The Futuro House was conceived by Matti Suuronen in 1968 as a "portable" ski chalet. It is an iconic piece of architecture and this site is devoted to documenting the history of the Futuro and the current status and whereabouts of the remaining examples.
On 071220 owner Cora posted this video to her Facebook page; the video shows the Futuro on the next stage of its journey.
It seems that this Futuro is on the move though its final destination is not yet 100% certain. In an article titled "Auf dem Weg in den Plänterwald: Ufo landet wieder im Spreepark" or, according to Google Translate "On the way to the Plänterwald: Ufo lands again in the Spreepark" the website Berliner Kurier reports that the Futuro is currently loaded onto a barge awaiting its move to a new location; the barge is moored on the Spree at the Insel der Jugend (or Island of Youth).
The hope is that the Futuro will "return to its roots" and once again be sited back in Spreepark.
The following photos (top to bottom, left to right) are:
The Futuro getting a little clean up before being moved
The Futuro being loaded onto the barge for shipping
Two photos of the Futuro on the barge making the short move to the Insel der Jugend
Four photos of the Futuro on the barge moored at the Insel der Jugend
The first four photos are from owner Cora Geißler's Instagram feed (futuro13berlin) and the remaining photos were posted to Instagram by Dacian Groza.
This rather nice "moody" pair of photos of this Futuro were sent to us recently by captain.lost.
Futuros have featured as the setting for several music videoes over the years. The latest is this video for the track "When I Die" from American band Beirut's 2019 album Gallipoli.
We recently added a copy of the book Rummel im Plänterwald to our collection of "Things Futuro". The book documents the history of Spreepark from its beginnings in 1969 as "Kulturpark Plänterwald" through the change to Spreepark and eventual closure to the modern day.
The book includes four pages about the Futuro and, while we cannot read the German text, the inclusion of park maps for many different years does add one interesting piece of information relating to this Futuro's history.
Through 1996 the Futuro is prominently marked on the park map but from 1997 on it is not visible on the maps at all; in fact one of the parks rides, the Spider, was relocated and on the later maps occupies the space previously occupied by the Futuro. Without being able to read the text in the book we cannot be sure that the park stopped using the Futuro in 1997 but they certainly moved it.
With one exception the photos and drawings in the book are ones we have come across before but there is one that is new to us; this interesting aerial shot from 1994 that offers a view of the Futuro we have not seen before.
We came across this photo a few days ago; it was presumably taken using some kind of filter (though we suppose it could also have been edited "after the fact") and the resulting photo has a very surreal look. The photo is by Fix-Fokus and the original can be found on Flickr here.
We recently added this postcard to our collection of "Things Futuro". The postcard, which features the Berlin Futuro, is undated and unused.
Our original information on this Futuro reads in part:
"After a brief stop at the Hanover Trade Fair of 1968 Futuro #13 was located at Spreepark in Berlin. Originally opened in 1969 and then known as "Kulturpark Plänterwald" the park was the first cultural park in the then German Democratic Republic or, as it was better known to most, East Germany. The intention for the Futuro was that it would serve as the park's radio station - we cannot find anything that indicates whether it did or not."
Based on recent correspondence with Marko Home and some video links Yves Buysse sent us that statement needs to be revised for two reasons: the Hanover Fair reference should be to the Fair of 1969 and Futuro 13 did indeed serve as the "Kulturpark Plänterwald" radio station (see the 040914 update below).
Two videos that can be found on filmothek.bundesarchiv.de (at 6:55) and digit.wdr.de (at 11:28); include footage of two Futuros displayed by pharmaceutical giant Bayer at the 1969 Hanover Fair (one of the videos - the second - can be found below along with stills from both).
One of the units displayed at the 1969 Fair was Futuro 13 (see the 3/2008 issue of Architektur & Wohnen among other sources) and the second was gifted to Charles Wilp, moved to Düsseldorf and ultimately demolished.
Marko Home tells us that the written, non-published memoirs of the Polykem CEO Ensiö Söderström do indicate that Futuro #13 was transported to the East Berlin amusement park from Finland in 1969. There is however no mention of a "stop" at the Hanover Fair but that does not preclude that being the case and there is enough evidence of that "stop" to convince us that it did occur.
