Wednesday, May 31, 2017

North Pole Ice Cream Store, North Ave. near Harlem Ave., River Forest, Illinois.

Architect Bertrand Goldberg, born in 1913 in Chicago, and famous for his work on the Marina City and River City projects, designed the North Pole mobile ice cream store in 1938.
The entire store was built on wheels making it portable. Its glass walls and cantilevered roof were suspended from a mast anchored to a truck chassis; the foundation of the building.

Originally, the plan was to sell ice cream in Chicago in the summer and then move the North Pole to Florida for the winter months. Goldberg considered creating a series of these stores to be served by a "mother truck" where the ice cream would be manufactured en route and distributed to the stores.
Stores could be installed in a parking lot in a downtown area or other high-traffic spot.

The inventive little building was influenced by Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion House, which featured a similar roofing system. 
A Dymaxion House
Goldberg showed the design to General Wood, the President of the Sears Roebuck Company, who, as Goldberg states in his Oral History, "was very interested in it as a concept for Sears Roebuck for stores that could be erected quickly in new industrial areas. He became sort of interested in it but nothing ever happened." Goldberg continues, "the concept of a tension supported roof - of a roof supported by hanging was something which obviously I hadn't designed or invented - but the awareness of it certainly opened up a new horizon for design...You could get a building that was suddenly open at its edges rather than closed at its edges."

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