The name of the Thermo-Con house refers to the material used to construct the walls, floors, and roof. Thermo-Con combines cement, water, and a proprietary mineral in a specialized mixer, which when poured into place expands as it cures. Higgins Resources, Inc. (also known as Higgins Industries), which had produced landing craft during World War II, held the patent for this material. Shortages of building materials like wood and steel during the war had led to the invention of this and other innovative materials.
E. S. Henderson of industrial architecture firm Albert Kahn & Associations designed the Thermo-Con house as a prototype, and the 410th Engineer Battalion (Construction) built the structure in 1949. The Kahn design utilizes the International Style, which avoids any historically-based decoration. The style favors a flat roof (often asphalt), smooth surfaces, asymmetrical massing, and simplicity. Other experimental housing designs emerged during this time period, but none of them were ever mass-produced as they had been intended. Despite the housing shortage and need to inexpensively produce housing, the International Style did not appeal to consumers and the Thermo-Con prototype did not produce any additional houses.
The house served as the unofficial residence of the Post Sergeant Major at Fort Belvoir. Some renovations to the two-story building took place in the 1970s. The National Register of Historic Places recognized the property in 1997, at which time it was unoccupied. Three years later, the Army renovated the building for use as housing for distinguished visitors to Fort Belvoir.