winchell Avenue, the original building for Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and several other local homes.
By George Fred Keck of Chicago, a one-story passive solar house. The garage and secondary rooms are on the north side of the house to buffer winter winds. Main living areas face south and show an early use of large double-pane insulating windows. The original open carport has been enclosed into a garage, but the rest of the house remains substantially as designed. Keck gave a public lecture on solar houses in Kalamazoo in 1947 (see clipping in Art Scrapbook 5:8).
Designed by Alden B. Dow, the expanded model of the “corn-crib” house. Dow’s designs for this project emphasized both economy and flexibility. Later changes were designed by Kalamazoo architect Gordon Rogers.
Designed by Hugh Asher Stubbins, Jr., of Boston. Original designed as a one bedroom house with a den off the living room that could be converted into a bedroom as needed. A garage and additional bedroom have been added to this house. Stubbins was described by William Dudley Hunt, Jr., as being "very close to the ideal of the complete architect, adept at obtaining commissions for his firm, a good business man, a successful designer, a good manager."
A long “California ranch house” by Harwell Hamilton Harris, of Los Angeles. It makes use of a kitchen “L,” the only variation from the utility core permitted the architects who worked on this project. It was also noted for its many built-in features and frosted glass indirect lighting panels. It was substantially altered in 1952 by Kalamazoo architect William A. Stone.
By Hugh Stubbins, a three-bedroom that sought to link indoors and outdoors and to achieve a spacious feeling in a compact space. This home also featured stone partitions. Additional garage space was added later.
A ranch style designed by Lankton to make a comfortable living space in just 518 square feet, not by shrinking rooms, but by combining functions.