In 1961, Soviet architects built a model home to showcase the building materials of tomorrow. It probably wasn't a coincidence that it shared the streamlined design attributes of Monsanto's 1957 House of the Future, along with many other American Googie buildings.
In its heyday, plastic was viewed as a revolutionary advancement—safer and lighter than glass, cheap to manufacture, and useful in countless commercial applications. In fact, in the early 1960's architects in the USSR even tried building entire houses out of the stuff.
Constructed in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) in 1961, this experimental housing unit served as a test-bed for plastic-based construction materials. It was a single-flight walk-up studio with a combination kitchen-bathroom and small terrace. This all-plastic unit sat atop a 7-foot pedestal of reinforced framing and glass blocks which housed ventilation and heating equipment.
Literally everything in the unit was made from plastic. Its panoramic front windows: plexiglas; its plumbing: viniplast, even its wall paper was made from PVC film. The walls of the home were barely more than 14 cm thick, though they reportedly insulated the house as well as two feet worth of conventional insulation. This made for a rather sterile, albeit stain-proof, living environment—had the home actually been occupied.
Engineers tinkered with the home for three years before shuttering it. And while the house itself is no longer standing, architects have applied many of the technologies developed there to modern home-building techniques. [Eugene Eu via English Russia]