In 1939, the pioneering industrial designer Donald Deskey, was asked to participate in the Contemporary Industrial Arts Exhibition to be held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in early 1940. For his project, he designed a prefabricated weekend cabin, called “Sportshack,” depicted in this air-brush rendering.
The many innovations in the house included a large picture window made of Aklo glass, developed by Libbey Owns Ford, that absorbed heat from the sun; exterior and interior walls of Deskey-designed Weldtex, developed with U.S. Plywood which was a low-cost striated plywood that added a warm, traditional feeling to the simple, modern home; built-in sofas, the backs of which could be flipped up to create the bunk beds; tables and chairs, not shown in the rendering, that were simple, light, and easily moved for flexibility; and interior partitions that could be extended to provide privacy for the bedroom areas.
Deskey created a scale model of Sportshack for the Museum, together with a full-scale installation of the living/dining area. Sportshack was also exhibited life-size in the America At Home exhibition at the 1940 New York World’s Fair. Deskey saw prefabrication, with design flexibility and potential for expansion, as the only way to provide the volume of housing that would be needed in the future. After World War II, he established Shelter Industries, which produced variations on Sportshack for small families. While most of these homes have been modified or destroyed, anyone with a spare million can acquire one, currently for sale in Montauk, Long Island.