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.
We come across photos of this Futuro with great regularity; most are "more of the same" and do not get added to this page. However from time to time a photo that is a little more unusual surfaces and that is the case with this photo that was sent to us recently by @marchenkoae.
The photo was taken from a location much further away from the Futuro than we commonly see and so, unlike most photos which give the impression that the Futuro is "all alone", this one clearly shows it as being part of a small group of structures that are part of the hotel complex (albeit still located high up on a mountain and rather remote).
This is one of the more commonly photographed Futuros and there are many shots and videos of the interior, some on this page and many more if you search on the web. This photo however, sent to us by Maxim Languev is a little different.
In almost every shot we have seen previously the interior of this Futuro appeared somewhat cluttered; for this shot Maxim de-cluttered and the result is a very different look and feel, almost stark and clinical. We kind of like it. Thanks for sharing it Maxim!
There is nothing quite like a beautiful sunset (or sunrise); combine one with a silhouetted Futuro and you get this superb photo that was recently posted to Instagram by tarelka_dombay. The original can be found on Instagram here.
This Futuro is one of the most photographed units and new photos crop up frequently and few stand out. These two do, to us at least. The first is by annavesnanna and the second by Gala Dmitriova. The originals can be found on Instagram here and here.
Though this is one of the more photographed Futuros almost all the photos we have seen are external shots. There have a been a few interior shots of course (some are on this page) but this video footage by Daniel Kordan provides perhaps the best look at the interior we have seen. The original can be found on Instagram here.
This is one of the more photographed Futuros and many of the photos we see are "more of the same" but every now and again something a little more special comes along as is the case with this awesome set of twilight photos by fedorlashkov taken early October 2020 and posted to Instagram 101120. The original photos can be found on Instagram here.
Vladimir Makeev recently sent us some great photos and video footage of the Hurzuf Futuro and, at the same time, he sent us the photos below.
A Google search will quickly show that there are a large number of photos out there and we certainly do not add them all to this page; however we enjoyed Vladimir's photos and felt they should be added here.
The first two photos date from January 2016. The final photo (showing Vladimir's mother) dates all the way back to 1980.
Thanks for sharing these Vladimir.
The article was a accompanied by a couple of photos including the photo below; rather an interesting image with snow and skiers sharing the spotlight with folks in bathing suits.
Yves Buysse recently sent us a link to an article on this Futuro on the website pikabu.ru titled (according to Google translate) "House with a story: Hotel Tarelka" (thanks for the link Yves).
The article was a accompanied by a couple of photos including the photo below; rather an interesting image with snow and skiers sharing the spotlight with folks in bathing suits.
The article itself seems to be a little confused and inaccurate. For example if asserts that:
"this story began with a visit in 1969 to the Caucasus by Finnish President Urho Kekkonen. It was not an ordinary protocol trip with sightseeing. Together with Alexei Kosygin, the then chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the Finnish president crossed the Caucasus Range. The extreme and memorable trip left such a strong impression on the Finn that he decided to thank the hosts with an unusual gift - a space house, the creation of the Finnish architect Matti Suuronen."
and in terms of dates the article adds this:
"... helicopter can be transported. In this way, the house "Futuro" was delivered to the slope of Mount Mussa-Achitara in 1969 ..."
All of this seemed to us to be way off base and, to be sure, we checked in with one of the main authorities on the Futuro and it's history; our friend, Futuro historian and co-editor (along with Mika Taanila) of the book Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday, Marko Home for further verification. We all agreed this is simply a "Futuro legend". There are several reasons for this conclusion:
Had the Futuro been a gift from the Finnish President there would certainly have been mention of this in the Finnish press at the time and that is not the case.
During interviews with Polykem personal when researching the book Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday this would almost certainly have been mentioned; after all it would have been a highly significant part of the Futuro story. Marko tells us this was never mentioned.
Documents in the Matti Suuronen archive (among them this list of Polykem manufactured Futuros with dates and purchasers) tell us that Polykem sold the Dombai Futuro to the Soviet travel agency Intourist in 1976; not a gift and several years after the 1969 asserted in the article.
In the late 1990's Marko interviewed the gentleman who traveled from Finland to Dombai in 1976 to supervise the team of local workers that would assemble that Futuro; again no mention of the President, a gift or 1969.
