The Futuro House

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. | Latest Site News & Updates

For the latest site news and updates check out the Site Update History Page

Looking For Your Own Futuro House Experience? Try A Stay At Area 55 In Joshua Tree, CA

Finding a Futuro to purchase, transporting it and restoring it is not for the faint of heart. They come to market only very infrequently and when they do the cost of purchase, transport and restoration can be extremely high. So, if you are "normal folks" (like us), owning a Futuro is probably not on the cards so just how can you get to experience Futuro?

Simple - this Futuro is available for short stays. If you would like to experience Area 55 follow this link to get a $10 credit (first time Hipcampers only) on your booking at Hipcamp.

Once on the Hipcamp website simply enter Area 55 in the search field and then make your booking.

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Location Information

swabyjustin - Joshua Tree Futuro - 050619

  • Location | Sunny Sands Drive & Sahara Terrace, Joshua Tree, California, USA
  • Lat/Long | 34°12'0.19"N 116°17'13.14"W
  • Previous Location | County Highway J, Rockland, WI 54653, USA
  • Previous Lat/Long | 43°50'25.57"N 90°55'39.85"W
  • Image By Justin Swaby | 050619
  • Google Maps | 090818 (Futuro Not Visible - Imagery Too Old)
  • Latest Confirmation | 030424
Info, History, Photos

Update 031324

As lovers of the Futuro we applaud any and all efforts to recognize and preserve this important architectural icon and we are very pleased to be able to add this Futuro to the growing list of Futuros with some form of recognition in the area of cultural and/or architectural significance. In this case the recognition of this Futuro by the State Of California as a historical landmark.

This news can be found in various places but we wanted to thank @accidentalbear whose 030424 post to Instagram was the first we heard about it. The post read like this:

"We are proud to announce that our Futuro home here at #Area55 is now recognized by the State of California as historic landmark! We are so grateful for all the amazing support from our amazing neighborhood community & from humans around the world. A special thank to @danieldpaul who guided this ship for nomination from beginning to end!! Thank you to @thefuturohouse for all your help with the amazing work you’ve done recording the history of as many futuros. Cheers to another stamp in the history books!"

Our sincere congratulations to all concerned!

Update 046222

Thanks to an email we received recently from John we were able to get this cool aerial image from way back in 1971 which shows this Futuro back in its early days at the Playboy Resort in Lake Geneva, WI (for the record the exact location was 42°36'41.38"N 88°24'3.70"W) - thanks so much John. The Futuro is located pretty much dead center in the image.

Lake George - Playboy Club - 1971 - Aerial Photo

Update 040922

This Futuro has appeared as the backdrop for quite a few music videos since its arrival in the California dessert and here we have another example. The "Inner Mission (Official Music Video)" was published to YouTube 032522 by the band Zen From Mars.

Update 092621

A big shout out to the Joshua Tree Futuro and owner @area_fiftyfive for getting featured in Episode 4 of Season 2 of the Netflix show The World's Most Amazing Vacation Rentals. The Futuro has of course been immensely popular on Airbnb and you have had to look far far ahead to find an available time to book a stay in the past; we would hazard a guess it will be even more difficult to book a stay now!

The World's Most Amazing Vacation Rentals

Update 051721

The documented history of this Futuro includes time in Janesville, WI "back in the day" and while there are a couple of photos from that time and place there are very few (they can be found here) and so we were very excited to see this 1971 photo pop up on Instagram recently.

The photo was posted by Brad Ewald (aka 35alivephotography) and Brad's orginal photo can be found on Instagram here. Thanks for tagging us Brad!

Brad Ewald Phot - This Futuro In Janesville circa 1971

Update 100420

Following its relocation to Joshua Tree and its subsequent refurbishment this Futuro has fast become a favorite among musicians for their music videos and here we have another example. "Pressure" was published to Youtube 072220 by artist Gwen Bunn.

