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.
Given the lack of the trees and shrubs seen around the Futuro in other photos it seems likely this photo was taken early on in the short life of this unit.
Also interesting was a comment on the post by Andrew King in which he posted this cool aerial imagery from 1974 which precisely places the Futuro at the southern end of Lambell Terrace, Darwin (12°27'16.59"S 130°49'41.51"E).
The exterior photo of the Futuro included in the supplement was a shot that included two vehicles; an MG TC and a Valiant Charger (the photo is very similar to this shot in which the Futuro is seen with the Valiant Charger and a VW Beetle). The MG TC outlasted the Futuro by decades; Richard Townley actually purchased the MG TC from Dermoudy in 1975 and has owned it to this day. The second shot below shows the MG TC as it is today.
These two photos by Ramon Williams show this Futuro pre and post Cyclone Tracy, they are somewhat similar to other shots we have seen previously but to self-confessed Futuro "nerds" there can never be too many Futuro photos. The photos are copyright the Northern Territory Library, Australia.
Dermoudy's Futuro was located on a hill in Darwin's northern suburbs for just three years until it was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy. Though not of his own design of course the Futuro was perhaps the most well known of the structures Dermoudy owned over the years with Dermoudy recalling that:
"... it came onto the tourist scene (and) everybody had to go see this mad architect's house."
Dermoudy's Futuro arrived in Darwin in sections after a cross country truck journey and he likened assembling it to "putting an orange back together". The fireplace was not installed but Dermoudy did decide to keep a "space" theme and eventually modified the Futuro with a space-ship inspired kitchen and bathroom, beds with floating lights and ultraviolet wallpaper which glowed at night.
Dermoudy's final modification was an air-conditioning unit set to turn on for 10 minutes every hour which he recalls:
"... kept the power bills down to "a quarter of that of a normal Darwin home."
The Futuro became both tourist attraction and local icon and over the few years it was in Darwin it hosted such widely disparate events as a tea party for the Australian Symphony Orchestra and LSD-binges for groups of friends.
In 1974 Cyclone Tracy ravaged the Darwin area and the Futuro was sliced in half by the storm. Dermoudy donated it to the army; its subsequent fate is unknown but it is presumed to be no longer in existence.
The photos below are from Peter Dermoudy and accompanied Emilia's article. Two show the Futuro in its "heyday" and the third is a shot of the unit post Cyclone Tracy.
Original Information 073112
In the early 1970's there was a Futuro located in Larrakeyah, Darwin, Australia near the site of the old Darwin Hospital, Larrakeyah.
Though it may have been a pure coincidence and nothing to do with the presence of the Futuro a May 2004 Cinema Program called "Experimenta House Of Tomorrow" featured a "documentary on the Finnish designed Futuro Home of the 1960s" as part of a program titled "Utopian Promises". A copy of a flyer for the event can be found here.
The image below was taken August 1974. Within months of the picture being taken the Futuro would be destroyed. The second image below is courtesy of FuturoHouse.com and was taken around the same time.
Over the course of Christmas Eve into Christmas Day 1974 the city of Darwin was devastated by Cyclone Tracy. Wikipedia has this to say about Cyclone Tracy:
"Tracy killed 71 people, caused $837 million in damage (1974 AUD) and destroyed more than 70 percent of Darwin's buildings, including 80 percent of houses. Tracy left more than 41,000 out of the 47,000 inhabitants of the city homeless prior to landfall and required the evacuation of over 30,000 people."
The Darwin Futuro was among the casualties of Tracy and given the catastrophic nature of the storm on the city it is hardly surprising that the Futuro was not recovered/repaired and so, although there is no documented evidence stating for certain that the Futuro was demolished/destroyed it is almost certain that that is what happened.
The Northern Territory Library has two archived images of the Futuro taken after the passing of Tracy; these can be seen below. It is clear from the pictures that the Futuro was very badly damaged; in the second picture note how far the upper section has been thrown from the partial base of the Futuro which can be seen above the roof section almost dead center in the photo - that certainly gives at least an idea of the level of violence tracy unleashed on the city of Darwin.
In July 2016 we were fortunate enough to be able to take a vacation to Europe. The primary destinations were England and Switzerland but we were able to squeeze in a quick road trip through Germany to visit this "half" Futuro along with the Futuros in Taunusstein, Niedernhausen and Haigerloch.
The photographs below were taken 072616. While on site we were able to visit with the owner briefly who confirmed that the unit had, as we had previously thought, come from Expotechnik, owners of the Taunusstein Futuro.
While visiting Taunusstein Expotechnik also confirmed this fact as well as also telling me that the units were not manufactured under license in Germany, as we had always assumed, but were in fact imported from Finland. For more see the Taunusstein page.
Yves Buysse visited the "half Futuro" on 021515 and took this photo. Interesting to note something that we at least had not noticed before; that there is a door in one of the sections. It appears to be bolted, and perhaps welded, shut and it is not visible inside the unit. Yves' original photo can be found on Flickr here.
In looking through some old emails we found something we had missed at the time and should have added here. It seems that this "half" Futuro was donated by the company Expotechnik Holding GmbH & Co. KG. For more information see the Taunusstein Futuro page.
The confirmed date for this "half" Futuro can now be updated to 072812. Achim Breiling aka "futurohunter" visited the site and took these photos 072812. Thank you for sharing them Achim!