This photo, by gotam, appeared on Instagram 110616. The interesting thing about the photo for us was that though (with hindsight) we should have recognized it as this Futuro (in particular the height of the support legs, the entrance steps structure and the color and apparent condition should have given it away) for a little while we were thinking this was a "new" location. However gotam did subsequently confirm this as being a photo of the Berlin Futuro taken from the "back".
Yves Buysse has made many contributions to these pages. This time around Yves shared the photos below which were taken 051416 during a visit to Berlin along with a few links to other items. Thanks Yves!
As with other photos these illustrate the exceptional condition of this Futuro; owner Cora continues to do a superb job of maintaining her Futuro.
These two videos shot at Spreepark both include brief glimpses of the Futuro during its time at the park. In the first video the Futuro appears at around 7:31 and 8:50 and in the second at around 2:28 and 8:08. The first video was shot 102992 and the second 050192.
The following photos are all from owner Cora Geißler's Facebook page "Futuro Haus"; hope you do not mind us sharing them here Cora!
These first two photos date from "way back" with the first giving us a glimpse of the interior of the Futuro complete with DJ from the days when the Futuro served as base for the park's radio broadcasts and the second providing a great external view of the Futuro at the time (the original images are low res so forgive the grainy appearance).
This great photo shows Futuro 13 on a barge on the Spree making its way to its current location.
The photos below all date from 2013 and show restoration work being undertaken. Cora posted the first two photos to Facebook 022513 and the other three on 080113; not sure if they all date from the same "project".
Finally we were interested to see Futuro 13 appear on Yelp of all places recently courtesy of Dietmar K.
The photo below was taken by Elke Hanisch on 092715 (Elke's original post can be found here). The photo is particularly interesting in that it clearly shows a modified window that can be (and is) opened. We do not recall noticing this feature in previous photos (though our memory is not the most reliable so there are probably such photos that we simply do not recall).
While the program was largely about the park in general, the owner's family and their troubles with drugs and the law and the demise of the park Cora Geißler, current owner of the Berlin Futuro, was interviewed for the program and there is a two minute section of audio featuring Cora staring at 8:36. Cora talks in general about the Futuro and also reminisces about its time at Spreepark. She recounts how the Futuro was "home" to the DJ who played the music that was piped throughout the park. The Futuro also became the meeting point for lost children and their parents. Cora tells us that at times the DJ could barely keep up with keeping the music going as so many kids "claimed" to be lost so they could be taken to the Futuro and see the inside.
You can access the audio by going to the Sounds Like Radio page. If you are using an older browser or have trouble getting the audio to play you can access an MP3 file here (click to stream the MP3 to whatever player you have configured or right click to get options to save to your local machine).
This week we added a copy of the 051203 issue (46/03) of German architecture publication Bauwelt to our collection. The magazine contains a four page article on the Futuro House and in particular the Berlin Futuro. The magazine is in German so we cannot read it (one more on the list of things to get translated at some point) but among other photos and diagrams it contains the two photographs below (by Torsten Seidel) which capture the awesome interior of this Futuro as it was at the time.
Also this past week we were sent the photo below - thanks Yves - we did not know which Futuro it was. In a subsequent email Yves pointed out similarities between the height of construction and the trees seen in the photo and in some of the photos of the Futuro at Spreepark and suggested this was perhaps the Berlin Futuro at Spreepark (looking at the apparent age of the photo likely at a time around its arrival at the site).
We knew we had seen the photo before but could not place it and so we began a search through the hundreds of links we have bookmarked since we became the "Futuro Nerds" that we are; we eventually found it on einestages.spiegel.de accompanying an article on the Berlin Futuro. This strongly suggests this is indeed an early photo of the Berlin Futuro.
Sarah Beddington is a British artist and filmmaker; her film "Futuro 13" is an "art film" which features Futuro 13. An excerpt from the file is embedded below; it can also be accessed on Vimeo here.
While we have to confess we are not particularly "arty" individuals we did enjoy this excerpt which, given the accompanying sound track, is strangely haunting; in particular we find the section showing a barge passing by on the Spree as seen from inside the Futuro interesting. Footage starting around the 4 minute mark featuring the Futuro being hoisted by crane for its move from one location on the bank of the Spree to a second location is also rather cool. A screen capture from this section which makes an excellent still shot is also below.
Achim Breiling who has made many a contribution to these pages recently visited Berlin and this Futuro (around 111313); a series of photographs he took during his visit are displayed below.