Also not long after previous updates to this page quite some time ago indicating that the Media Futuro had been moved to Joshua Tree we heard that that move had run into problems and had not taken place as planned but we did not come back to this page and update it to reflect that Media was still the current location of that unit; we were reminded of this fact in some comments on one of our Instagram posts recently (thanks folks!) and so we are finally updating this page to reflect that fact. What is that old saying - better late than never!

Update 090120

We see a great many Futuro photographs on a daily basis and almost without exception can identify a location immediately. In the case of this photo however, posted to Instagram 082920 by Chrissy Borgatta Liuzzi, for just a moment we thought we were looking at a "new" location as the photo looks old and as a vintage location we did not recognize it.

Quickly though we realized it was in fact an unusual, and atmospheric, photograph of Joshua Tree; the photographer did an impressive job of creating a vintage looking photo of this Futuro,

Joshua Tree - Area55 - 082920 - IG - Chrissy Borgatta Liuzzi

Update 062620

Futuros appear in music videos relatively frequently and here we have another example of one featuring this Futuro. "Quincy - No Stress [Official Video]" was published to Youtube 062420 by musician Quincy.

Update 053120

It is no secret that we love black and white photos and this one is no exception. The photo, sporting a very "sci-fy look", was posted to Instagram by leicanalogue 052820.

Joshua Tree - Area55 - 052820 - IG - leicanalogue

Update 041220

Another example of this Futuro being featured as a backdrop for a music video. In this case the video for the track Leave Me In The Desert by the band Imaginary Persons.

Update 022520

The Futuro has featured as a backdrop for many music videos. In this case we find this Futuro featuring in a video titled Futuro Sessions "MOOD" by Baranik Guitars.

Update 122719

There are many photographs of Futuros in the snow but this one is a little unusual. Christmas time in the California dessert actually brought snow as can be seen in this 122619 photo from owner area_fiftyfive. Having lived in Arizona for a while we know this is a somewhat rare event and it makes for a rather cool photo.

Joshua Tree - Area55 - 102619

Update 112019

Owner Ron recently posted this awesome two-part version of his "Futuro Journey" via his @area_fiftyfive Instagram account and a couple of Instagram "stories". It is fascinating to follow Ron's long journey from purchase through the launch of his awesome Futuro Airbnb in October 2019.

For anyone (including ourselves) who has dreams of owning a Futuro take a look and take note; this is not a journey for "the faint of heart"!

Moving on and changing the subject a little it is not unusual for Futuros to feature in music videos and Joshua Tree has now "joined the club". American singer, songwriter, and record producer Eric Bellinger's official video for the track Tapped In (from the album "Saved By The Bellinger") features the Joshua Tree Futuro several times during the course of the video. The video was posted to Youtube 110219.

Finally for today the launch of the Joshua Tree Futuro on Airbnb caught the eye of local NBC affiliate NBC Palm Springs; an article titled "Flying Saucer Airbnb Lands In Joshua Tree" was published on their website 102919. They also broadcast the short news story seen below the same day.

Update 102619

If you ever wanted the chance to really experience "Futuro living" now is your chance. After months of hard work by owner Ronald and his team the Joshua Tree Futuro has now been launched as an Airbnb; to make your booking check out the listing here.

To celebrate the launch @area_fiftyfive added several items to their Instagram feed. The photos below show "what you would be getting" if you decide to take advantage of this opportunity to stay in a Futuro. We have to say she looks awesome. These photos, with the exception of the last one, were posted to Instagram 102519. The last photo is one of the set that accompanies the Airbnb listing; it gives a nice wider view showing a little of the location on which the Futuro sits and the other facilities available when you rent the property. Going to have to figure out when to take a trip to California ourselves.