Looking at the Google Maps "Street View" of Birminghamstraße 119, 65934 Frankfurt am Main, Germany (50°6'1.19"N 8°34'45.65"E - imagery dated July 2008) and the photo (from Jugendhaus Frankfurt - Nied) below you could be forgiven for thinking that what we have here is a Futuro House partially enclosed within a more conventional building; that is certainly the thought we initially had.
As we started our standard research process we fully expected to be adding this location to the list of "confirmed" Futuro House locations. However, as it turns out, what is actually on site at this location is only part of a Futuro House integrated with a conventional building and as such we feel it rightfully belongs in the "Demolished or Destroyed" category.
To us any Futuro that is lost is sad but at least in this case a part remains and that part is serving a positive purpose as a part of a Youth Center; the Jugendhaus Frankfurt - Nied (website is in German - English translation here).
The two pictures below (from Jugendhaus Frankfurt - Nied) show the view from the inside. You can clearly see the joins between the sections of the Futuro; it appears that 8 of the original 16 sections have been used. We have no idea what became of the remainder of the unit or where it was located when it was a complete unit; if you have any information about this please let us know.
Barney Vincelette, owner and long time resident of the Houston Futuro sent us an email a few days ago in which he was able to shed some light on Broadkill by confirming there were two Futuros there in the 1970's; one was demolished and the other moved to Milton. Barney tells us that:
"In 1977, there were two Futuro Houses on Broadkill Beach, the yellow house, which was destroyed by the man who bought it because he bought it for the land and replaced the Futuro House with some sort of double-wide trailer, and to the North was the blue Futuro House. The blue Futuro House was moved to Eaglecrest airstrip and both the house and the air strip are owned by Joe Hudson, who sold me my Futuro in 1977."
Barney goes on to add that the Milton Futuro, originally blue, was first painted with a blue oil based urethane paint that did not hold up well which is why it was later painted white. Barney's Futuro was also originally blue when it was on display at 5 Points in Lewes, DE in the early 1970's.
As indicated below we have never been able to establish whether this Futuro was located on Broadkill Beach or Rehoboth beach. An email we received this week from Maryanne Kirtley suggests Broadkill. Maryanne writes:
"I grew up in Broadkill Beach and remember these very well!! The one you say was demolished was Yellow :) If I also remember, there was a sales office on RT 1 South on the way to Rehoboth."
We also learn that the unit was finished in yellow. If that is the case our suggestion (below) that one of the "Zippy The Pinhead" cartoons found on the "Bits & Pieces" page depicts the demolished Broadkill Futuro is likely incorrect since the cartoon depicts a blue Futuro.
The cartoon dates from the early 2000's and while we know that the color of the Milton Futuro closely approximates that seen in the cartoon we also know that while Milton was originally located around Broadkill it was moved in the 1970's to its current location. The cartoon does however illustrate a beach location so it is clearly not depicting Milton. Perhaps it is an illustration of the Milton unit in its original location?
Maryanne also mentions a sales office which is the first reference we have heard of to this particular use. If anyone has any more information please let us know.
Thanks for the information Maryanne!
Original Information 012613
In a post in the Yahoo Group futurohouse dated 010513 Barney Vincelette, owner of the Houston Futuro, recounted how a Futuro located on Broadkill Beach, DE had been "destroyed to make room for a more "sociably acceptable" trailer" a few years ago.
Despite spending a significant amount of time in Google Search and Google Maps and scouring Google Earth satellite imagery from various historical dates we have not been able to find any specific location, information or photos of a Futuro in that location.
In the course of our research we did come across a few references to a Futuro on Rehoboth Beach, DE (which is only 17 or so miles from Broadkill by road - see Google Map below) including one on the website futuro-house.net. Given the imprecise nature of some Futuro reports it is entirely possible these references are to same unit. Having said that what references there are always seem to lead back to photos of the Milton Futuro which is some 8 miles or so inland from the coast at Broadkill.
One additional mention of a Futuro on Broadkill comes in the form of a cartoon; this page on the "Zippy the Pinhead" website mentions a 070201 published cartoon referenced as "Futuro home Broadkill Beach, DE". In the "Bits & Pieces" section of this site there are three "Zippy the Pinhead" cartoons; we believe this is the middle one of the three (the color one) which appears to actually have been published twice as this page dates it to 022209. Whatever the date there is a clear reference to a Futuro on Broadkill Beach.
Despite the lack of "conclusive" evidence of a Futuro on Broadkill (or for that matter Rehoboth) we are classifying this Futuro as being destroyed rather than lost based on the source of the information; we have always taken the view that the most reliable source of information on Futuro's is probably the owner's of Futuro's.
If you know anything about this Futuro, perhaps exactly where it was located, or know of any photos of it please let us know.
911 Van Buren Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21403, USA
Chris Barbuschak sent us the photo below which shows this Futuro during its time in Annandale, VA. The photo was found in a collection of photographs recently donated to the Fairfax County Public Library by the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs. Great photo thanks for sharing it Chris.
In the May 1972 issue of Photo Marketing Magazine there is an article about a Futuro; the F/Stop Camera Shop in Annandale, VA. The article includes some background on the Futuro along with several photographs.