The article also includes this odd paragraph:
"For half a century, curious stories have happened with these objects. So, once a mysterious find - "UFO fragments" - in the forests of New Jersey caused a stir among the residents of the state. Their imagination painted aliens hiding behind each bush. What was their disappointment when it became clear that the wreckage did not belong to the spaceship at all, but to the Futuro house, which was mercilessly used as a mobile home by one family. As a result, the design could not stand it and fell apart, so frightening the Americans."
To be frank we have no idea what the origin of this story is and have never come across any report or documentation matching it before. Sounds like another "Futuro legend" to us.
This video was published to Youtube 020219 by MrSemensemenych. It features some great shots of this Futuro, both exterior and interior, as well as some nice aerial footage showing the location of the Futuro relative to other structues and the landscape around it.
It is always nice to get a recent look at a Futuro. These great shots of this Futuro were captured by djigstar on 092318.
Came across this unusual photo on Instagram the other day; the photo is by Kirill Grekov and was posted to Instagram 032517.
Never seen a view of this Futuro that looks remotely like this; looking at the aerial imagery in Google Maps and Google Earth there were some buildings close to the Futuro at the old location but none of the photos suggest this location so we are assuming this is a photo shot at the new location a little further up the mountain 032517.
This small deck of playing cards (approximately 3½" x 2¼" in size) features photos of this Futuro on the box, the ten of spades and the ten of diamonds. There is no indication of the date of manufacture but both the box and the cards are in almost mint condition and it seems likely this is a contemporary tourist souvenir.
Recently we added a couple of items to our collection of "Things Futuro" that feature this Futuro.
This lapel pin that features a skier with the Futuro in the background is 2" in diameter. We do not know if the item is contemporary or from some time in the past.
This small wallet calendar is for the year 2000 though there is no indication as to whether the photo featured on the front is from 2000 or some earlier date.
Dmitry Yakubovskiy posted the two photos below to Instagram which show the Futuro at its new location a little further up the mountain. Looking at the photos this location appears to be flatter than the previous location. Dmitry's original images can be found on Instagram here and here.
Links to the two videos below, which also show the Futuro in its new location, were posted to our Facebook Page yesterday; thanks for the "heads up" Yves. The first, from Russian TV station Архыз 24, includes footage of the Futuro being moved as well as both exterior and interior footage of the Futuro at the new location. The second, a snowboarding video, shows the Futuro in passing at 2:52 (follow this link to go right to that point in the video on Youtube).
We recently came across the video below that was posted to Instagram 103016 which shows this Futuro being moved to a slightly different location.
According to an article on the website stav.aif.ru the Futuro was being moved 250 meters further up the mountain. The move was aimed at making the Futuro more accessible to visitors according to Erol Aybahanov, mayor of the village of Dombai.
The method of transport was a first, at least as far as we know, but given the location not at all surprising. As can be seen in the video the Futuro was dragged across the snow and ice by a heavy excavator. Though it is not clear in the video presumably there were "skids" of some type installed under the legs to facilitate moving the unit in this way.
We purchased this 3" by 2" plastic refrigerator magnet recently. It carries a photo of this Futuro. There is no indication of date of production on the object.
The photos below are of a print that combines photos of this Futuro and a skiing scene into a single photo. The text on the rear (according to Google Translate) identifies the Futuro as a "tourist hut" and places it "In the mountains of Karachay-Cherkessia". The copyright line dates to 1983. It is unclear if this is the date of the original photo(s), the date of production of the combined print or both.
Given the presence of this printing on the back it seems likely to us that this was produced as a souvenir item. It could probably have been used as a postcard though we do not believed it was designed as such given the shape of the print and the absence of the usual printing seen on the reverse of a postcard for address, message and postage stamp placement.
This week we added a nice photo set to our collection of "Things Futuro". The set is undated but was likely manufactured within the last few years (and it is possibly still in production; our Russian contact purchased it directly from the manufacturer). It includes a cover/folder and 12 individual cards. This Futuro is featured on the cover and one of the cards.
There seem to be more collectibles and souvenirs, both vintage and contemporary, featuring this Futuro than any other Futuro, at least based on the research we have done while assembling our collection of "Things Futuro". This lapel pin is one such item.