Joshua Tree - Area55 - 102519 - 1

Joshua Tree - Area55 - 102519 - 2

Joshua Tree - Area55 - 102519 - 3

Joshua Tree - Area55 - 102519 - 4

Joshua Tree - Area55 - 102519 - 5

Joshua Tree - Area55 - 102519 - 6

Joshua Tree - Area55 - 102519 - 7

Joshua Tree - Airbnb - 102519

These last two items were also posted to Instagram by @area_fiftyfive; the first item is an interesting little bit of video footage. The second uses an interesting technique we have seen a few times for Instagram posts which involves taking a photo, splitting it into multiple photos and then posting them to Instagram in the right sequence so that in the timeline they appear as a larger "mosaic" style photo. Once posted the "mosaic" is only visible correctly at certain times as it depends on how many posts follow. The photo below was taken from the desktop Instagram feed right after the photos were posted.

Joshua Tree - Area55 - 102419 - IG Mosaic

Update 090619

This awesome shot capturing this Futuro out in the dessert in a storm was captured by urbex_offlimits on 090419. The original photo can be found on Instagram here.

Joshua Tree Storm Shot - 090419 By urbex_offlimits On Instgram

Update 072719

Joshua Tree - IG Story - doclt - 071619The advent of drones over the last several years and the footage they capture has provided many unique views not previously possible.

On a visit to Joshua Tree 071619 doclt captured some great footage of this Futuro using a drone (and along the way provided us with the dichotomous message seen above left).

The first two videos below were part of doclt's Instagram story, the third was a regular Instagram post that frankly makes our heads explode (though we do have to confess the effect is cool). The footage was shot using a technique known as "dolly zoom" which Wikipedia describes as an:

"effect achieved by zooming a zoom lens to adjust the angle of view (often referred to as field of view, or FOV) while the camera dollies (moves) toward or away from the subject in such a way as to keep the subject the same size in the frame throughout. In its classic form, the camera angle is pulled away from a subject while the lens zooms in, or vice versa. Thus, during the zoom, there is a continuous perspective distortion, the most directly noticeable feature being that the background appears to change size relative to the subject."

The effect is very apparent in doclt's footage. Thanks for the interesting and unique footage doclt!

Update 071319

We love this aerial shot; it was posted to Instagram 071019 by area_fiftyfive.

The photo provides a great view of the "spiral galaxy motif" created by the careful layout of the rocks around the Futuro. We were previously completely unaware of this detail; it was never apparent in the ground level photos we had previously seen. On another completely different (and perhaps somewhat random note) we cannot help but be reminded of an M&M when we look at this photo.

Joshua Tree Aerial Shot - 071019 By area_fiftyfive On Instgram

Update 061519

This video, showing the opening of automated door now installed in this Futuro, was posted to Instagram 060919 by area_fiftyfive.

And; speaking of doors, we received this series of photos recently from Damien Downer (thanks Damien) illustrating the current condition (061219) of the shell segments of the second Joshua Tree Futuro. While the owner retrieved the door from Media and installed it in the first Futuro in Joshua Tree as we just saw in the video above, he has not yet had the chance to get the bulk of the Media Futuro moved. Looks like once he does that unit is going to be one heck of a restoration/reconstruction project.

Joshua Tree 2 Still In Media - Photos By Damien Downer - 061219 - 1

Joshua Tree 2 Still In Media - Photos By Damien Downer - 061219 - 2

Joshua Tree 2 Still In Media - Photos By Damien Downer - 061219 - 3

Joshua Tree 2 Still In Media - Photos By Damien Downer - 061219 - 4

Joshua Tree 2 Still In Media - Photos By Damien Downer - 061219 - 5

Joshua Tree 2 Still In Media - Photos By Damien Downer - 061219 - 6

Joshua Tree 2 Still In Media - Photos By Damien Downer - 061219 - 7

Joshua Tree 2 Still In Media - Photos By Damien Downer - 061219 - 8

Joshua Tree 2 Still In Media - Photos By Damien Downer - 061219 - 9

Joshua Tree 2 Still In Media - Photos By Damien Downer - 061219 - 10

Joshua Tree 2 Still In Media - Photos By Damien Downer - 061219 - 11

Update 051119

It is always fun to track a Futuro restoration project as it progresses. This Futuro now has a snazzy new look as can be seen in these photos posted to Instagram by photolindsey_, area_fiftyfive, and swabyjustin. They were posted 042819, 043019 and 050619 respectively. The original photos can be found on Instagram here, here and here.