The photographs suggest that this camera shop may well have been the Futuro that arrived in Annapolis in the 1980's. Take a look at the F/Stop photographs and Lawrence's photo of Annapolis below. Note the shape of the arched entrance structure, the fact that the support strut to the right appears to pass through the entrance structure and the extent to which the entrance structure obscures one of the windows. All of these details are common to both the F/Stop Camera Shop and the Annapolis Futuro and, at least to us, suggest strongly that these are one and the same Futuro.
The "Myths & Legends Page" contains an entry for a Futuro reputed to have been located on Tyler Ave, Annapolis, MD. In an email received this week Lawrence confirmed that there was indeed a Futuro in Annapolis during the 1980's & 1990's. The Futuro was located at 911 Van Buren Street, Annapolis, MD 21403 (38°57'41.03"N 76°29'31.39"W) on a lot that was between Van Buren and Tyler Ave so this is almost certainly the Futuro reported to be located on Tyler. Lawrence also sent us the photo shown below of the Futuro as it was sometime during the period 1993-1995.
In Lawrences's own words:
"one of those Futuro houses ended up in our neighborhood in Annapolis, Maryland, sometime in the 80s. It was demolished at some point in the late 90s or 00s."
Lawrence goes on the recount how:
"When the spaceship arrived, me and the neighborhood kids checked it out. The old man that had the spaceship open let us peek inside, but there was nothing to really look at, because the interior was gutted and/or unfinished. He said he intended to make the spaceship a playground for children. After all those years however, the interior was never remodeled (it had some exterior cosmetic changes), and then it was demolished."
Google Earth historical satellite imagery allows us to confirm the exact location of the Futuro. While the imagery is by no means perfect the sequence of screenshots below from Google Earth is clear enough to show that the Futuro arrived on the site sometime prior to 041989 and that it was demolished sometime between 040794 and 123101. The screenshots show the satellite imagery of the site from 041989, 040794 and 123101 (top to bottom). The 041989 imagery is the earliest available and the Futuro is onsite at that time, it remains on site on 040794 but it is gone by 123101.
Our thanks to Lawrence for the information and for the photograph.
Sources & Reference
Chris Barbuschak | Fairfax County Public Library
4378 Pleasantview Rd, Harbor Springs, Michigan, USA
"There was one (Futuro House) in Harbor Springs Mi... Not sure its still there though. Was on Pleasantview Rd I believe."
We did find a possibility in Google Earth at 4378 Pleasantview Rd, Harbor Springs, MI 49740 (45°29'22.27"N 84°54'54.53"W). In the screenshot below (satellite imagery dated 050794) there is a round object at those coordinates that is approximately 25' in diameter out front of a building, most likely a residence.
There is nothing about the imagery that is clear enough to confirm the object was a Futuro but equally there is nothing about the imagery that could definitively show that the object was not a Futuro. The object is not present in later imagery in Google Earth dating from 042798.
On balance we decided at that time to call this a "possible" Futuro; we had never come across any other mention of a Futuro at this location and the Google Earth imagery did not seem conclusive.
Later however Mike Seaborne contacted us and told us that his father had owned a Futuro in Harbor Springs back in the 1970's and then, in a later email, he added that his father had confirmed that his Futuro had been located on the west side of Pleasantview Rd. This matched exactly with the Google Earth imagery and thus confirmed both the presence of Futuro in Harbor Springs and its exact location.
Mike told us that the Futuro was in Harbor Springs as late as 1979, the last time he visited, but that he did not know when it was actually removed from the site. That said the Google Earth imagery suggests the Futuro was removed from the site sometime between 050794 and 042798. As a result of this correspondence we added this Futuro to the "Lost Souls" page.
This past week we received and email from Sandra who wrote:
"I spent many fun days at my grandparents Futuro in Harbor Springs, Michigan."
and in later correspondence Sandra added
"The Futuro was owned by my grandparents Bill and Sandra Kalchik. My grandfather purchased it for my grandmother as an anniversary present. About 10 years ago maybe a bit longer it went into the junk yard in pieces because the snow had collapsed part of it."
It is not entirely clear whether this was the same Futuro, Sandra told us she did not know Mike Seaborne or his family, but it seems unlikely that there were two Futuros in Harbor Springs so perhaps Bill Kalchik purchased the Futuro from Mike Seaborne's father. If so then presumably it was purchased sometime between 050794 and 042798, relocated and then later sent to the junk yard sometime around 2005.
So, based on Sandra's information this Futuro has now completed its journey from "Myths & Legends" through "Lost Souls" to, sadly, being added to this page that lists Demolished Futuros.
The article reports that the Futuro was moved by road and delivered to Cox Ave, Harvey Cedars on 050572. The journey was somewhat challenging and at one point the truck had to be rerouted due to the lack of about three inches necessary to clear an overpass.
The article does also provide a little additional information not specific to the "transport" reporting that the unit contained two bedrooms and two bathrooms, was fully furnished and air conditioned and cost about $25000. A spokesman for the Futuro Corporation indicated that it complied with all relevant building regulations and added that there were many such homes along the eastern seaboard and as far west as California. Not too sure about how accurate that particular assertion was.