Achim tells us that the Futuro is situated on the grounds of the ex-GDR Funkhaus Berlin (German - Google translation to English here) and not at Siedlung Wilhelmstrand which is right next the Funkhaus. He goes on to recount how he did in fact first go to Siedlung Wilhelmstrand:
"which is a collection of little gardens and small weekend houses (allotment garden?) and walked near the position of the Futuro, judged from the google satellite view pictures. There was a little road that seemed to pass by the supposed position of the Futuro. The path followed a fence (which I found out separates the Funkhaus area from the allotment) and ended at the river (Spree), at a private boat landing, also locked by a fence and a fence door. Well, then I saw the Futuro, which was some 50 meters on the other side of the Funkhaus fence, behind some trees. That was the nearest one could get to the Futuro from that side. The fence was old and could be moved at one point, and it looked, as if somebody had used that to enter before, but I decided not to enter that way or climb the fence. I rather opted for the official way and walked up to the entrance of the Funkhaus on the other side of the lot in Nalepastraße. Most part of the Funkhaus area looked pretty abandoned, ruined and in bad shape, with partly demolished buildings and overgrown streets."
At the entrance Achim found a doorman who, when asked if it was possible to visit the Futuro, apologized and said that he had been instructed not to let anyone in as the owner was worried about the Futuro being damaged. During the conversation the doorman also mentioned that the Futuro was about to be renovated.
Since he was unable to actually visit the Futuro Achim took a ferry across the river and then walked to a position on the far bank of the river opposite the Futuro from where he was able to take some nice photographs. The Futuro appeared to be in relatively good shape. At the time the Futuro was partially covered; perhaps to get in ready for the winter or maybe in preparation for renovations. During the time Achim was there a man starting working on positioning the cover as seen in one of the photographs.
So at least for the moment it seems the Futuro is somewhat hidden on the grounds of the Funkhaus and is not accessible by the public with no way to get close without permission (or a boat).
As a result of this information from Achim we have revised the address information for the Futuro; it seems the correct address is Nalepastraße 18-50, 12459, Berlin, Germany.
Many thanks for sharing your information and photographs Achim.
This was the closest Achim was able to get to the Futuro without entering private property.
Achim Breiling recently sent us a link to one of the four photos below that show the Berlin Futuro during its time at Spreepark. That prompted us to look for more old photos. You would think that with the Futuro being at a family entertainment park there would be lots of photos on the web - "family day trips" usually generate a lot of photos - the photos here are among the surprisingly few we were able to find.
The photo top right is from bestuff.com - the page is annotated as "created by" nemoflow but we are not sure if this means the photo was taken by nemoflow or uploaded by nemoflow. If you are the owner of this photo please contact us so we can provide appropriate attribution.
The four photos below are (top to bottom, left to right):
By Joachim Spremberg taken 033174. The image is available on Wikipedia (Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-N0331-0028 / Spremberg, Joachim / CC-BY-SA). The original image is held by the German Federal Archives. The photos original caption (Google translation from the original German) was:
"ADN-ZB Spremberg 31.03.1974 Berlin: Sunday fun in Berlin Cultural Park: Round and round the world is ready to hit the bobsled track of the Culture Park in Plänterwald the East German capital Berlin. The warm spring weather attracted thousands of onlookers and "active" in the popular entertainment venue."
From einestages.spiegel.de date unknown. The photograph is captioned (Google translation from the original German):
"Futuro house at the amusement park: The 1969 20th Anniversary of the GDR, East Berlin's cultural park opened, the Futuro house served there as a park radio studio, was sonicated from which the entire park with music."
From the website berliner-spreepark.de and taken by Manuela Baier; date unknown. The photograph is captioned (Google translation from the original German):
"Before there was the Spider, was the UFO, which was encircled by a small children train at this point."
The Berlin Futuro has been used as a set in a German TV show. The TV show is "Terra Max", an educational show for children. A little information about the show can be found on the website nalepastrasse.de (German | English translation by Google Translate here). A couple of photos from the web page are shown below along with a pair of videos; all of these show the Futuro as seen in the TV show.
