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Futuro House 13

Berlin, Germany
Futuro House being transported through the streets of Todmodern, Yorkshire, England, 1971
1 of 14
Futuro House being transported through the streets of Todmodern, Yorkshire, England, 1971
Marialovessea

The Futuro House, is a round, pre-fabricated house designed by Matti Suuronen, of which about 100 were built during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The distinctive flying saucer like shape and airplane hatch entrance has made the houses popular among collectors. The Futuro is composed of polyester plastic and fiberglass, measuring about 3 meters high and 8 meters in diameter.

The Futuro house was a product of post-war Finland, reflecting the period's faith in technology, the conquering of space, unprecedented economic growth, and an increase in leisure time. It was designed by Suuronen as a ski cabin that would be “quick to heat and easy to construct in rough terrain.” The end result was a universally transportable home that had the ability to be mass replicated and situated in almost any environment.

Materials

The material chosen for the project – fiberglass reinforced polyester plastic - was familiar to Suuronen and was previously used in the design of a large plastic dome for the roof of a grain silo in Seinäjoki. To facilitate transport, the house consisted of 16 elements that were bolted together to form the floor and the roof. The project could be constructed on site, or dismantled and reassembled on site in two days, or even airlifted in one piece by helicopter to the site. The only necessity on site for its placement were four concrete piers, so the project could occupy nearly any topography. Due to the integrated polyurethane insulation and electric heating system, the house could be heated to a comfortable temperature in only thirty minutes, from -20 to 60 degrees F. An excerpt from a February 1970 copy of Architecture D’Aujourd’Hui describes “Futuro” as: "The first model in a series of holiday homes to be licensed in 50 countries, already mass-produced in the United States, Australia and Belgium. The segments of the elliptic envelope are assembled on the site using a metal footing. Through its shape and materials used, the house can be erected in very cold mountains or even by the sea. The area is 50 sq m, the volume 140 cubic m, divided by adaptable partitions.

Later Life

In 1998 Finnish film director Mika Taanila made a documentary film 'Futuro - A New Stance For Tomorrow about the Futuro house'. In 2010 Finnish conservator Anna-Maija Kuitunen made a damage assessment plan for the first Futuro ever made (serial number 001). This was done as her final thesis for The Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Finland ("Futuro no. 001 – documentation and evaluation of preservation need"). The thesis is openly available via the finnish Thesis-database and contains a large amount of indoor detail photographs and drawings of the Futuro House.

By the mid 1970s the house was taken off the market, arguably due to poor marketing, but primarily due to the Oil Crisis where tripled gasoline prices made manufacture of plastic extremely expensive. It is estimated that today around 50 of the original Futuro homes survive, owned mostly by private individuals. The prototype is in the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, The Netherlands."