The article was accompanied by two photos. Notable in the first photo is the "straight" section of the Futuro that was added between two regular halves to provide the "stretch". It is captioned:
"House movers put their backs into the job as they strain to help sign on Garden State Parkway entrance out of way of flying saucer-shaped house being transported from Pleasantville to Harvey Cedars."
The second photo is a rather nice head on shot of the truck which illustrates very well how much wider the Futuro was than the truck that was carrying it.
Jenny Ruess unearthed another, much clearer, photo of this Futuro. Jenny's original photograph can be found on Facebook where she comments:
"here's another (photo) of the spaceship house in Harvey Cedars - this is more than likely a picture I took with my instamatic in '81/'82 from our deck stairs.
If there was previously any doubt this photo, for us at least, definitively confirms that this was indeed an example of the Futuro II-X.
An additional "straight" section of the unit can clearly be seen inserted between two hemispherical sections. The Futuro II-X plans indicate that the additional section was 10' in length. The photo shows that the additional section included two windows per side and this would correlate with the length of the section being 10' (a standard Futuro has a radius of approximately 13' which gives a circumference of just over 80'; with 16 windows that is 2 windows per 10' which is exactly what is seen in the "straight" section in this photo).
Original Information 021515
One of the most interesting discoveries we made going through The Charles Cleworth Futuro House Archive (an archive of historical documents and other Futuro related items donated to TheFuturoHouse.com to be catalogued and preserved) was the pair architectural drawings of the Futuro II-X seen below. The Futuro II-X was, for want of a better phrase, a "stretched" Futuro with the longer dimension being 36'. There was no evidence in the archive of such a Futuro ever actually being manufactured nor for that matter had we ever come across any such evidence elsewhere, not even a rumor; that is - until now!
Then Doug Easterly contacted us and pointed us to a couple of photos posted to Facebook by Vickie Ruess. Our thanks to Doug for contacting us and to Vickie for kindly allowing us to display her photos here. The original photos on Facebook can be found here and here.
We were immediately very interested in the photos because they were of a Futuro located at 3 Cox Ave, Harvey Cedars, New Jersey which was a Futuro location we had not come across before. Based on the comments on the Facebook posts it appears that the Futuro was probably there from the early 70's through the early 80's and, while there is a comment suggesting it was removed, it appears that the majority recollection is that it was demolished.
The first photo is unremarkable but then we had to do a "double take" on the second. The Futuro as seen in the second photograph is, unless there is some something extremely bizarre going on with the photograph, quite simply not round and thus completely unlike any other Futuro we have ever seen.
That said what it does look like is the Futuro II-X seen in the plans; the number of windows appears to be about right (it is a little hard to be absolutely certain given the angle of the shot and the curvature of the Futuro at either end) and the general size and shape, at least to us, appears to match.
The Futuro II-X plans were found in a New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. marketing package; that company was a reseller of Futuros manufactured by the Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia and, based on these photos, we have to conclude that the Philadelphia company did actually manufacture at least one of the "stretched" Futuro II-X models. Unfortunately it also seems that the unit was subsequently demolished. But - if there was one then perhaps there were more!
Sources & Reference
Puzzle Park, Murray Bridge, Australia
Sam sent us a link to this great photo of the "partial" Futuro at Puzzle Park; thanks Sam. The photo is copyright Matt Philips Imagery and the original can be found on Facebook here.
Our first reaction to the photo was amazement at the freakish similarity of parts of the structure to a Futuro House. However, on looking more closely at Dave Walsh's photo, some Futuro House photos and Google Earth we are of the opinion that what we see here does not just exhibit a "similarity" to a Futuro House; it actually is 8 of the 16 sections of a Futuro House (some only partial) that have been used to create the shelter type structure seen in the photo.
The image below is from Google Earth (35°9'14.16"S 139°17'7.93"E); the satellite imagery is from 110510 and clearly shows this structure. It looks for all the world like a Futuro House and using the "ruler" tool in Google Earth we find that it is the right size for a Futuro House. Google Earth historical satellite imagery for this location is available as far back as 010902 and confirms that the structure has been in place since at least that date.
There are many photographs of Futuro House sections; take a look at the two below and note the similarity between the sections in the Puzzle Park structure and the Futuro House sections.
The first photo is courtesy of Nick McQuoid and shows his Kaimaumau Futuro as it was disassembled prior to relocation (Nick - any hint as to where it is going yet?) and the second photo, courtesy of the XXO Facebook Page, shows the Saint-Ouen Futuro during a similar deconstruction.
For us there is no doubt that the Puzzle park structure is constructed with actual sections of a Futuro House; the shape and profile is the same, the size is the same, the edges of the sections look the same and the sections are slightly off vertical at the bottom below the windows in each case.
If these are not original sections of a Futuro House then someone went "above and beyond" to create something that exactly replicated those sections and frankly we cannot imagine anyone doing that just to construct this shelter. It is far more likely that someone came across the sections of the Futuro House and figured this would be a cool way to use them.
What we have is of course only part of a Futuro. It could be what remains of a known demolished or destroyed Futuro (the only Australian Futuro absolutely confirmed as destroyed was the Larrakeyah, Darwin unit that was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974) or it could be part of a different "lost/destroyed" unit, perhaps the second of the two once located in Scoresby; it could even be that at one point some extra Futuro House sections were made, maybe as spares or replacement parts, and they somehow ended up in Puzzle Park.
As is so often the case with things "Futuro" the facts are obscure and unclear; we would love to know more so please contact us if you have any information about this interesting structure.
Owners of the Futuro, Präsentation und Medientechnik GmbH, added a few notes to the company website relating to the temporary relocation of their Futuro for this event and included in that information was a statement that the company had actually acquired two Futuros in the early 1970's.
P&M's president, Oswin Appelmann, tells us that this second Futuro was completely destroyed in a fire.
Sources & Reference
Oswin Appelmann, President P&M
Wittlaer, Düsseldorf, Germany
In the last update to this section (032517) we added a note that we had received information that suggested that this Futuro, though widely reported as having been "wrapped" in the early 1970's by Christo & Jeanne-Claude, was never actually "wrapped".
Subsequent to that we were able to make contact with a representative of Christo & Jeanne-Claude who confirmed that while Christo did create a collage of a "Wrapped Futuro House" it was only a preparatory collage for a possible project and that the project itself, the actual "wrapping" of the Futuro never actually took place.
Based on information contained in the book "Futuro - Tomorrow's House From Yesterday" edited by Marko Home and Mika Taanila we had previously identified this Futuro as having been gifted to Wilp by pharmaceutical giant Bayer following the 1971 "Holiday Building Exhibition" held in Iserlohn, Germany. The book also contained this photograph identified as depicting the two Futuros displayed by Bayer at the exhibition.
Recently however Yves Buysse sent us links to a couple of videos which suggest that in fact the two Futuros exhibited by Bayer and seen in the photo were actually displayed at the 1969 Hanover Fair and not at Iselohn in 1971. The videos can be found on filmothek.bundesarchiv.de (Futuros at 6:55) and digit.wdr.de (Futuros at 11:28); both are clearly identified as having been shot at the 1969 Hanover Fair and both clearly show the location identified as Iserlohn in the Home and Taanila book.
The second of the two videos is embedded below and the two photos below that are stills from the videos.
In subsequent correspondence Marko Home tells us that his best recollection is that the photo in the book came from one of the former Polykem employees and that the information that it was taken at the Iserlohn "Holiday Building Exposition" in 1971 was written on the back of the photo. It seems that information was almost certainly incorrect.
A further update to previous information relates to the "wrapping" of this Futuro by Christo. Based primarily on this photo we had included reference below to the Futuro having been "wrapped" at some point though we had always found it odd that we could not find other photos; Christo's projects appear in many books and magazines and yet this particular one was notable only for its absence.
Some time ago Yves Buysse visited Futuro #13 in Berlin and Yves tells us that during his visit owner Cora Geißler told him that while parts of the interior of Wilp's Futuro were "wrapped" for a Christo project the Futuro itself was never actually "wrapped"; the photo was actually a "sketch" depicting a possible project.
Original Information 101913
Charles Wilp (1932-2005) was a prominent German advertising mogul, artist and photographer. By all accounts he was a "larger than life" and perhaps eccentric character and he certainly made his mark on the advertising scene, perhaps most notably with his 1968 Afri-Cola campaign.
Not that they actually have anything to do with the Futuro House but rather because they are simply interesting the two videos below show a broadcast version of a Wilp Afri-Cola commercial and some unpublished alternative footage.
Among many "claims to fame" Wilp was the owner of a Futuro House which was located on the roof of his Wittlaer, Germany residence. Out on the good old web there seems to be some confusion, misinformation and conflicting reports surrounding the history of Wilp's Futuro but there is, for us, one source of information more reliable than most and that would be the iconic book "Futuro - Tomorrow's House From Yesterday" edited by Marko Home and Mika Taanila.
According to Home & Taanila Wilp's Futuro House was a gift from the pharmaceutical giant Bayer who co-sponsored the 1971 "Holiday Building Exhibition" held in Iserlohn, Germany. Bayer provided the chemical materials to construct the Futuro and, at the end of the exhibition, gave the Futuro to Wilp who then transported it to Wittlaer and, after reinforcing the concrete roof of his house with steel, placed it on top of his residence.
The photo above left shows the Futuro at the Iserlohn Exhibition and the two photos below show the Futuro located on the roof of Wilp's residence in Wittlaer (the photos are reproduced from our copy of the Home & Taanila book).
During the decade or so the Futuro House was located in Wittlaer Wilp and his Futuro were visited by a variety of stars and VIP's; the first of the two images below from Home & Taanila's book shows a few of them. From left to right they are Andy Warhol & Arthur Paul, Claes Oldenburg, Linda McGill and Rory Flynn (with Wilp).
In addition the Futuro was at one point "wrapped" by artist Christo; the second of the two images below shows the Futuro "wrapped" along with a shot of Christo working on the project.
The presence of the Futuro on the roof of Wilp's residence was a source of angst for the local authorities and in 1983 they finally forced him to remove it. According to Home & Taanila:
"The house was by then in such weathered condition that Wilp had to take it to a wasteland to rot."
Hence the sad inclusion of Wilp's Futuro on this page of demolished Futuros.
Considering Wilp's fame and prominent place in society there seem to be surprisingly few photos and a lack of information about his Futuro. One of the best photographs of the few we have seen is this one, courtesy of the website Merian.de (German text | Google translation to English here). The text accompanying this photo indicates that the Christo "wrapping" of the Futuro took place in 1973 though this date cannot be confirmed elsewhere and there are mentions of it being in 1970. The actual date is unclear.
Another of our favorite photographs of Wilp's Futuro is courtesy of the website Express.de (German text | Google translation to English here).
The article accompanying this photograph recounts one of the most often referenced "rumors" surrounding Wilp's Futuro; that after being removed from Wittlaer:
"the UFO also served as a chill space for researchers in the Arctic."
This is however purely rumor and there is no evidence to support this. Perhaps the rumor got started when people referenced the photo above left which shows Wilp at the top superimposed above a photograph of a Futuro on a mountain slope surrounded by snow; this Futuro however is the Dombai Futuro. The rumor may have gained more traction as people erroneously linked the story to reports and photos of Futuros in the Arctic; those actually referred to the "Googies" which are commonly reported to be Futuros but are actually something completely different.
Two other interesting photographs can be found not on the web but rather in the book Dazzledorf; they show Wilp with his Futuro and a large group of "house guests" and the Futuro as "wrapped" by Christo. The images below are taken from our copy of the book.
As is mentioned earlier Bayer gifted Wilp his Futuro House. Bayer also used a Futuro House in the ad seen below. The ad is not actually for the Futuro House but it uses the Futuro to promote their plastics. Achim Breiling who sent us the photo (thanks Achim) tells us the headline reads "If you see this holiday home in an astronaut look ... remember Bayer".
"Take the Richard Meier house along Jalan Bukit Pantai in Bangsar, KL... it's a house but at first glance it looks like an office building.... does it matter? Does it make it any less of a house to its owner? Hell, he wanted Richard Meier to design his house and he got what he wanted! Does it effect the sensitivities of the yuppies who travel up and down that road every day? Does it effect its neighbours (one of whom has a UFO perched on its front lawn)?"
A look at the Richard Meier Website gave us an idea of what the referenced house (commissioned 1997 and completed 2003) looked like and so it was off to Google Earth to see what we could find. Though the imagery is not particularly clear having an idea of what the Meier House looked like together with the name of the street, Jalan Bukit Pantai, and the fact that the Futuro was located on a neighbor's property allowed us to establish that the location of the Futuro was 3°7'30.82"N 101°39'58.24"E despite the poor satellite imagery.
The screenshots below are from Google Earth. The first from imagery dated 010601 shows what we believe to be the Futuro. Though the imagery resolution is poor as an added level of confidence the "ruler" tool indicates the size of the object is correct. In addition the site is just to the north west of the Meier House (still under construction at the time - completed 2003) which qualifies it as a neighbor.
The second shot is based on satellite imagery dated 021504; the Futuro is gone, land to the north west of the house has been cleared and the building on site has clearly changed; not entirely sure if what we see is the old not yet completely demolished or the new under construction.
The final view is the latest from imagery dated 040610 and this clearly shows the new property that was constructed with the Futuro long gone.
So it seems pretty clear that the Futuro is no longer there; but was it moved or demolished? Mainly as a result of searching for information on C.T. Doshi (complicated by the fact that the original reference in the newsgroup was to C.J. Doshi) the answer was tracked down in a 2003 article by Dennis Chua in the Malay Mail. The article is accessible via AccessMyLibrary.com and it confirms demolition of the Futuro as well as providing the following information:
The Futuro was indeed on the Jalan Bukit Pantai property of (the late) C. T. Doshi which was completed in 1973 and demolished 2003.
At the time of the visit by the articles author to the site all that was left standing on the site:
"... was the futuristic guest house which the tycoon, who died in 1996, introduced to Malaysians in conjunction with City Day in 1972."
The Futuro House was imported from Australia in 1972.
The unit was exhibited by Doshi at the Enviro 2000 exhibition on futuristic living at Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka to commemorate City Day in 1972 before being placed on the Jalan Bukit Pantai property.
The property was sold by the Doshi family in the mid 1900's and it has changed hands at least one more time since then.
The author of the article was unable to contact the current (at that time) property owner for comment.
The article concluded with the following:
"Monuments exist to remind us of our history, and their preservation cannot necessarily stand in the way of development."
"Landmark house built by Doshi is now ..." Asia Africa Intelligence Wire. 2003.
Retrieved August 02, 2012 from accessmylibrary:
We are not entirely sure we agree with the author's sentiment; we believe monuments must be preserved and development can more often than not take place somewhere else. We do concede that what could be open for interpretation and is largely subjective would be what does and does not constitute a "monument" that ought to be preserved - our opinion is that the Futuro House does.
In early July 2019 Tampa Bay Times journalist Gabrielle Calise contacted us regarding an article on the Tampa Futuro she was researching. Always happy to "talk Futuro" (we doubt that would come as a surprise to anyone) a few days later we chatted for quite sometime about the Futuro, its history and about the Tampa Futuro(s) in particular.
The article essentially confirms what was already known about this Futuro. The story starts with Jerry DeLong, a mobile home salesman who started the company Futuro Of Florida in the early 1970's. A Futuro was installed in Clearwater, Florida as a "display model" (that particular unit is now the Tampa Futuro) and Gwendolyn Zerby visited the display model and decided to purchase a Futuro.
The Futuro was fully furnished and priced at $18,000; in March 1971 it was delivered by road to the site on the southwest corner of Semmes and Juneau streets in Tampa back when, as Gabrielle describes it, "the Sulphur Springs neighborhood still had dirt roads and orange groves".
The Futuro was transported to the location on a flatbed by Futuro Of Florida's Jerry DeLong. Bruce DeLong, Jerry's son was able to provide Gabrielle with two great photos of the event. The photos are displayed here courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times and Bruce DeLong.
Gwendolyn Zerby sadly passed in 1979 and following that the Futuro was sold to an apparently rather colorful couple. The Tampa Bay Times article recounts that:
"One of them was an Ybor City drag performer known as Candy Kiss who used the space to sew costumes and throw frequent parties. When the retractable door stopped retracting, they built a fence to keep intruders out."
The couple eventually left for California and the Futuro sat empty and started to deteriorate. By the end of the 90's the Futuros condition had deteriorated significantly and it was covered in graffiti. The city deemed it a fire hazard and a public nuisance and demolished it.
It is often reported that Gwendolyn Zerby imported her Futuro from Finland which is not the case. There are many references that indicate the Futuro was not one of the Finnish models (and photos show the entrance located directly below one of the windows, a clear sign of US manufacture). A Tampa Times article published on 040971 provides what is likely an accurate history of the Futuro which does not include any mention of import from Finland.
"... aqua blue saucer, 26 feet in diameter and priced at $18,000, was trucked down from its manufacturing plant and set up as a model in Clearwater in November. To Mrs. Zerby, a 69 year old widow and resident of Dunedin for the past 15 years, the air tight, maintenance-free and apparently burglar-proof home seemed ideally suited to her needs."
The Tampa Bay Times is published in St. Petersburg, Florida. It has a long history having been around since the end of the 1800's. The newspaper was called the St. Petersburg Times until 2011.
The 050396 issue of the publication carried a feature titled "Seven Wonders Of Tampa". The Futuro House actually made this feature twice with this Futuro and Dale Mabry Road being listed at 2 and 5 respectively.
The article, as is the case with many Futuro articles, contained inaccuracies. In the case of this Futuro it is one of those articles that suggested Gwendolyn Zerby imported it from Finland. It also reports that Mrs. Zerby flew to Finland to purchase her Futuro in 1965, a full three years before the first Futuro was manufactured. Following the death of Mrs. Zerby in 1979 the Futuro was sold and by the time the Tampa Bay times article was published it was in decline. It would of course later be demolished.
There is more information about the second Futuro mentioned in the article on the "Tampa Futuro" page.
This short "drive by" video of the Semmes St. Futuro was recently sent to us by Richard who came across the clip on Facebook; thanks Richard.
This photo was sent to us a few days ago by Linda Magee Murrhee (previously the only photo we had ever seen of this Futuro was a very grainy City of Tampa photo). Linda tells us the photo shows the Futuro with her:
"great grandmother Zerby and her friend Buster with her dog named Spud."
Our thanks to Linda for sharing this cool photo of Futuro and owner together.
The website "futurohouse.com" has been around a long time and, for a niche site (as any Futuro site could probably be classified), has achieved an impressive Google Page Rank of 4. Len, the sites owner, has accumulated a great deal of information and detail on the Futuro and its history and could be considered quite the "detective" when it comes to unearthing new and interesting information and photos.
Until now we had never seen a photo of this Futuro but Len recently found this photo (Courtesy of the City of Tampa) showing the Futuro as it was around the time of its demolition (circa 1998). As always our thanks go to Len for sharing his wealth of Futuro information and photos.
Original Information 101611
Tampa, Florida is currently home to one Futuro House that sits atop a strip club at 2309 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33607. In times past that was not the only Futuro in Tampa. There was one located on the southwest corner of Semmes and Juneau Streets at 8216 N Semmes St, Tampa until the late 1990's (28°1'25.84"N 82°26'30.69"W).
"This particular Futuro was originally purchased by an elderly lady named Gwendolyn F. Zerby. She flew to Finland and bought one of the original Futuros made there. She had it shipped it back to Tampa ... Mrs. Zerby lived in this Futuro for about 10-12 years, until her death. Then in 1979 the property was purchased by a gay couple for $16,000 ... No one lived in the house for most of the 90's and then the city issued a demolition order for the structure in 1998-1999 ... for various reasons that seem to have been related to illegal activities being carried out on the premises at the time."
We have never seen a photo of this Futuro; if you have or know of one we could use (or even just see) please let us know. Though it is not particularly clear the Futuro can be picked out in imagery from Google Earth dated 012395; that's about as close to an image of it as we can get to date.
This photo showing a Futuro with a unique red, white and blue exterior finish was the only photo we had ever seen of the Futuro once located in Seaside Heights, NJ; until now. A few days ago Ed emailed us the photo below (thanks Ed); the Futuro can be seen between two buildings center left. A little research turned up that the photo is actually a part of the collection of the Library Of Congress.
Interestingly the exterior finish is not red, white and blue as seen in the earlier photo but instead a rather more subdued shade of white. We currently have no idea if the red, white and blue came first or was later.