Google Translate is a great tool but even with that it is not always easy to accurately interpret websites in languages you do not speak. In this case Achim Breiling, who does speak the language, sent us some information about the show. Achim tells us that:
"(the show) is a kind of history program for children and features a boy whose grandfather has invented a time machine. In each episode they transport some historic person into the present. They ask him questions, show him the future and then we are told many things about this person and (his) time."
Achim goes on to explain that:
"they use (the Berlin) Futuro as the place where the time machine is located. It is the future house (in which) the grandfather, a kind of mad scientist, lives and works."
The Futuro serves as a backdrop for many scenes and the interior has been staged as the "mad scientist's laboratory". Cora Geißler, the Futuro's owner, works on the series as "Requisiteurin" (Property Mistress according to Google Translate) which could help explain how the Futuro ended up with its role in the TV series.
manuela.martin posted a really awesome set of four black and whites of the Berlin Futuro on Flickr. The images were taken 062412 (which becomes the confirmed date for this Futuro). These images are displayed here with Manuela's permission. Thank you Manuela.
Futuro 013 has been relocated to a position around 1000 feet south of the location we had previously reported. At the time we originally added this page to the site the latest satellite imagery available in Google Earth was dated 050406. Imagery now available in Google Earth dated 123108 places the Futuro at the new location. The latest imagery in Google Earth places the Futuro still on site at the new location as of 082010. Based on the same Google Earth imagery we can place the move somewhere between 050406 and 123108.
Old Cordinates | 52°28'53.12"N 13°29'50.45"E
Old Cordinates | 52°28'53.12"N 13°29'50.45"E
This capture from Google Maps shows both locations (Green Arrow old location | White arrow new location).
This is a screenshot from Google Earth taken when the Futuro was still at the old site.
Finally this is a screenshot from Bing Maps 072212 showing Futuro 013 on the new site south of the previous location.
Original Information 091311
After a brief stop at the Hanover Trade Fair of 1968 Futuro #13 was located at Spreepark in Berlin. Originally opened in 1969 and then known as "Kulturpark Plänterwald" the park was the first cultural park in the then German Democratic Republic or, as it was better known to most, East Germany. The intention for the Futuro was that it would serve as the park's radio station - we cannot find anything that indicates whether it did or not. In 1989 the park was updated and a new operating contract was awarded to Spreepark Berlin GmbH in 1991. From 1989 to 2001 the park was known as Spreepark Berlin. In 2001 following financial problems the park became insolvent and shortly after being abandoned it began to fall into a state of disrepair.
The current owner, Cora Geißler, found "#13" in a junkyard at the abandoned site in 2002, purchased it and had it moved to its current location on the banks of the Spree where it is used as a vacation home (we believe - a blog post - in Italian according to Google Translate - described it as a "dacha" which is a Russian word for a second, or vacation, home - seems odd to find an Italian article using a Russian word to describe a German home but it's a funny old world sometimes).
"Discovered I had the enchanted object in a walk through the deserted theme park in the eastern Berlin district of Treptow, in the junkyard of a former amusement park: an entity like a flying saucer of about eight meters in diameter, elliptical in outline and oval windows, in addition to high stilts standing, which also awarded him the impression of a lunar module.
I had discovered something special, that much was clear to me immediately. To rescue the idea of ??the fascinating object from its surroundings sad, since I did not go away. Could you make it into an ice-cream, with ice cream in the most vivid colors imaginable: wild ideas circling in my head? A cafe on the banks of the Spree, hungry for boat trippers on their way to Müggelseedamm? But one thing was quite clear to me: I wanted to save this UFO."
Note: the quote is a Google Translate version from the original German.
The article is well worth a read and not only speaks to Cora's passion for "#13" but also provides some interesting history, details of the move and some information about the restoration. The article ends by indicating that you can email Futuro13@berlin.de to inquire about visiting the fully restored "#13".
It seems that there is at least one group of people who have ambitions pertaining to "#13". In a Huffington Post article Argentinean artist Agustina Woodgate, one of a group attempting to breathe new life into the abandoned park, indicates that a goal of the group is to bring the Futuro back to the park; bring "#13" home if you like. It will be interesting to see if they achieve this given Cora Geißler's seeming passion for the Futuro.
Several photos and a video can be found below.
First up is a short video taken from a boat on the Spree River.
We don't often use Bing Maps but on this occaision since there was no Street View in Google Maps we took a look. There was actually a really nice "Bird's Eye" view there so we grabbed this screen shot.