Presumably manufactured as a tourist souvenir this lapel pin is small (only 1.05 inches by 0.65 inches) and light. The pin features a Futuro and the text:
ДОМБАИ - ТУРИСТСКАЯ ИЗБА
which, according to Google, translates to "Dombai - Tourist Hut".
The Dombai Futuro more so than any other Futuro appears on all sorts of collectibles and memorabilia. This week we were able to add several new items to our collection of "Things Futuro".
First up is this nice postcard, the card is dated 2001 on the back though there is no way to know when the actual photograph dates from.
Then there is this photo/tourist booklet dating from 1983. This Futuro features in one of the included photos.
Finally we have a wallet/pocket calendar that dates from 2009.
Вокруг Света or "Around The World" is Russia's oldest popular science and regional studies journal and, with a couple of breaks (1918-1927 & 1941-1945) has been published continuously since 1861. The April 1985 issue, #2535, featured this Futuro on the cover.
A copy of the magazine in .pdf format can be downloaded here.
There is little mention of the Futuro inside the magazine but what there is, a description of the cover in the contents section, is very interesting.
Len sent us a rough translation of the part of the contents section (page 4) that relates to the Futuro. It reads as follows:
"On the cover: Soviet Union. The main Caucasian ridge. Dombai glade, which is also called "clearing climbers". It is at the junction of three valleys, surrounded by peaks Belalakaya, Sofrudju and others. The slopes of the mountains the glaciers comes down ... Here is the station control and rescue service. Experienced rescuers is always ready to help those who are in distress in the mountains. Photo by our reader A. Chuprakova"
It is of course the mention of the use of the Futuro as a search and rescue station that is most interesting as we have never heard mention of the Futuro serving in this role previously and to date cannot confirm whether this was actually the case or not.
Thanks so much for the translation Len
Yves Buysse recently sent us links to a couple of rather cool 360° photos of the Dombai Futuro; you can rotate through 360°, zoom and so on (thanks Yves).
We personally think the end result is far better in the second but a quick look at the "how to" on 1panorama.ru suggests that creating that end result is quite complex. Google Photo Sphere looks like it is probably a much simpler and accessible process with the "tech" doing most of the work.
The photos below depict a print we added to our collection of "Things Futuro"" this past week that combines photos of this Futuro and a "ski outing" scene into a single photo. On the rear there is Russian text and also a notation in English that reads:
Dombai - The Tourist Cottage - Ski Outing
The reverse also carries a copyright line that dates to 1983. It is unclear if this is the date of the original photo(s), the date of production of the combined print or both.
Given the presence of printing on the back it seems likely this was produced as a souvenir item. It could probably have been used as a postcard though we do not believe it was designed as such given a slightly less "hardy" print medium than a standard postcard, the shape of the print and the absence of the usual printing seen on the reverse of a postcard for address, message and postage stamp placement.
Bing Maps now has updated satellite imagery which clearly shows the Futuro. We have slightly edited the lat/long for this Futuro based on this new imagery which proved that the previous lat/long was slightly off. Google Maps still does not have imagery which shows the Futuro.
Finnish National TV, YLE, recently broadcast (010715) the first episode of a show titled Kaukasia 30 päivässä (Caucasia in 30 Days). Both Marko and Vesa alerted us to this broadcast; thanks guys. Marko tells us that:
"The Finnish presenter of the "Caucasia in 30 Days" interviews a Russian guy who was in the team that assembled the Futuro on Dombai back in 1976. The team included four Finnish Futuro specialists from Polykem plus Russian helping hands. The program was shot in 2014 and includes nice exterior and interior scenes of Dombai Futuro."
The show can be viewed around the world on the TV station's website using this link but only until 041215 so check it out while you have the chance. The Futuro section starts at approximately 36:30 and runs about 5 minutes.
We grabbed a couple of screenshots from the video and added them below before the ability to view the footage disappeared. Hopefully this is not too much of a copyright infringement, we are not showing the footage after all, and this way there will be at least a couple of shots after the footage is no longer available on the TV Station's website.