Also interesting to note is the entrance structure; this appears to be the same structure as that seen in use with the NJ "Space Banks" of which this Futuro was one (see photo below); in this case most likely this Futuro at the Woodbridge Mall in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey in October 1972. The entrance structure was not used during the time this Futuro spent on Morey's Pier; likely it was retained in storage and used again in Seaside Heights.
Original Information 022214
Located in Seaside Heights, NJ the Futuro shown below served as the local Visitor Information Center during parts of the 70's and 80's. Until now it had been listed as one of the "Lost Souls" since we had never come across anything that indicated what might have happened to the unit. That has now changed and the unit is now officially listed as "demolished". More detailed information on this unit can be found in the entry on the "Lost Souls" page.
So why the change from "Lost Soul" to "demolished"? Well as regular visitors to these pages will know we are somewhat obsessive collectors of "Things Futuro." We have few postcards that feature the Futuro House and there have always been a few locations where we suspected there may be a postcard or two out there. Seaside Heights, a "seaside" vacation destination, was one of them and from time to time we would search to see if we could find such a postcard. Recently there was a collection of Seaside Heights postcards listed on E-Bay and so we inquired as to whether any showed the Futuro.
The seller, inturn4, responded and while there was not such a postcard in the collection that response suggested the seller clearly had a connection to the area along with very good local knowledge and he able to add to the story of this Futuro.
It seems the information already contained in the Seaside Heights entry on the "Lost Souls" page was relatively complete and accurate and inturn4 told us that as far as he knew the only public picture that exists of it is the one shown here. He went on to add that:
"The only location that it ever 'touched down' was the municipal parking lot, as shown in the photo. I'm pretty certain it came to town around 1976, the bicentennial year for the USA, hence the reason it was painted red, white and blue. When it's useful life was finished, it was brought to the public works yard, where after several years of neglect, it was demolished and carted off to the landfill. That I do know for sure."
The suggestion that the unit "arrived" in 1976 certainly makes sense and, based on inturn4's information about its "demise", this Futuro has, sadly, been added to the growing "roll call" of demolished locations and we no longer consider it one of the "Lost Souls".
Though posted to Facebook back in December 2019 we only recently came across this rather nice photo of this Futuro. The photo was posted to the Facebook page The Futuro House by Mike Pulcinella.
This photo was recently posted to Flickr by Jussi; it is described as being taken at Washington Square East, Philadelphia in the early 1970's.
The Futuro destroyed by fire in 1974 seen in the photo below was described as having been located at 6th St. across from Washington Square. It is difficult to determine with certainty if these two photos show the same Futuro in precisely the same location and in fact there are clear differences.
Among those differences is the fact that there appear to be trees in background of the newspaper photo that are not seen in Jussi's photo and the rectangular objects (planters?) in front of the Futuro in Jussi's photo are not seen in the newspaper photo. That said given that both photos reference Washington Square this new photo is included here until we know better.
To the left of the entrance we can see that the Futuro is marked "Washington Square East - An Apartment/Townhouse Community". We have no idea whether this indicates the Futuro had, was or would function as an office or similar for that community, that Futuros were planned to be installed and rented as part of that community or that the text was simply advertising.
Though we think even if it were moved this is likely the Futuro that was destroyed by fire we have to say that when we saw the photo the first thought was that it bears a striking resemblance to the "Pod Up North".
Despite the fact that the Futuro was a manufactured item and as such we would expect them to all be the same (given differences in manufacturing from country to country) we are always a little surprised by the number of times a photo can immediately put you in mind of another Futuro in a different place and time. In this case some of the details that are common to both are the color, the central roof vent and the black trim around the windows. Among differences is the color of the supporting legs, black on the "Pod Up North" and the same color as the shell in Jussi's photo.
Original Information 100116
We recently came across a series of newspaper articles relating to Futuros at various locations around the Philadelphia, PA area during the early 1970's.
Several of these related to Futuros that had features more reminicent of Futuros manufactured in Finland than those manufactured in the US. It seems likely that there were at least two such Futuros and they are the subject of a section on the "Lost Souls" page as their "destiny" post 1970's "Philly" is not known.
The above article however, published 070974 in the Philadelphia Daily News, included a photo (below) of a Futuro at "the end of the road" after a fire. The caption accompanying this photo reads as follows:
"Journey's End: Everyone used to remark how much it looked like a flying saucer when this fiberglass vacation house was on display at 20th St. and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The house, designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, eventually was moved to its last site on 6th St. across from Washington Square. It caught fire there Sunday afternoon and was destroyed."
Unlike the other articles the "Finnish" style features seen in the other "Philly" Futuros (two pairs of lower viewing windows and an "egg cup style" support ring) are not visible in this photo and in addition the "bend" visible in the support legs close to the shell (most notable to the bottom right of the Futuro in the photo) is characteristic of the standard US Futuro support structure.
The photo's caption does actually suggest this is the same Futuro as is referred to in some of the other articles referencing 20th St. and Benjamin Franklin Parkway as a previous location but it is not unusual for two Futuros at different locations to be assumed to be the same even when they are not and that Futuro (see this photo) did not have the bend in the support legs visible here and so we are of the opinion this is not the same Futuro.
Also unlike the other Futuros mentioned in the articles this Futuro is certainly not a "Lost Soul" given that is was destroyed in a fire; for that sad demise it earns inclusion on this page of "Demolished & Destroyed Futuros".