We particularly like the first of the three; seems like a really well composed photo. The second was accompanied by this comment "*First load*Landscaping with some Moon Rocks". We think she is coming along really well and we will definitely have to plan a trip from Texas to CA in the future to check it out for ourselves.

Joshua Tree, CA - IG - photolindsey_ - 042819

Joshua Tree, CA - IG - area_fiftyfive - 043019

Joshua Tree, CA - IG - swabyjustin - 050619

Update 041319

A Futuro in a new location always seems to generate a lot of local interest and a slew of photos on various web pages and social media platforms. The photos below are a few of our favorites of this Futuro; they are all from Instagram and by (top to bottom):
Joshua Tree, CA - IG - area_fiftyfive - 031019

Joshua Tree, CA - IG - kolbi76 - 040719

Joshua Tree, CA - IG - guillaume_pto - 031119

Joshua Tree, CA - IG - guillaume_pto - 031219

Joshua Tree, CA - IG - barefoot_winter - 030919

The owner also continues to post interesting content to his Instagram feed that allows us to follow the progress of the refurbishment project. The two videos below make a "call out" to artists that might be interested in creating a mural in the interior of the Futuro and give us a glimpse of the progress made in mounting and making functional the door and its mechanism.

Update 030919

Things are coming along nicely in Joshua Tree. The one time Rockland Futuro is now assembled in the high desert and, thanks to an Instagram Story from the owner on 030519 we now able to catch a glimpse of the Futuro in its new home as well as get a look at a little of the process of reassembly. Also, in the IG story we learn that the Futuro will in time be available for rent as the owner creates a "retreat". Very exciting - sign us up!

Some screenshots from the IG Story along with some of the videos that made up the story can be found below. Great to see how things are going.

We also chatted briefly with the owner the other day and he tells us his next activity will be to have some fiberglass work done to deal with the current non standard entrance which has the entrance elongated vertically such that it is actually merged with the window above it. Work will be done to recreate the standard configuration and then install the door from the Media Futuro.

Joshua Tree, CA - Ronald Jackson From IG Story 030519 - 1

Joshua Tree, CA - Ronald Jackson From IG Story 030519 - 2

Joshua Tree, CA - Ronald Jackson From IG Story 030519 - 3

Joshua Tree, CA - Ronald Jackson From IG Story 030519 - 4

Original Information 123118

We recently chatted with the owner, newly the proud owner of not one, but two, Futuro Houses; the ones previously located in Media and Rockland

The original plan was to purchase a Futuro and locate it on a 5 acre plot in the vicinity of Joshua Tree, California and the prospective owner was in discusssion with Doug Flahaut to purchase the Rockland Futuro but it looked like that was not going to happen so he diverted his attention to the Media Futuro. Obviously that one was going to take considerably more work to restore but this was "a man on a mission". Ultimately the sale of the Media Futuro went through and the new owner starting working with local folks to dismantle the Futuro ready for removal.

The day after the Media sale closed the buyer heard that the Rockland sale was again a possibility and in the end that sale went through also.

As of the time of writing the Rockland Futuro is already in Joshua Tree and the new owner expects it to be installed on site by mid January 2019. The Media Futuro will shortly be moved to CA and placed in storage prior to a restoration project which is expected to take somewhere between 6 and 12 months and possibly even longer.

Our congratulations to the new owner (a little "green" here); looking forward to seeing how things move along with your new Futuros.

There are no images yet available of either of the Joshua Tree Futuros in their new location of which we are aware. Photographs and historical information on the two units at their previous locations can be found on the Media and Rockland pages.

In Books & Magazines
Latest Confirmation

An Instagram post by @accidentalbear on 030424; more information can be found here.

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