We came across the rather cool photo below the other day on LiveJournal; it was posted on this page by raduga_nk and the comment attached to the photo suggests it was taken 30 years ago. We cannot seem to figure out how to request permission to use the photo here, perhaps you need a LiveJournal account (which we do not have) to contact the user, so if this is your photo please let us know so we can provide proper attribution.
The same day we also came across this video which provides some new (at least to us) footage of this Futuro. The video was posted by Marc Seven on 020911 and is titled "Disco Voador Na Montanha" (Google Translate indicates this is Portuguese and translates it to "Flying Saucer On The Mountain"). Seven comments (again translated by Google Translate) that "I found a flying saucer in the Alps Caucasus A hotel for 8 people, used in seasons of skiing."
The video is shot largely from a single angle and is somewhat unsteady at times but it does provide some nice new footage of this Futuro.
We were sent a link to this video the other day by Yves - thanks Yves. The video is Russian with a soundtrack that, in our opinion, would make the voices difficult to hear even if we spoke Russian so we have no idea what is being said. That said it does feature footage of the Futuro starting at around 5:57 in.
Google Translate suggests the video is titled "Golden Autumn Dombae! Ken Moussa Achitara" and the one comment translates to "A trip to the Caucasus region-Teberda Dombay, October 2012".
Coincidence is a funny thing. We are always on the lookout for Futuro memorabilia, books or magazines with Futuro articles or photographs and so on. We recently came across several items that featured the Dombai Futuro all within the space of just a few days. The images below that all feature the Dombai Futuro are of these items:
Several images from the book "Dombai" published in 1980
In a short post on the website Dark Roasted Blend the writer suggests that the Futuro is "Seemingly a knock-off of the "Futuro House" ..." There is actually no reason to believe it is not a Futuro and the author gives no basis for the statement.
The article also reports that it was "built" in 1979. That seems unlikley to us as, based on all of our research to date, production of the Futuro had ceased at least a couple of years prior to that.
This photo, one of the best photos of the Dombai Futuro we have seen, was taken by Socialism Expo and is displayed here under CC 2.0.
The excellent series of photographs shown below were taken between 022204 and 022804 by Sergei Novikov. The images were posted on his website novikov.com and can be found on this page and the subsequent pages. The photographs are displayed here in accordance with the novikov.com copyright terms.
This image by Andrey Khrolenok is the most recent we have been able to find and it places the Futuro still on site 030411 (Displayed here under CC 2.0).
Original Information 092511
The Hotel Tarelka is located in Dombai, Russia high in the Caucasus Mountains and is home to a Futuro. Given that the original idea behind the Futuro was for it to be used as a ski-cabin the Futuro in Dombai is probably the only remaining example with a use that, while not exactly as intended, is pretty close to that originally envisioned by Matti Suuronen back in 1968.
The Hotel Tarelka is not a typical hotel; it is not located at the bottom of the ski slopes but rather it is way up on the mountainside. The Hotel information suggests getting down into the valley late at night or early in the morning is difficult because the funicular is closed. If you have an early flight home after you trip you either need to ski down (with your luggage - we are not skiers but that does not sound like much fun) or spend your last night in the valley at a different hotel. The benefit for that restriction? When you get up in the morning you are already up the mountain and ready to ski; not lining up with everyone else to get up the mountain.
The Futuro acts as the "mess hall" for the hotel which is really a group of cabins that can accommodate 8 - 12 people that is normally rented out en masse.
So, if you are a skier and a Futuro fan what could be better that the Hotel Tarelka? You can get more information about the hotel on the Dombai.info website or maybe you just need to call that travel agent of yours.
As far as the location itself goes you may have noticed the Google Maps imagery for the location is basically nothing; hopefully at the time of some future update there will be later imagery to use. In the meantime though it is not possible to confirm the precise location of the Futuro using Google Maps it is reasonable to assume the co-ordinates quoted are accurate. They were sourced from the reputable site World Architecture Map.org and are confirmed by the placement of several Panoramio images on Google Maps as well as information in several articles and blogs by people who have stayed at the Hotel Tarelka.
We have not come across many photos of this Futuro so far. The two below are from the Hotel Tarelka page on Dombai.info but the images are extremely small so forgive the very grainy appearance here as we are displaying them much larger than the original image size. A few additional photos can be found by following the links below: