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.
There are many Futuros that are known to have been at a particular location some time in the past but the current whereabouts of the unit are not known - at least to us.
This page carries details of these Futuros or, as we like to think of them "Lost Souls".
They may of course have been relocated and are listed as confirmed somewhere else on this website but we have not yet been able to "put two and two together"; after all the history of some of the confirmed current Futuros is unclear. Or perhaps they have been demolished but there is no clear record of that happening.
Whatever their story it always fun to "find" one of the "Lost Souls" (or even just confirm its fate even if unfortuately that means confirming a demolition). So; if you have any information regarding any of the Futuros listed on this page please let us know by either using our "Contact" form or by emailing us directly.
Latest Update(s)/Addition(s) ***
The fate of the following "Lost Souls" remains unknown:
This series of photos was posted to Instagram 082119 by fowler_schocken. The "source" is not mentioned but presumably it was a newspaper or magazine article. The post is accompanied by this comment:
"Matti Suuronens Futuro home, landed in the suburb Grorud, Norway in 1969."
Grorud is a suburb of Oslo and a location we have never previously heard mentioned in the context of Futuro.
According to Google Translate the text on the first photo reads:
"Should flying saucers become our future homes? Now the plate-shaped plastic house has been launched in Norway, but will it out-compete log cabins and apartment blocks? How would you like to have such a house across the street?"
This does not make it totally clear as to whether this was simply some publicity or if there was actually a Futuro located in Grorud but for now we are assuming there was; hence the addition to this page. If you happen to know anything about this Futuro (or this article) please let us know
Todmorden, United Kingdom
The BBC posted this video from their archives on 092219 with the hashtag #OnThisDay 1972. The video provides great footage of both the exterior and the interior of the Todmorden Futuro; it is the first look inside we have come across.
Interestingly the structure is never called a Futuro House; in fact the video opens by describing the structure as "The Thing" and goes on to describe it as a "luxury detached flying saucer" and then, rather colorfully, likens entering the unit to being "rather like walking into an orange"; a reference to the segments from which the Futuro's shell is constructed.
The commentary also provides some insight into the struggles Waterside Plastics faced selling the Futuro; a company representative tells us that while there were customers who wanted to purchase a unit every time they were unable to proceed as local planning authorities would not approve due to the Futuro not meeting fire regulations. At the time of the video the Futuro featured had been in Todmorden three years and the company had not sold a single unit.
#OnThisDay 1972: "This luxury detached flying saucer, so ideal for the average Martian with a wife and two kids." Nationwide visited a house that looked more like a home for a Gallifreyan than a human. pic.twitter.com/XylFMbn93K
Recently artist Cat Byrne was commissioned to paint a mural at the Todmorden Public Library. Cat included the Todmorden Futuro in her work. The shots below are from Cat's blog; the originals and more photos of her work can be found here.
We recently came across this photo posted to Facebook by Christian Baker. Though similar to other photos showing the Futuro on the road to the Abraham Ormerod Centre in Todmorden in 1971 we had not seen this particular photo before. Many thanks for sharing it Christian.
Recently we were able to add a very cool 35mm slide depicting this Futuro to our collection of "Things Futuro". The detail of the image on the slide can be seen below.
Also recently we came across the aerial shot below which was posted to Facebook by Christian Baker and clearly shows the Futuro during the time it was located in front of the Abraham Ormerod Centre in Todmorden in 1971 to mark the 75th anniversary of Todmorden's incorporation.
Dan, who runs the website todmordenalbum.co.uk, previously shared this photo of the Todmorden Futuro arriving at the Abraham Ormerod Centre in 1971. Recently we came across another of Dan's photos which is shown below (and displayed with Dan's permission - thanks Dan). The photo was clearly taken shortly after this photograph from page 282 of the book Fieldens of Todmorden: A Nineteenth Century Business Dynasty as the Futuro made its way through the streets of Todmorden. It is interesting to note how close the Futuro was to the buildings on either side of the narrow street.
This week we received two Waterside Plastics Press Photos we managed to secure in an auction run a few weeks ago by KLM Auctioneers. One of them is clearly of the Waterside Plastics Futuro in Todmorden but to be honest we are not sure about the other; we have a feeling it might actually be a photo of Futuro #001 in Turenki, Finland. For more detailed information see the entry for these Press Photos in our collection of "Things Futuro".
Len over at futurohouse.com has come up with a great deal of information on the Futuro House over the years and recently he added the photograph shown below to his website which prompted me to contact Dan of todmordenalbum.co.uk who has kindly allowed me to share his photograph here also.
Coincidentally Todmorden also came up just last week when we came across an auction of two Press Photos related to Waterside Plastics and the Futuro House being conducted by KLM Auctioneers of Mytholmroyd which is just a few miles from Todmorden. Though we came across the auction information only the night before we were able to get a bid in and secure the photos which are in transit and will be added to this website as soon as we receive them.
There has been no further follow up to the Facebook page thread suggesting a second Futuro was manufactured by Waterside Plastics but we did receive an email from Arthur Russell-Dallamore in which he recounted his recollections of a Futuro in Burnley, UK. For more see the Burnley Futuro.
A quick follow up to the update of a week ago based on the Remembering Cutgate Facebook Page post. We asked if anyone remembered any more details and Steven Newell responded. Steven's father was the production manager for Waterside Plastics and he recalled being allowed to play inside the Futuro as a child. Most interestingly he also recalled that in fact two Futuros were manufactured by Waterside Plastics. We are still researching to see if we can find out any additional details.
We have to confess when we first saw this we immediately thought "photoshopped"; the colors looked a little "off", we were not sure about the location and it just generally did not look "quite right". That said after taking a little more time we are tending toward the conclusion that this is a "new", to us at least, photo of the Todmorden Futuro. So what makes us think that way?
There are many Facebook pages where groups of people get together and post photos and recollections of the past. Often these pages are related to a particular area and that is the case with the page where this photo appeared. In our experience anything posted to these pages that is untrue or altered in any way and does not match the recollections of others familiar with the area quickly generates rebuttals. We feel like if this were not a "real" photo someone would have commented to that effect and that is not the case.
At first glance the photo does not appear to resemble other photos of the Todmorden Futuro but a closer look reveals features that we believe do match other photographs. Take a look at this photo and note the following:
The vertical streaks/staining on the lower panels beneath the windows; not identical from one photo to the other but very similar.
The reflection of the surrounding landscape in the windows; again very similar.
The appearance of the concrete pilings on which the Futuro is mounted; not unique to this Futuro but the same nonetheless.
While the ground appears to be flat in the comparison photograph it does appear that at the very bottom of the photo (and particularly the bottom right) that the ground is starting to incline away from the Futuro. In addition the appearance of the Futuro in the photo suggests that the photo was shot while standing on a lower ground level than the Futuro itself.
The hillside behind the Futuro appears in both photos.
On balance we think that the photograph is a photograph of the Todmorden Futuro most likely shot from a position to the right (facing the Futuro) of that from which the comparison photograph was shot. It is also possible that the photo has been colorized in some way that might account for the somewhat "halo like" fuzzy appearance around the edges of the Futuro. Of course we could be completely wrong and we would be interested to hear from anyone who can shed any more light on this photo. We can be contacted directly by email or you can use our Contact Form.
One of the comments on the photo is also rather interesting. David Foster writes:
"Saw them at the Brighter Homes Ex.(Now Museum of Science and Industry) then visited the Factory to see them being made. The smell of Resin was overpowering. Ones being made were Orange and Blue."
The comment may refer to the Brighter Homes Exhibition in Manchester, England in 1971 but what is interesting is the mention of units being manufactured in more than one color, neither of which matches the color of the Todmorden Futuro. We have never come across evidence of any UK Futuro other than the Todmorden one. It could be of course that the reference is to another factory, maybe not even in the UK, but given the type of Facebook page this is we think that is unlikely. Perhaps there was more than one UK Futuro?
We have never seen many photos of the Todmorden Futuro. The photograph below is from the book Mobile Architektur by Matthias Ludwig and is not identified in the book. We had always felt like the photo was somehow "familiar" but we could never quite place it. Yves Buysse sent me an email recently in which he suggested it was likely a photo of Todmorden and we have to agree.
While the angle from which the photo is taken is different the location and appearance of the Futuro looks the same in the photo as it does in this David Martin photo which is known to be of the Todmorden Futuro. In particular notice the rocky hillside in the background and the reflections of the landscape in the windows.
We have seen very few photographs of the Todmorden Futuro and a new photograph is something of a rarity. Craig Barnes, owner of "Futuro 22", this week launched his excellent website futurohouse.co.uk (you have to check it out) and included the photo below on one of his "history" pages. My thanks to Craig for allowing me to display the photo here.
We recently purchased a copy of the book Fieldens of Todmorden: A Nineteenth Century Business Dynasty and we received it today. We can actually find no mention of the Futuro House in the narrative of the book though to be honest we have just scanned it; it is way too deep and "heavy" a tome for us to actually read. The photo of the Futuro (shown below) appears on page 282 and is captioned as follows:
"Waterside Plastics made a glass fibre house in the old Fielden Mill. Here it is being moved to a position in the town centre where it was used in the celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of Todmorden's incorporation in 1971. Waterside Plastics Ltd. was bought out by its management in 1972 and closed in 1990."
The photo above is a low quality photo from our copy of "Fieldens of Todmorden: A Nineteenth Century Business Dynasty". Our intent is to illustrate this article and the content of the book not to provide a copyright infringing image to be copied and reproduced elsewhere so please respect the author's rights and if you would like to use the book's content purchase your own copy. Thanks!
Original Information 072812
In the late 1960's designer and businessman Arthur Bracegirdle and TV engineer Howard Taylor got together in the north of England to develop the Keracolor TV. In a document archived by the National Media Museum in the UK, "Technology - Keracolor" (Dead - pdf here) a little of the history of this project is discussed. The spherical cabinet for the Keracolor was manufactured using fiberglass and the first examples were made by a company called Waterside Plastics located in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. The document contains the following quote:
"It took twelve months to build a wooden sphere from which a fiberglass mould could be taken. The first cabinet was produced by a company called Waterside Plastics Ltd. located in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, northeast of Manchester. Interestingly, the following year, Waterside built one of the space-age "Futuro" fiberglass leisure houses. The utopian prefabricated "Futuro" dwellings were originally designed in 1968 by a Finnish architect - Matti Suuronen. The flying-saucer-like dwelling was taken to the town centre for the celebrations of the 75th Anniversary of Todmorden's incorporation."
The single post blog Keracolor has some great images of the Keracolor including the one shown here and it also has links to the website of a company who refurbish Keracolors using modern day "innards". It seems however that company is no longer in business; at least the website is no longer there but you can see how it looked in 2008 at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine - Keracolor.com.
Now as is self evident this website is about Futuro's - why all this stuff about the Keracolor - simple - have you ever seen a TV that looks so much like it "BELONGS" in a Futuro!
The Technology - Keracolor document (Dead - pdf here) is a little ambiguous about dates but as best we can tell that document dates the Futuro's manufacture around 1968/1969 and that would be in accord with David Martin of David Martin Photography who has kindly allowed us to display his photographs here. David writes in an email:
"The photographs were taken at Waterside, Todmorden in 1967 or 1968 (not sure which, but I think more likely 1968)."
Len Peltier of FuturoHouse.com has done some great research on the Futuro of Todmorden. In an email from Malcolm Stroud, a local resident Len contacted, Malcolm comments:
"The house was made by Waterside Plastics in its Waterside Mill, Rochdale Road, Todmorden, in West Yorkshire, NE of Manchester...The Futuro house was a one off and I understand they only made one. It was exhibited in Todmorden in 1971 for the town's centenary...The house was exhibited outside the Abraham Omerod medical centre (now closed) in the town, near the railway viaduct. I have also been told that it functioned as offices for Waterside Plastics for some years."
Malcolm Stroud says the Futuro ultimately went to a location in the Lake District and other sources seem to indicate the same though we can find no actual documentation of such a move or a more specific location and we have to consider this Futuro "lost" since there is also no evidence anywhere we can find to suggest it was demolished.
Len - thanks for the awesome research on this one!
An indication of how long the Futuro was actually in Todmorden comes from a perhaps unlikely, perhaps appropriate source; "The World Of Strange Phenomena" on the site ForteanTimes. ForteanTimes writes:
"Alan Godfrey's experience in November 1980 is widely regarded as one of the most significant examples of an "alien abduction" in the UK."
One of the possible scenarios suggested for the experience was that Alan Godfrey had slipped into an ASC (Altered State Of Consciousness) and that a mundane object, perhaps a bus, had been perceived as something else drawn from his subconscious and ForteanTimes hypothesizes that one possible suggestion as to what that might have been is this:
"Perhaps it came from a prefabricated, plastic building called the Futuro. He would have seen the Futuro house in Todmorden, almost every day of his life - some days many times - over a 12-year period. For the building was parked at the side of Burnley Road, in a number of locations between 1969 and the early 1980s. Initially, it was used as an information centre, when it was situated just a few hundred yards from Todmorden police station. Latterly it sat outside a factory on Burnley Road.
It is possible then that the following took place: Godfrey sees a bus parked at the stop on Burnley Road, and slips into an ASC thinking he has seen a UFO, whose appearance is created from stored mental images of the Futuro house.
Interesting that a Futuro which does of course look for all the world like the stereotype "UFO" should be a possible explanation for a real UFO story. Also of interest is the timeline which puts the Futuro in Todmorden at various sites from 1969 through the early 80's.
We have never heard mention or seen evidence of a Futuro in the Lake Placid area and, with photographic evidence, we were on the verge of adding Lake Placid to this page as a "Lost Soul" in its own right but something gave us pause and so we studied the photo and began to "cross reference" it against photos of other Futuros.
In the end we concluded that the photos most likely showed this Futuro and were taken in the Lake George area and not the Lake Placid area (the two are both in New York but Lake Placid is some 80 miles or so North of Lake George according to Google Maps). It being nearly 50 years ago it is entirely possible that memories become a little "clouded", certainly ours do, so such an mistake in the location would not be at all surprising.
That said why the conclusion? Take a look at this photo that was added to this section in an update back on 052614. Obviously the photos were taken from different angles but both do show open ground around the Futuro, both show a Futuro that appears to be the same color and both have the same type of circular ventilation fitting on the roof. All of that is well and good but it does not allow a definitive conclusion that these are photos of the same Futuro; rather is suggests that they could be.
There is however one additional feature visible in the photos that, when added to the other similarities, for us at least confirms these are photos of the same Futuro. Note the "lattice" like feature highlighted in the photo below; then take a look at the 052614 photo again and you will note that very same structure though this time to the right of the unit.
Taking all the similarities into account and then adding that one much more unique commonality is what causes us to conclude the photos below are of the Futuro known to have been in the Lake George area and not of a previously undocumented Futuro in the Lake Placid area.
What happened to this Futuro after Gaslight Village is unknown and, until now, we also had no real idea when it was moved but an article in the Glens Falls Post Star published 102584 suggests that the Futuro was most likely sold and therefore probably moved in the fall of 1984.
The article, titled "For sale: Thrill rides, Dracula's Castle", reports on an auction to be held 102784 at another of Charles Woods' properties, The Great Escape Fun Park.
The auction was being held to free up space for new attractions at Woods' theme parks and Woods' Futuro was noted as being among the unusual items for sale. We have found no other record of this auction and so we have no idea if the Futuro actually sold but, assuming it did, it seems reasonable to assume it would have been removed some time shortly thereafter. What then became of it remains unknown.
The 1976 photo below was posted on the Gaslight Village Lake George, New York Facebook page back in August 2011. The comment associated with the photo indicates a gentleman by the name of Warren was the catcher and points out what is described as "the only picture of the space house in the background."
In fact this is almost certainly not the only photo of the Futuro. If you take a look at this photo and the one below from the Mirror; Lake George Magazine article Tracking Futuro, Lake George's Flying Saucer Home you will see in both photos the same "structure" of some sort (presumably where the door was located); it appears at the left of the Futuro in the "Mirror" photo and at the right in the Facebook photo but it is clearly the same structure with the photos having been taken from opposite sides of the Futuro.
The article really did not include any new information but it did confirm the location of the Futuro.
"It was located just off Canada Street down near Charley Wood's Gaslight Village and Waxlife USA."
The undated photograph below accompanied the article and shows the Futuro in Lake George. The photo is courtesy of Mirror; Lake George Magazine.
Original Information 100812
There was at one time a Futuro House located at Storytown USA (now named Great Escape or Six Flags Great Escape) in Lake George, New York. Depending on how you feel at the time Lake George, located some 200 miles or so north of New York City, was a village, a town or a lake. The village is located within the town which is located by the lake.
Charles R. "Charley" Wood (1914-2004) business man, theme park developer and philanthropist purchased a Futuro House in 1971 for one of his theme parks. Depending on which of the following you read it would seem that the Futuro was located at one of two Lake George attractions owned and developed by Wood:
Gaslight Village (Opened 1959) | On RoadSideAmerica.com we read that the Futuro, painted yellow, "sat in a parking lot near the beach." The article goes on to report "that the creator of the house was showing it off, hoping to build and sell similar houses to freaky buyers" and that "He went bankrupt and his 'flying saucer house' sat unused in the Gaslight Village parking lot for years, until it was removed about ten years ago". Clearly the "creator", one Matti Suuronen, was not involved here and as far as we can ascertain Wood died a wealthy man who never experienced bankruptcy. The article was from 2000 so ten years previously would indicate that the Futuro was either moved or demolished at the end of the 1990's.
It is entirely possible that these two reports are not in fact contradictory; as we see from this document showing a couple of ads, one for Gaslight Village and one for Waxlife USA the two were actually located across the street from one another and so they may well have shared a parking lot.
That being said the truth of the matter is that the Futuro was actually located, at least when it was first purchased, at Storytown USA, also owned and developed by Wood. This document (a series of State Of New York, State Tax Commission Documents) provides all of the proof we need. In the document we read the following "... is part of an amusement park complex called Storytown U.S.A. which contains various attractions, displays and rides. One such display was a "Futuro II House ..."
The document also provides another very interesting piece of information, the price Wood paid for the Futuro, $16418 which included $15600 for the Futuro itself and $818 for transporting it to the site (the price was contracted 012371). Finally we learn that the Futuro was transported by road ("on special trailers") in a disassembled state ("in sections").
We have not been able to locate any photographs of this Futuro or for that matter any information regarding its current whereabouts. It could have been relocated or it could have been demolished. Gaslight Village is closed as is Waxlife USA. Storytown USA is still operating albeit long since sold; it is now under the Six Flags Umbrella and is presumably much changed and modernized. Based on the limited evidence we have been able to find our best guess is that the Futuro "vanished" late 1980's (based on the RoadSideAmerica.com article) but frankly that is all it is; a guess.
If you have any information on this Futuro House, or even a photo, please let us know.
As regular visitors to these pages will know we are somewhat obsessive collectors of "Things Futuro." We have quite a 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 the 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 this article is relatively complete and accurate and inturn4 told us that as far as he knows 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 been added to the list of "Demolished Locations" and any future information that might be uncovered will be added to the "Demolished Locations" page rather to this page.
Information contained in issue #21 of the magazine Weird N.J. conclusively places the Morey's Pier Futuro in Delmont, NJ during the time between its leaving Wildwood and arriving in Greenwich.
Since that precludes the Futuro now located in Greenwich from being the one that spent time at Seaside Heights that makes it almost certain that there were indeed three New Jersey Futuro's and that this one is indeed a "Lost Soul".
In the year or so since we began researching the Futuro House we have come across the photo below several different times but we have never researched it further until we saw it again a few days ago; this time it was posted to the Facebook Group Futuro House by Sébastien Baldini here though it appears the photo should be credited to the family of the late Leonard Ipri (1920-2010); World War II veteran, Superintendent Of Public Works and long time member of the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Company.
Information on this Futuro is limited to say the least; about all that is clear is that it served as the Visitor Information Center in Seaside Heights, New Jersey during some part of the 1980's. That is about it; we have found nothing to indicate when the Futuro arrived in Seaside Heights or from where it came and similarly we can find nothing to indicate when it was either moved or demolished.
"... red, white, and blue UFO was serving as the Borough of Seaside Heights Information Center when the photo was taken. The Information Center was located at the municipal parking lot on the west side of town between Sumner and Webster Avenues."
The post goes on to inform us that the Information Center was closed sometime in the late 1980's to make way for a more modern building. There is no indication whether "closed" meant sold and/or relocated or demolished.
Finally we read that the Futuro had previously spent time serving as a bank and also as an amusement attraction (Jaws? Themed after the Spielberg movie of the same name?) during the 1970's and 1980's.
This article confirms much of the what we learned from Christopher J. Vaz; the Futuro served as the Seaside Heights Visitor Information Center in the 1980's, the Futuro served as a bank (First National Bank of Toms River) and that, by implication, the Futuro was either moved or demolished sometime in the 1980's.
Additionally we have a reference to an amusement park ride though this time the reference is to a "Planet Of The Apes" themed ride at Morey's Pier in Wilwood, NJ. There is however one significant difference between the two articles; this article indicates that we are talking about two different Futuros wheras the Vaz article suggests they may be one and the same.
We do not believe we have enough information to come to any definite conclusions but we can theorize a little:
We know that there was a Futuro at Morey's Pier in Wildwood, NJ during the 1970's. The cool aerial image below (date unknown) from The Season Pass (Dead - pdf here) shows the Futuro top center.
Ralph Grassi's excellent historical site Funchase shows us more photos of the Futuro at Morey's Pier.
From the photos and the information on Funchase we learn that the Futuro was at Morey's Pier from around 1974 and was used in the "Planet Of The Apes" attraction (of course it could have been there sooner but there is no documented evidence of that). The photos show the ride changing over the years from Planet Of The Apes to "Star Trek" and then "Star Wars"; finally we see the Futuro featuring in "The Empire Strikes Back". The movie of that name was released 052180 so we can reasonably assume the Futuro was still at Morey's Pier in 1980 and presumably a little while past that.
We know that the Futuro from Morey's Pier is now located in Greenwich, NJ and we learn by reading this 052509 Press Of Atlantic City article that "Eventually, the ride was retired and sent to an amusement park graveyard"; Matt Damon, current owner, purchased the Futuro from there and transported it to Greenwich in 2003.
There was a "Jaws" ride at Morey's Pier (see The Season Pass | Dead - pdf here) but the photographic evidence seems to suggest that the history of the Futuro and the rides it was a part of are well known and that "Jaws" was not one of them (The Jaws attraction appears to have been a development of the Exorcist attraction which was itself previously the Haunted Swing).
In contrast to what we know of the Futuro at Morey's Pier all we really know of the Seaside Heights Futuro is that it can be "confirmed" as on site for an indeterminate time period in the 1980's; however there is no documentary evidence of its location prior to or after this.
So could the Morey's Pier (now Greenwich) Futuro and Seaside Heights be the same one? It is possible; perhaps between Morey's Pier and Damon's purchase the unit was the Visitor Information Center in Seaside Heights. The Press Of Atlantic City article would suggest that is not the case but the history of Futuros is often shrouded with a little mystery.
Was the Seaside Heights Futuro a bank for while? Perhaps, though we doubt it. We think this is probably one of the examples of two Futuros getting confused with each other. We know that there was a Futuro used as a bank in Lakewood, NJ which is right next door to Toms River, NJ (that Futuro is now in Willingboro - see this video) and that it served as a City Federal Savings & Loan Branch; that Futuro was one of the models with half the number of windows and it seems likely that if there were a second Futuro used around the same time in the same area as a bank it would perhaps have been the same "security conscious" model and it was clearly not.
So there were certainly two Futuros in NJ, since they are still around (Greenwich and Willingboro) but perhaps there were three and the one that was at Seaside Heights has become one of our "Lost Souls". If we draw that conclusion what we have is this:
Lakewood » Willingboro
Morey's Pier » Graveyard » Greenwich
Seaside Heights » Unknown
On the other hand there is a scenario which would actually limit the NJ Futuros to two:
Lakewood » Willingboro
Tom's River » Morey's Pier » Seaside Heights » Greenwich
On balance we tend to think that the documented history of the Greenwich and Willingboro Futuros is fairly sound and that the Seaside Heights unit is a third, and now "lost", NJ Futuro.
As always if you have any information that could make the picture a little clearer please let us know.
tollfraud posted the photo below to Instagram 090118. The photo, though from a different angle, appears very similar to the earlier photo of this Futuro added to this page 060114; specifically the condition of the Futuro looks very consistent from one photo to the other.
The date of the earlier photo is unknown though clearly it was taken 060114 or earlier. The date of tollfraud's photo is not stated but the comments are interesting and suggestive of the Futuro still being at the location. Specifically in answer to a question about the location tollfraud answers:
" I can tell you where it is but it's on private church owned property so there's some trespass involved."
There are no further comments indicating what the location was though we did ask but that comment certainly reads as though the Futuro is still there. The Futuro we had found in Google Maps was removed 051808 and 040610 and though that location is consistent with the photos as best we can tell we cannot be sure they were taken there.
So far we have been unable to find the Futuro anywhere else in the area in Google Maps post those dates so we cannot establish for certain if it is still in the area or not. Would love to hear from you if you could confirm the Futuro's current location if it is indeed still in the area. We can be contacted directly by email or you can use our Contact Form.
The other day we came across a photo of the Frisco Futuro on the website pikdit.com. There was nothing remarkable or unusual about the photo but the comments on the photo included one referencing the Virginia Beach Futuro by Reddit user Jwats96 who also included a link to the photo below on imgur.com; the only photo we have seen of this Futuro.
The photo is undated and shows a Futuro that is clearly in rather poor condition; heavy graffiti, broken and missing windows, a door that appears to be propped closed using a metal pole and so on. We cannot find any indication of who to credit for the photo on imgur.com (though Jwats96 may have been linking to his/her own photo) so if this is your photo please let us know so that we can provide an appropriate attribution.
Original Information 111812
Yesterday (111712) we added a section to the "Myths & Legends" page based on the following 051709 anonymous comment posted on the website Artificial Owl in response to a post about the Futuro House:
"There is one of those in Pungo/Virginia Beach VA. Looks almost exactly the same except it was bolted shut."
After finding the comment we searched a little and found a further report of a Futuro in Virginia Beach that appeared on CNN a couple of years later (040711). That article, in part, read:
"VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. For years high school aged kids have searched for a rumored alien space craft; only few have found it. Damaged and forgotten, this large brown craft somberly rests with its windows busted in, glass littering the floor, and graffitied by unwanted visitors. Hundreds of cars drive down Indian River road every day, not knowing this circular craft 11 feet high and 26 feet across, lies at the end of a private driveway. The flying saucer stays on private property, locked behind an iron gate with old brick walls, and invisible from the roadside. From the street a no trespassing sign is clearly visible. However, that hasn't stopped some adolescents from finding this retro craft."
The article also mentioned Richard Pisani, noted Futuro expert, and added that the Virginia Beach Futuro was unknown to Pisani "until recently".
Given that the source of the article was quite reputable, CNN, and that it mentioned Richard Pisani we felt that it was very likely that there was indeed a Futuro as reported but a quick search in Google Maps did not reveal anything. We had planned on starting to search back through historical imagery in Google Earth today but our good friend and "Futuro Sleuth" Achim Breiling beat us to it; he located a Futuro in Virginia Beach using Bing Maps.
Interestingly the Futuro is visible only in "Bird's Eye" view in Bing Maps, in all other views it is not there so clearly the application is using differently dated imagery for different views. We have never been able to establish how to determine the date of imagery in Bing maps so it was off to Google Earth for us.
A little time in Google Earth confirmed there was indeed a Futuro in Virginia Beach. The Futuro was located at 36°43'12.08"N 76°4'23.60"W. There was no actual address returned; Google Maps showed the address for the coordinates as "Unnamed Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456". Unfortunately Google Maps also showed that this Futuro cannot be considered a "confirmed" Futuro but rather another "Lost Soul" since it disappeared from the location sometime between 051808 and 040610.
The series of screenshots below from Google Earth show that the Futuro arrived on site sometime between 040890 and 062194 and was then removed sometime between 051808 and 040610. Specifically the screenshots (from the top) are:
040890 - No Futuro on site
062194 - Futuro on site
013707 - The best view of the Futuro in Google Earth
051808 - Last date showing the Futuro on site
040610 - Futuro no longer on site
By far the best imagery available is that provided by Bing Maps "Bird's Eye" view. The two screen shots below show the Futuro looking north and looking south respectively.
So, we have another "Lost Soul" to track down. If anyone has any information about this Futuro or any photos of it either in Virginia Beach or wherever it is now please let us know.
This rather nice photo of this Futuro during its time in the Dundalk location was sent to us this past week by ezsealer. To be honest we thought we had seen this before (and even thought it was on this website somewhere) but we cannot seem to find it so perhaps it is new (to us at least) after all.
Ed Weber recently sent us this 1984 photo of this Futuro in Dundalk; thanks Ed. The Futuro does not have the shed-like structure with a conventional front door over the permanently lowered entrance seen in this photo published in the Baltimore City Paper on 111480 but there does appear to be a "foundation" in front of the entrance that could have supported that structure and the concrete blocks/pilings located at the base of the legs appears similar.
Ed added "I am told the house is now 10 miles further east on Orems Rd., Essex". We have heard reference to a Futuro on Orems Road before but to date we have never been able to locate any actual evidence of this though this is the second totally independent report so that in and of itself does lend weight to the idea.
Google Earth has satellite imagery as far back as 040794 and the Futuro is not visible at that time so if this Futuro was moved to Orems Road it would have been no earlier than 1984 (the date of Ed's photo) and it would subsequently have been removed no later than 040794.
The original entry for this Futuro referenced a post in the Yahoo Group "futurohouse" by mikmtd. Yesterday Mike sent us the photo below (from "the family photo album") along with a little more background information. Thanks Mike!
The photo was taken June 1971 by which time the "Mornin' Afta Hangover Remedy" venture, which utilized the Futuro, had failed. Mike points out that:
"... the sign had been taken down (the pole can be seen on the ground near the fence), an abandoned car sits next to (The Futuro), and the weeds were growing ..."
Mike tells me that the photo was taken from the second floor of the house directly behind the man in the WMAR-TV video (below) at 8 seconds.
The 042813 Update below referenced a 111480 article published in the Baltimore City Paper which suggested the Futuro was purchased and installed on the site in 1971. Mike tells me his personal recollection places the Futuro installation a little earlier than that, in the late fall of 1970, and the WMAR-TV footage would seem to support that timing since it was shot January 5-6, 1971.
The video below shows the Baltimore Futuro as it was 5/6 January 1971. We want to thank Rick for sending us the link to this footage from Archive.org and for subsequently sending me an edited video file containing only the Futuro footage.
"Raw news footage originally shot by staff of the Baltimore, Maryland station WMAR-TV (Channel 2), dating to January 5-6, 1971."
and includes 43 distinct segments. Segment 43 (starting at 49:43) is 35 seconds of video of the Baltimore Futuro that features both external and internal footage. The footage is without sound. The embedded video above is cut from the original footage on Archive.org but is not edited in any other way. It is displayed under CC 3.0 license.
The 012713 update below included a Google Map by mikemtd of two sequential locations for the Baltimore Futuro in the early 1970's. This video footage when compared with current Google Street View and Bing Streetside imagery allows us to place this footage at what mikemtd describes as the "Original Futuro house location" (7606 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224 - 39°17'33.60"N 76°31'12.40"W) as can be seen from the three screenshots below (top to bottom from the video, Google Maps Street View and Bing Maps Streetside View).
Note the house to the right of the Futuro in the video shot and in the center of the other two photos; we see the same dark roof, the same chimney, the roof "stepping" down just to the right of the chimney and the same appearance of the lower right window in all three shots and this all confirms this is indeed the location at which the video was shot.
An article entitled "Space Invader - The Futura Flying Saucer House in Dundalk" was published in the Baltimore City Paper on 111480. This article is reproduced on the website "Baltimore Or Less" and includes the photograph below. The article was by Michael Yockel and the photograph was by Barry Holnicker.
The newspaper article confirms previous information about this Futuro and adds some more detail though it does not shed any light on what subsequently happened to the unit.
The original location of the Futuro at North Point and Eastern is confirmed as was the intended use to promote a hangover remedy. The Futuro was purchased by Wayne "Froggy" Glover in 1971. The hangover remedy was apparently less than successful and in 1972 Lou Simmons purchased the Futuro for $12,000. He intended to turn it into a "space age" playhouse for his daughter, then 12 years old. After purchasing the Futuro the City Paper tells us he:
"had it moved to a spot behind his home on Graceland Ave., not far from the Cross & Blackwell factory on Eastern Ave. For the record, the saucer's address is 6831 Fait St."
Simmons says that the novelty of the "flying saucer" eventually wore off and in 1974 he and his wife decided to rent the Futuro; between then and 1980 (when the article was published) the Futuro was home to several people including a school teacher and his wife and a club owner, Lou Edwards. Edwards is quoted as saying"
"It's comfortable for a bachelor ... and it gives you a little privacy. I enjoy the solitude."
The photograph of the Futuro is interesting, it shows an "add on" structure in front of the door (reminiscent of the Willingboro Futuro). The newspaper article relates the reason for this:
"Originally, electric stairs descended from the module when a key was placed in an outside electronic lock. After climbing the five steps and getting inside, one pressed a button and the stairs ascended into the saucer again ... the owner decided that the set-up was too dangerous for his children and has kept the stairs in a permanent down position for a couple of years. Entry is presently gained through a shed-like structure with a conventional front door, spoiling the overall cosmic effect."
The photo also shows one of the smaller "spaceships" built by "Froggy" Glover as playthings for children. Apparently an even smaller one built as a dog house was stolen at some point.
A couple of interesting notes from the article are unsubstantiated anywhere else (at least to our knowledge) but are nonetheless interesting. Simmons is quoted as saying that
"30 of those things were ordered by Puerto Rico - they were going to turn them into motels"
Simmons goes on to confirm that no such transaction ever took place. We have never heard of or come across any evidence of such an intended purchase but clearly that does not mean it was not a possibility at some point.
Finally the article quotes Simmons as saying there was another Futuro in Ocean City; this is the first mention of a Futuro there that we have come across. As always if anyone has any information or photographs please let us know .
Original Information 012713
A recent post in the Yahoo Group "futurohouse" by mikemtd tells us of a Futuro House located in Baltimore, Maryland in the early 70's.
It is not unusual to find rumors and reports of Futuro Houses that cannot be substantiated and this is a Futuro House I have not heard referenced before. However in this case I have no doubt that the report refers to a real Futuro the location of which is now unknown - another "Lost Soul" - based on the very precise nature of the report including exact locations and other specific details.
The group post by mikemtd recounts that in the early 70's a Futuro House was set up on lot a faced the interchange of Eastern Avenue and North Point Boulevard just east of Baltimore, Maryland. The Futuro appeared to be being used as marketing/advertising for something by the name of "Mornin' Afta Hangover Remedy" though it appeared to be uninhabited/unused. Mikemtd goes on to tell us that he did not think a/c was ever hooked up and that he did enter the Futuro one time and found it to be uncomfortably warm.
The Futuro was subsequently moved to a location around a mile or so away where two red children's playhouses, which also looked like UFO's, and a small blue doghouse reminiscent of the Futuro were also constructed. Mikemtd has no knowledge of where the Futuro went after that but it is long gone from this second site.
The Google Map below is by mikemtd and shows both of the locations.
There was second reference to this Futuro on the website UER Mobile back in 2007; we cannot seem to access the original posting now but there is a Google cached version here which allows us to read the post. Though this post is by thoughtcriminal the content is so similar to the content of the Yahoo Group post that we are inclined to think this may be from the same person rather than a separate report of a Baltimore Futuro.
As an interesting side note this posting tells us that the Futuro was delivered in two halves by flatbed. Given that the Futuro, as we know, consists of 16 primary sections this appears to be a case of a Futuro being delivered in a partially assembled state.
To date searching Google Earth's historical satellite imagery has not revealed any imagery old enough to show a Futuro at either location and we have been unable to find any other mention of a Futuro in Baltimore. If you have any information, photographs or an idea as to what might have become of this Futuro we would love to hear from you.
While visiting the Austin Futuro on 091314 Ira, the owner, asked us if we knew what had happened to the Futuro that was located in the River Oaks area of Houston, TX during the 1970's. We do not but the conversation did remind us that we had never added that Futuro to this page or for that matter even researched it.
"I know the house was there in the 70's, but I don't know when it was taken away ... There was (and probably still is) a building on the west side of Kirby between Richmond and 59 with a small courtyard space next to it. The house sat on that space just off the street. I believe it was painted red, but not certain. I think possibly there was a company at that site that was trying to sell or promote the house."
Heights2Bastrop then adds that upon further investigation he believed the structure was not a Dymaxion House but in fact a Futuro House. Unusually Google Earth has satellite imagery dating back to the 1970's and the screenshot below shows a blurred round feature in the specified location that is the right size for a Futuro House.
Clearly the imagery is not anywhere clear enough to be certain but given the recollections of Ira and Heights2Bastrop along with other comments we have come across referencing a Futuro in this area we are confident there once was a Futuro (now "lost") and that this was very likely its location.
We received an interesting email this week from GSM which included not only another personal recollection of the Burnley Futuro but also a reference to the first actual "documentation" we have seen of this Futuro. GSM wrote:
"I was a student at the school in the 1970's and I seem to recall that the Futuro was purchased with proceeds from the school fair. It was originally intended for use as a Lower 6th Form Common Room, but was also used for some lessons. It was positioned to the NE of the main buildings."
In the email GSM goes on to refer us to an archived article from the Lancashire Telegraph which includes a brief reference to the Burnley Futuro. The article dates from 050274 and reads in part:
"Another image showed the new sixth form common room, which had opened at Burnley Grammar School. The eye catching glass fibre structure, set down in the school grounds, was designed to look like a space ship. It had been spotted in an exhibition at Todmorden by teachers David Denson and Donald Wain."
The archived article also included a photo (above left) of a page from what appears to be a different newspaper (the Burnley Evening Star) that included two photographs, one exterior and one interior, of the Futuro. The images are small and cropped due to how the shot of the newspaper page was taken but they are the only photos of this Futuro that we are aware of.
Our thanks to GSM for the memories and for the newspaper reference.
In a follow up email this week Arthur Russell-Dallamore provided a little more detail on the Burnley Futuro. The school campus actually consisted of three schools at the time; Ivy Bank High School, Burnley Boys Grammar School and Burnley Girls Grammar School. Arthur attended Ivy bank High School; the Futuro was situated close to Burnley Boys Grammar School.
Arthur recalls how they were:
"told the Futuro House was being used as a classroom by the Boys Grammar School and occasionally we saw it was being used and the maintenance was being kept in good repair and the lights and electric door/stairs were in use, even though I myself never used or entered "the crazy smartie shaped UFO classroom" as we called it."
Arthur left Ivy bank High School in 1982 and subsequently made inquiries into the Futuro House with a view to possibly buying it. He was not able to locate the owner until 1985 but the Futuro disappeared from the site that year and Arthur was unable to find out anything about where it had gone.
In another email we received this week Achim Breiling told us about a comment referencing another "bright orange Futuro" in the UK. The comment appeared on a 2012 Guardian article titled "Futuro - the ideal home that wasn't"; we have read this article several times but never noticed the comment so thanks for pointing it out Achim.
The comment, by Mudhutter, reads:
"There used to be one of these behind a farmhouse on Courage Low Lane in Wrightington near Wigan. It was bright orange. It is easy though to confuse modernity with mere novelty."
There is no indication of a date and no evidence of a Futuro at that location now. It is possible there was another Futuro but given the lack of evidence for multiple Futuros in the UK, comments on Facebook (see the Todmorden Futuro) indicating Waterside Plastics made just two Futuros and the proximity of Burnley & Wrightington (a little over 30 miles apart) it seems quite possible that Wrightington may have been where the Orange Futuro landed after being moved from Burnley.
Original Information 102614
Recently several comments on the Remembering Cutgate Facebook Page referencing the Todmorden Futuro suggested that Waterside Plastics actually manufactured two Futuros. We had not been able to find out anything further but then we were contacted by Arthur Russell-Dallamore who told us he had:
"... recently found out the name of these unique buildings although I have been interested in them since the 1980s as I was at Ivy Bank high School [Burnley, UK] and a bright orange Futuro was in the school grounds and was used as a class room but soon after I left school the Futuro vanished ..."
We typically add "reports" of a Futuro to the "Myths & Legends" page unless there is additional evidence or multiple reports but since this report is actually a personal recollection we felt that it did "confirm" a second, now location unknown, Futuro in the UK and so we have added it here rather than the "Myths & Legends" page. It also seems highly likely that this was a second unit manufactured by Waterside Plastics rather than a unit from a another source.
Got an interesting little "snippet" of information about this Futuro this past week from Daniel Calderbank who was related to the owner of the Futuro and recalled visiting it as a kid; Dan indicated that the Futuro was used "to put up guests".
He also added that he thought it had been purchased from the coal board or some other industrial trade organization. This is not the first time we have come across indications of the involvement of some such organization with Futuro as it is also inferred by this photo of a pair of Futuros at an unknown location in the UK. The Futuros appear to be in an exhibition setting and one of them has a "solid fuel" logo in one of the windows. They also appear to be the same color as the Wrightington Futuro.
Thanks for the information Dan.
Adam Ruddock recently sent us an email in which he tells us that he recalls this Futuro being displayed at the Wigan Town Show at Mesnes Park in Wigan prior to it being moved to Courage Low Lane. If anyone can add any further information about this we would love to hear from you. We can be contacted directly by email or via our Contact Form.
Original Information 050915
Recently Brian M. Carr sent us these two photos. The photos, one exterior and one interior, are of a Futuro in Lancashire, UK in the 1970's. Brian tells us the Futuro was owned by his Godfather the Isle of Man TT motorcycle racer Jimmy Baybutt. The "fate" of the Futuro is not known; Baybutt is now long deceased and Brian has since lost contact with his family.
Futuros in the UK were manufactured by Waterside Plastics and until very recently, at least as far as we knew, there was only a single documented example (see the Todmorden Futuro). That changed when comments on the Facebook page Remembering Cutgate in the latter half of 2014 suggested that in fact multiple examples were manufactured and in particular Steven Newell, whose father was the was production manager for Waterside Plastics, recalled that two Futuros were manufactured.
Shortly afterwards we were contacted by Arthur Russell-Dallamore who recalled a bright orange Futuro on the grounds of Ivy Bank high School (Burnley, UK) in the 1970's and 1980's and in January 2015 GSM sent us a link to a newspaper article (dating from 050274) that included photos of this Futuro. Arthur Russell-Dallamore places the Futuro at the school through 1985.
A comment on a 2012 Guardian article titled "Futuro - the ideal home that wasn't by Mudhutter reported that there had also been a Futuro behind a farmhouse on Courage Low Lane in Wrightington near Wigan, Lancashire. This too was bright orange. There was no date information associated with Mudhutter's comment and though it was only conjecture we concluded that most likely this was where a second UK Futuro went after it was removed from Ivy bank High School (see the Burnley Futuro).
Brian however informs us that the photos of the Futuro owned by his Godfather were taken in the 1970's. As we can see from the photos this Futuro was also orange and Wrightington (the location previously reported by Mudhutter) is in Lancashire. The photo also illustrates a location that, at least to us, can reasonably be considered to match the description "behind a farmhouse". So we believe it is reasonable to conclude that Brian's photos are of a Futuro located in Wrightington, Lancashire in the 1970's.
The Ivy Bank High School Futuro was there at a minimum from 050274 through 1985. It is possible that this Futuro was in Wrightington between manufacture and 1974 when it moved to Ivy Bank High School. Perhaps one or more recollections are incorrect on dates and the Ivy Bank High School Futuro moved to Wrightington in 1985. On the other hand it seems just as likely that it was a different Futuro. You might even postulate that there was only a single UK Futuro that was manufactured, spent time in Todmorden, was then moved to either Ivy Bank High School or Wrightington (and repainted) and then later moved to the other location.
In the end, as is often the case, the history is unclear but, on balance, we are now of the opinion that at least three Futuros were manufactured by Waterside Plastics. The white one seen in various photographs around Todmorden, the orange one located at Ivy Bank High School in the 1970's and 1980's and the one located in Wrightington (and seen above) in the 1970's. The fate of these Futuros is completely unknown to us though it seems likely they no longer exist; we have to believe if there was a Futuro (other than Craig Barnes' "Futuro 22") currently in the UK there would be some evidence of this.
If anyone can provide any more information that might shed a little light on the "fate" of the Waterside Plastics Futuros or for that matter confirm how many were actually manufactured please let us know. We can be contacted directly by email or via our Contact Form.
Brian M. Carr
Doncaster, Victoria, Australia
Brett Colquhoun has made several contributions to these pages and has a collection of great vintage photos (see The Colquhoun Archive). He recently sent us the photo below (it can also be found on Instagram).
Given the fact the unit was located at a shopping center (and that there was at least one other portable housing unit on display - see this photo) this was likely a temporary exhibition or marketing event rather than the location of a Futuro that someone had purchased and located so it could be argued this is not really a "lost soul" in the sense that we normally mean it.
That said it is clearly a site at which a Futuro was located even if only for a short time and the subsequent fate of that Futuro is currently unknown so in the strictest sense it fits the bill as a "lost soul" and so here it sits.
"... used it as a kind of rec-room for parties and staying over with friends."
Eric was actually involved in the manufacturing of both the Lake Memphremagog Futuro and the Mont Blanc Futuro recalling that around 1977-78 he:
"... worked on both the Futuro located at Gibraltar Point, Lake Memphremagog and the one situated at Mont Blanc. The fiberglass molds forming the panels were fabricated by Bombardier ... Bill Postlethwaite, Frank McNair and myself all contributed to the finishing work of the two spacecraft."
Eric went on to recount some of the history of the Lake Memphremagog Futuro telling us that it:
"... was given to one of the investors in the Futuro Canadian Venture. His name was Barry Campbell and (he) was a major investor, As this project was tanking one of the two fiberglass shells was proposed as his settlement. Our father was also an investor and he sold Barry the property. Barry, then had to dish out a lot more funds to complete the unit (I think he would have been further ahead had he walked away from this).
We then hired silo builders to create the base floor for this Futuro which then became a permanent structure. It sat on top of the silo and we built an inside staircase to access the spaceship deck. The unit was very hot in the summer with very poor ventilation and only a couple of windows that could open on the ground (concrete) floor."
Eventually Campbell sold the property and the new owners Alan and Joan Gordon had the Futuro removed and demolished the silo. Eric believes the Futuro itself was removed but has no recollection of what became of it.
Original Information 112615
Craig Barnes (owner of "Futuro 22") recently forwarded us an email he received from Eric Fisher who recounted that he helped:
"... prepare, assemble and finish the interior of two Futuro's in Canada."
What is really interesting here is of course the mention of two Futuros. To date we have only been aware of the Mont Blanc example. Of the second Futuro Eric recalled that it:
"... became a vacation home. It was always very humid and hot in the summer, but a great place for parties. The windows upstairs were sealed and it was placed on top of a concrete silo with the bottom windows opening. The stairs option which lowered down was not incorporated.
Eric also added that the molds for the Canadian Futuros were fabricated by the Canadian aerospace and transportation company Bombardier.
In subsequent correspondence with Eric he informed us that the second Futuro had been located near Lake Memphremagog and was brown in color. Finally Eric indicates that:
"... one of the neighbours purchased the land that the Brown Futuro was situated on and had it taken away, I believe in pieces. Most likely it is deteriorating in some yard in the Eastern Townships."
Looking at photos of Mont Blanc it looks like that Futuro likely was also missing the standard entry/stairs. Though the entry itself is present and appears standard in the photo of the Futuro by the swimming pool we see a concrete stairway up to the entrance and in the photos of the unit on the ski-slope there is no stairway. It is unclear how one gained entry though there is a door in the concrete supporting structure so perhaps there was a ladder or steps leading up into the center of the Futuro; pure conjecture of course.
If anyone has any additional information about or perhaps even photos of the Lake Memphremagog Futuro we would love to hear from you. As always we can be contacted through our Contact Form or directly by email
Other than this small grainy newspaper ad photo we had never seen a photo of this Futuro during its days in Wellington serving as an office for a car dealership. That is - until now!
This photo, dating from 1975, shows the unit as it was on Willis Street in September 1975. The photo was posted to Instagram 092720 by slides_worth_seeing; the original photo can be found here.
We are all now used to world where pretty much everything you could ever want to know about anything is available at a moment's notice on the internet and seemingly immortalized forever. Of course it was not that way back in the early days for Futuro and establishing a definitive history for any individual Futuro can be challenging as there is almost always some combination of missing, inaccurate or confusing data resulting from the absence of digital records and a reliance on people's memories (some are great but we know from personal experience memory often gets it wrong).
All of that said by adding information from a series of email threads recently with Graeme Farr to what was already known about this Futuro (and also considering the known whereabouts of other units at particular times; Futuro's are awesome but to our knowledge no individual Futuro can be in two places at the same time) we can expand on the previous information and put together the following as the most likely history of this Futuro.
Some of this timeline is well documented (and previously noted on this page but repeated here in order to present a single contiguous timeline) and some of it still relies, at least in part, on some (educated) assumptions and a perhaps a little conjecture here and there. Graeme, thanks for the great sleuthing efforts, for sharing the results and for pointing us to Retrolens - we were unaware of that great resource.
The presence of two Futuros at the 1974 British Commonwealth Games which ran from 012474 through 020274 is well documented (more information can be found here). One of these is believed to have been the first of the two Huntsbury Futuros. In respect of the second an article (see here and here) published in issue #86 (1976) of the magazine Designscape reports it had:
"subsequently been bought by a Wellington Car Dealer for use as an office in the car yard"
The newspaper advertisement shown at left aligns with this suggestion and places the unit on Upper Willis Street.
A trip to Retrolens and a little searching provides us with some dated aerial imagery and informs us the Futuro arrived at Willis Street sometime prior to 110674 and was removed sometime between 102878 and 090980 based on the images below dated 110674 (Futuro present), 102878 (Futuro present) and 090980 (no Futuro) respectively.
Hard to tell the color of the Futuro on Willis Street given that both the newspaper advertisement and the aerial shots are black and white and the Futuro once in Kuratau is sometimes reported as being green and sometimes silver so it is difficult to determine specifically which of the two Futuros moved from the games to Willis Street. The timing of course is fine, the games ended 020274 and the Futuro can be seen on Willis in aerial imagery by 110674 so the Futuro was clearly relocated between those two dates and then removed from the site between 102878 and 090980.
As to where it went; a comment on the blog "Gorgeous With Attitude" provides a clue when Mark Percival states:
"I worked as a Traffic Officer in the late 70s / 80s and I remember escorting one of the car yard 'space ships' from Lower Hutt to Turangi where it was to be used as a bach. It was a smaller structure than the house model but still quite wide hence the escort. We moved it at night and it was all lit up on the back of a house transporter. I particularly remember watching it behind me going across the Foxton road bridge. It was very foggy to bridge height and all you could see was the 'spaceship' 'hovering' just above the bridge as if flew over."
A return trip to Retrolens, this time taking a look at 23 Pihanga Rd, Kuratau, tells us that a Futuro arrived on Pihanga Rd, Kuratau (specifically 23 Pihanga Rd, Kuratau - 38º53'38.65"S 17546'8.63"E) sometime between 041479 (top image below - no Futuro visible) and 112686 (bottom two images below with the Futuro visible and marked). Assuming the Futuro left Willis Street and went directly to Pihanga Road that move would have had to take place sometime between 041479 (earliest date it could have been at Pihanga Road) and 090980 (last date it could have been on Willis Street).
Now to be fair Lower Hutt is not Willis Street, the two are 10 miles or so apart. Similarly Turangi and Kuratau are different places, this time some 12 miles or so apart.
It is possible, and were it our memory perhaps even quite likely, that with the "end points" being so close together and the journey taking place over 30 years in the past that the references just got slightly confused.
It is also possible that there were additional stops along the way. Car dealers often have more than one lot, perhaps the Futuro moved from Willis Street to another lot in Lower Hutt. Perhaps the Futuro was located in Turangi for a time (though there is also a Pihanga Road in Turangi; additional potential for information to get "fuzzy"?). The window would have been between 102878 and 112686; from the last time the unit can definitively be placed on Willis Street to the first time it can definitively be placed on Pihanga Road.
Of course there is also the possibility we are talking about different Futuros but after taking into account what is known about not only this Futuro but all of the New Zealand Futuros in terms of numbers, dates and movements we think this is a very unlikely scenario and we are quite confident this Futuro (with or without intermediate stops) moved from Willis Street to Pihanga Road.
In 1989 Lois Bennie purchased the 23 Pihanga Rd property with it's "sitting" Futuro. In conversations with Graeme Farr Lois mentioned she thought the Futuro might have come from Paremata (north of Wellington) where it had been used at a motel; Paremata is a little further north of Wellington then Lower Hutt but in the same general area.
Seems like maybe another example of conflicting memories and information but as with Lower Hutt and Turangi it is equally possible we have "fuzzy memories" or additional locations; the timelines and data there would not be in conflict with either. Lois also recalled that the immediately previous owners of the property "were a group of owners and people would turn up in the middle of the night and be gone by the morning". There could of course be any number of explanations for that; perhaps it was used as a stop-over between Auckland and Wellington as its about half way or maybe something a little more dubious - drug deals? Who knows!
In 1991 Lois sold the Futuro (not the Pihanga Road property itself) to the Aarsen family who then moved the unit about 10km inland from Lake Taupo to Kuratau Junction. The Futuro was moved by road in a fully assembled state as can be seen in this photograph.
Halei Aarsen, whose mother purchased the Futuro, recalls that they owned the Futuro for some 4 or 5 years and then sold (or gave) it back to the previous owner. Fuzzy memories again perhaps; Lois Bennie did not get the Futuro back, she had been glad to see it go, so it would have had to be an owner previous to Lois. Halei's mother had said whoever got it had a terminal illness and wanted it back to recall happier times. Halei on the other hand wonders if that was just a "story for the kids" when in fact her mother simply wanted rid of it.
Halei indicated that during its time at Kuratau Junction they loved the Futuro and used it for a sleepout or playhouse rather than a bedroom and recalled that it had no bathroom and continuous squab seating around the perimeter. The Futuro was visible from the road and at night if they heard a car coming down the hill and they would flash the lights on and off to surprise the drivers coming past over a bridge. Apparently they were made to stop their antics when one of the cars hit the bridge!
Towards the end of its stay at Kuratau Junction the Futuro was moved to a temporary location until it was collected for relocation to its next home. Recollections of the specifics of that temporary location are not 100% clear and there are two possible positions. In the screenshot below the position of the Futuro during its time at Kuratau Junction (38º52'46.92"S 175º40'50.07"E) as well as the two possible temporary (or "transit") sites are marked.
Where exactly the Futuro went next is unclear. There are reports that it was actually moved to Thames and the timelines would support that but there is no real evidence and then there is the Aarsen recollection that it was returned to a previous owner.
So, in summary, we believe the most likely timeline for this Futuro is that it started life as one of the two Futuros seen at the 1974 Commonwealth Games after which it was relocated to the Willis Street location. Then it either went directly to 23 Pihanga Road or it made that move with intermediate stops in one or both of Lower Hutt and Paremata. From Pihanga Road it moved a short distance inland from Lake Taupo to Kuratau Junction. It left Kuratau Junction 1995 or thereabouts but its next destination is not clear.
Original Information 082016
Until now information on this Futuro had been on the "Myths & Legends" page. However we recently received an email from Kylie Walker that "tied together" several pieces of information and prompted us to move this unit over here to the "Lost Souls" page.
We were actually already aware of most of what Kylie told us but we had never managed to "put two and two together" and link the various pieces of information. Kylie however was able to put together a likely "journey" for this Futuro from manufacture to Pihanga Road. Still nothing after that though. Kylie - many thanks for the info.
Evidence suggests that the first of the two may have ultimately ended up as the first of the two units now in Huntsbury (more information here and here).
The second, according to the Designscape article was sold to a car dealer in Wellington. The newspaper advertisement at left that Kylie sent us confirms a car dealership in Wellington did indeed use a Futuro for an office.
Kylie then refers us to the blog Gorgeous With Attitude and a comment by Mark Percival (we had seen the article previously but before the comment was posted). Mark's comment reads:
"I worked as a Traffic Officer in the late 70s / 80s and I remember escorting one of the car yard 'space ships' from Lower Hutt to Turangi where it was to be used as a bach. It was a smaller structure than the house model but still quite wide hence the escort. We moved it at night and it was all lit up on the back of a house transporter. I particularly remember watching it behind me going across the Foxton road bridge. It was very foggy to bridge height and all you could see was the 'spaceship' 'hovering' just above the bridge as if flew over it."
Lower Hutt is around 17 km from Willis Street according to Google. Given the close proximity and the fact that both locations are linked to a car dealership it is quite possible the unit was at some point relocated from Willis Street to Lower Hutt (many car dealers have more than one lot). Moving on, and again referencing Google, Turangi is around 19 km from Kuratau and, interestingly, both Turangi and Kuratau have a Pihanga Road. Seems likely one or other reference is a little off and we are talking about a single Futuro.
The bottom line is that while, as is often the case, there is no certainty in early Futuro history we could reasonably infer that this Futuro was one of the two seen at the 1974 Commonwealth Games. It was then used as office space by a car dealership or dealerships first on Willis Street in Wellington and then in Lower Hutt. Finally it was moved to Pihanga Road in either Turangi or Kuratau. Where she is now; no idea.
While we had already seen, and in some cases referenced on this site, the information Kylie sent us we had for sure not "put two and two together" so a big thanks to Kylie for doing so.
We received a communication from Graeme Farr during the past week. Graeme tells us that:
"There was a Futuro in Pihanga Road, Kuratau, near Taupo, in New Zealand. Was there probably 20 yrs - disappeared about 10 yrs ago."
This is not a location we recall ever hearing about and so far we have not been able unearth anything on the web about a possible Futuro at this location and Google Earth only has satellite imagery of the area back as far as 2007.
If anyone knows anything about a Futuro once located on Pihanga Road, Kuratau, New Zealand we would love to hear from you. We can be contacted by email or via our Contact Form.
Pipersville, PA, USA
We received an email from Sheri Knauer recently in which she recounted her personal recollections of a Futuro north of Doylestown, PA. The interesting thing is the Futuro Sheri recalled was situated on the ground and not on top of a silo. Friends of Sheri also recalled this Futuro and also recalled it being at ground level. In addition Sheri was able to point us to a specific location in Google Earth where historical imagery shows what could be a Futuro on Route 611 around 7 or so miles north of Doylestown and something over a mile south of Pipersville. Sheri - thanks for the info.
The images below show satellite imagery found in Google Earth for various dates; the location of the (possible) Futuro is 40°24'38.13"N 75°09'8.81"W.
The first image dates from 032892 and clearly shows a round structure that appears to be the correct diameter for a Futuro. Though impossible to be sure the shadows visible in the imagery suggest it originates from around the middle of the day when the sun was near its highest and that the Futuro (if indeed that is what the imagery shows) was likely mounted on top of the silo. That said the photo below clearly shows the diameter of the silo was greater than that of the Futuro and the imagery does not appear to show this though it is rather unclear.
The next image, from 041299, if anything suggests that the object visible at that time was not a Futuro as there is what appears to be a "cut out" portion of the structure on the south side. The shadows again suggest a structure with some height; perhaps the silo with the Futuro moved? Might that explain the photos of it on top of the silo like structure and also the recollections of folks who lived in the area of a Futuro at ground level? The diameter of this object appears to be around 32 feet, greater than that of a Futuro.
Difficult to really deduce anything from the imagery from 123101, shadows are not readily visible and while there is a round object the imagery is unclear and it is difficult to have any certainty about what the object actually is. It does appear to be around 32 feet in diameter so it could represent the silo with the Futuro on top.
Finally by 060504 all that is visible is what appears to be the foundation of a no longer present structure - also around 32 feet in diameter; perhaps what was left of the silo like structure?
In the end, as is often the case with information from back in the early days of Futuro, it is difficult to be certain. Given the newspaper photo there was clearly a Futuro in the area located on top of a silo like structure and there was clearly a Futuro in the area located at ground level given that multiple people local to the area at the time recall this. What is unclear is whether these were one and the same Futuro and what the Google Earth imagery is actually showing us.
While possible we think that it is unlikely that there were two Futuros in the area located so closely together and so, though total conjecture, our best guess would be that the Futuro started off located at ground level sometime prior to 1992, represented in the earliest imagery, and that at some point a silo like structure was built and the Futuro was placed on top of that, The entire structure was then gone by 2004.
Original Information 100116
The 080195 issue of the The Philadelphia Inquirer includes a short story under the headline "E.T., phone home". The included photo, below right, clearly shows a Futuro though the article does not positively identify it as such and actually starts out this way:
"What is it? Where did it come from? What's going to happen to it? These are questions that officials and residents of Pipersville have been asking for years about what looks to be a flying saucer perched atop a shed like silo/storage structure in a junk littered field alongside Route 611 in that Bucks County community."
The article goes on to liken the structure to the "home of the future exhibit called Futuro that was displayed in '69 and '70 ... in Philadelphia" or the diner that used to be on Township Line Road but goes on to conclude that it cannot be positively identified as a Futuro; we tend to disagree, to us this is without doubt a Futuro.
The article reports that the local administration considered the structure "whatever it is" to be there illegally and adds that town officials had tried unsuccessfully for about 10 years to get the owner, who apparently sometimes lived in the structure, to remove it.
Two additional articles (without photos) in the The Philadelphia Inquirer, one from 090595 and the other from 091195, continue the process of attempting to identify the structure.
In the first of these articles a local suggests the structure is a Futuro and likens it to similar structures in Seaside Heights and Harvey Cedars. Again the reporter does not appear ready to conclude definitively that the structure was a Futuro.
Finally, with the third installment, the reporter did conclude the structure was a Futuro House after a report from another local, who had worked for City Federal Savings in the 1970's, that recalled the use of Futuros as "Space Banks". So; "third times a charm" and the reporter just needed several confirmations that this was a Futuro before accepting that conclusion.
Google Earth does have satellite imagery dating as far back as the early 1990's for the area but despite spending a little time checking imagery from several different dates we have so far been unable to identify the exact location of the Futuro. The older imagery is rather unclear and grainy and so frankly it would be easy to miss the structure. Almost certainly it is no longer there as more recent satellite imagery is crystal clear and such a structure would be easy to spot.
Whether the Futuro was demolished or moved to a new location is unknown, at least to us, and so it earns its place on this page of "Lost Souls".
As always if anyone has any additional information we would love to hear from you (we can be contacted directly by email or via our Contact Form).
In a recent email Anthony Hoffman recounted his recollections of this Futuro - thanks Anthony.
Anthony tells us the Futuro was located at 33°54'11.73"S 150°56'33.63"E, now the Holiday Inn at Warwick Farm located at 355 Hume Hwy, Warwick Farm NSW 2170.
Anthony recalls that:
"At the time, this property was a hotel and the Futuro was located on the southern side of the hotel. It was used as a cafe or similar as I would often see people sitting at the windows and drinking."
and adds that the Futuro was at the location from sometime in the 70's to well into the 80's though he does not recall when it was removed. Though not discernible from the photos below Anthony added that the Futuro was a yellowish color.
Original Information 051420
Links to the three photos below were recently sent to us by Yves Buysse (thanks Yves).
The photos, by John Nobley, show a Futuro located in Warwick Farm, a suburb of Sydney, Australia. They are dated 010182, 110182 and Jan 1st 1900; clearly the last date is inaccurate but they do likely date from 1982.
The photos are accompanied by this description:
"A Swedish space-age bubble house made of fiber glass at Warwick Farm which is for sale for $20,000. One of only five imported into Australia in the last ten years the bubble can be taken apart and put together on new foundations easily. It has its own stand and the owner, Mr. J. Island, has used the bubble as a wine tasting room and office since he bought it five years ago."
This backs up the idea that the photos date from 1982, the reference to "the last 10 years" would date back to 1972 about the time the Futuro first appeared in Australia (though to our knowledge the Australian units were manufactured under license in Australia and not imported from Finland). The commentary also indicates the Futuro had been at this location for about 5 years.
We have not come across mention of a Futuro in this location previously and we have no idea whether it still exists, and if it does where it might be located. If anyone has any additional information about this Futuro please let us know.
In an interview in issue 20 (2/2013) of the French Fashion Magazine Purple Magazine, Mark Haddawy confirmed that this Futuro is indeed the Futuro that is now located in Los Angeles, CA, USA. Mark indicated he had spent the last four years restoring the unit after buying it in a (2009) "design auction".
The interview can be found here. The relevant question and answer reads as follows:
"OLIVIER ZAHM - Can you tell us about the '70s bubble house?
MARK HADDAWY - Matti Suuronen designed the Futuro house in 1968. I bought it in a design auction and had it moved to Los Angeles from Colorado. I've spent the last four years restoring it."
It seems like the world of Futuros is a small one indeed. In all of the times we have read this Press Of Atlantic City article about Matt Damon's purchase of the ex Morey's Pier Futuro (currently located in Greenwich, NJ) we have never noticed the following until now:
"The Greenwich Futuro is the second Damon has owned. The first one he bought in Colorado but had to sell at a loss when the economy went south more than a year ago."
This article was published in 2009 so in theory that would put the sale of the one in Colorado somewhere around 2008. Unless there was a second Colorado Futuro (and we have never seen anything that would suggest that is the case) the one being referred to is this one. We know this Futuro has been sold several times; 2003, 2006 and at auction in 2009. Likely Damon owned it either for the period 2003 to 2006 or from 2006 to 2009. Either way that makes it likely that Damon owned two Futuros for a period of time since the 2009 Press Of Atlantic City article indicates he purchased the Futuro now in Greenwich "a few years ago".
Original Information 072812
There was a Futuro House located at 715 Clark Road, Bailey, CO 80421, USA (39°30'22.92"N 105°31'58.32"W) until sometime in 2009. This great shot by thegreatlandoni was taken 092901.
The clearest imagery available in Google Earth is dated 061605 (screen shot below) though there is data from 032606 showing the unit still on site. The next data set is dated 092311 and the Futuro is long gone.
The Futuro seems to have been for sale several times in 2003, 2006 and 2009. The first sale was in 2003 and, perhaps appropriately enough for a "Futuro" the sale was via a very modern medium; EBay. Len Peltier of FuturoHouse.com collected details and some photos from the EBay listing prior to the sale; the EBay listing itself long ago became inaccessible. In part the vendor's description read:
"Flying Saucer/Spaceship Home. Round, insulated fiberglass shell, silver, supported by 4 legs! ... Bedroom, full bath, cozy kitchen, w/living room. Has full electric heat ... and front door opens downward with a garage door opener!"
The description also indicates that the Futuro was on a 1.2 acre "very private" lot and that while things like the bed, a couple of couches and a stove were included with the Futuro the alien toys were not! Also included in the listing was square footage which was listed as 550 and the "year built" which was listed as 1974; that puts it right at the time the Futuro's were being manufactured and suggests that the Futuro had only ever been at this location.
The Futuro sold in April 2003 but after the sale it remained on the same lot. The pictures below (courtesy of FuturoHouse.com where you can see many more pictures) show the Futuro as it was at the time.
Three years later the Futuro was again on the market; this time by more conventional means - using the services of a realtor. A pdf of the 2006 MLS listing can be found here. The image below shows the Futuro as it was at the time (taken from the MLS listing).
Of note in the MLS listing is that the "year built" is listed as 1970; the previous EBay sale listing stated 1974. That could be anything from a typo to "year built" meaning something different each time. With a conventional home "year built" could also be interpreted as "year on site"; kind of hard to move a regular home. In the case of a Futuro however that is not true; they were built to be portable.
So; does "year built" 1970 mean the date the Futuro was constructed and "year built" 1974 mean the date it was on this site. There is nothing we have found that can tell us so drawing any kind of conclusion would just be conjecture though on balance whatever the year we tend to be of the opinion that this was the first and only location of this Futuro through 2006.
The two images below are from the MLS listing and show the interior of the Futuro in 2006. There are additional images in the MLS listing.
Following this sale it again appears that the Futuro remained in the same location. While Google Earth cannot place it there (Google Earth has it on site 032606 and gone 092311 but has nothing in between) if we jump forward to the 2009 sale there is documentation indicating that the Futuro was still in Bailey at that time.
"Matti Suuronen Futuro house Polykem AB Finland, 1968 fiberglass and polyurethane foam visit the Futuro House minisite Literature: Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday , Home and Taanila Plastic as Plastic , Museum of Contemporary Crafts exhibition catalog, 1968-1969, pg. 33 illustrates example visit the Futuro House minisite.
The house is in need of complete restoration. The exterior fiberglass shell is intact and has been painted a metallic silver at one point. The front entrance door does not close properly. There are metal skids attached to the house to facilitate shipping.
The interior has been altered and most of the original elements have been removed. Built-in cabinets have been added. Plumbing and electrical will need to be updated and replaced. Windows all original, with three having been augmented to accommodate smaller rectangular, sliding glass windows.
Extra images available, the house is located outside of Denver, Colorado and is available for viewing by appointment. Transportation of the Futuro The Futuro is currently located in Bailey, Colorado, and can be relocated to any destination. It can be shipped in one piece or disassembled into as little as eight sections for transportation. A number of shippers specialize in the transportation of oversize items and can assist in coordinating the logistics of the transport. For quotes and specific information concerning the coordination of shipment you will need to speak with a shipper directly. For a list of shippers please contact Emilie Sims at 312 235 4181 or email@example.com."
Wright's website record for Lot #138 indicates that the estimate was in the range $50,000 - $70,000 and that the result of the auction was a sale for $50,000.
We have been unable to establish a definite destination for the Futuro but Google Earth clearly shows it was moved from the site between this sale and 092311. There is however a working hypothesis based on photographic evidence and available information regarding the locations of Futuro's in the USA. Take a look at the two images below; do you notice the striking similarity between the two Futuro's? In particular note the following:
The appearance of the vent/chimney in the center of the roof
The window insert to the left of the door
The silver metallic finish
The seam between sections to the right of the door
Now there are other Futuro's that have some of these characteristics but we do not recall any one unit having all of them. So - could they be the same - the other Futuro shown is the one on Torreyson Drive in Los Angeles, California (Image Credit on that page). So is there any evidence to suggest these are one and the same?
The Los Angeles Futuro was not on site 052409; it was there by 111409 (Google earth satellite imagery dates)
The Bailey Futuro sold at auction 060209 and was removed from Bailey sometime before 092311 (Google Earth satellite imagery dates)
There is no report of where the LA Futuro had been previously that we have yet found
There is no report of where the Bailey Futuro went that we have yet found
Most USA Futuro's are fairly well documented and based on Google Earth satellite imagery and confirmed dates for USA Futuro's there are no other likely candidates
So; while we cannot say for certain it seems highly likely that the Futuro now in LA was the one from Bailey and that it was moved soon after the sale by Wright on 060209.
This Futuro has now been found in Auckland, NZ. Any future updates in respect of this Futuro will be made on the Auckland Page.
The CD Astronaut by New Zealand band The Feelers features a photo of this Futuro on both the cover and the actual CD.
The original post on Thames below included some information (or perhaps conjecture) on the manufacture of Futuros in New Zealand and in particular in the Thames area. (see here).
Futuro Homes NZ Ltd. (1972 - 1987) is the company most commonly reported as being the manufacturer of the New Zealand Futuros (opencorporates.com listing | New Zealand Companies Office listing | Certificate of Incorporation) but there was also some evidence suggesting that New Zealand Futuros were manufactured in Christchurch or Thames by Orbital Homes Ltd. Opencorporates.com indicates that this company was incorporated (as Thames Homes Ltd. see Certificate of Incorporation here) in 1967 and dissolved in 2001. Over the course of its life the company traded under the names Thames Homes Ltd. (1967 to 1971), Peninsular Builders Ltd. (1971 to 1996) and finally Orbital Homes Ltd. until it was dissolved. One Stewart Graham Harris of Thames, New Zealand was listed as the primary shareholder of this company.
It is often difficult to determine exactly what companies were actually licensed to manufacture and/or distribute Futuros and it seems that often there were multiple levels of licensing in place. The two photos shown here which we came across on Facebook both relate to Futuro in the Thames area and in one case we can also find a tie to Stewart Graham Harris so there is clearly some relationship between the various companies; quite what the structure was we have not been able to determine.
The photo to the left, which was posted to the Thames NZ: Genealogy & History Facebook Page shows a Futuro, referred to as the "Home Of The Future", that was presumably manufactured and/or for sale by Kitset Homes of Thames. Stewart Graham Harris was the primary shareholder of Kitset Homes (nzlbusiness.com).
The photo below, dated 101475 and also posted to the Thames NZ: Genealogy & History Facebook Page, shows a Futuro on display at a builder's property in Kopu (less than 10 kilometers from Thames). The Futuro is not actually referred to as such in the descriptive text accompanying the photo.
Various comments on these Facebook posts seem to tie the Kopu Futuro to Thames and also to Graham Harris. In particular in one comment Futuros are recalled as being "In the yard at Regent Homes by the Kopu Bridge" and in another we are told "Graham Harris was the owner of Regent Homes".
For sure none of this makes the picture any clearer, far from it, but it is clear Stewart Graham Harris was very much associated with the Futuro with evidence connecting him to several different companies all of which appear to have been involved in either the manufacturing or the sale of Futuros (or perhaps both).
Nadia Kennington has let us know that her photograph of the Futuro displayed below was taken December 2004.
Original Information 092212
There was a Futuro House located in Thames, New Zealand until sometime between 123100 and 123106 (37°8'41.27"S 175°32'34.58"E | 111 Queen St, Thames 3500, New Zealand). The image below is a Google Earth screen capture; Google Earth indicates the date of the satellite imagery is 123100 and it clearly shows the Futuro. Later dated satellite imagery in Google Earth (123106) shows that the Futuro is no longer on site.
The photograph below was taken by Nadia Kennington Photography and is displayed here with permission. The image is dated 050312 but likely that is the upload date; comments on Flickr indicate that the image was taken "a few years ago" and as stated above Google Earth indicates the Futuro was long gone by 2012.
The images below are from a series of photos on futurohouse.com (the series is dated December 2004) and they clearly show that the Futuro was in a derelict state prior to its removal from Thames; to date we have no information on its subsequent whereabouts or whether there are any plans to attempt to restore the unit. Visit the excellent Futuro site futurohouse.com to see the original images.
The latest confirmation of the unit being on site in Thames appears to be this photo taken 071806 by destrifan (permission requested). Given the Google Earth imagery that shows the Futuro no longer on site as of 123106 it appears we can place the move to "location unknown" sometime between July 2006 and December 2012.
In a blog post dated 052306 The Tomahawk Kid provides some historical information about the Futuro though still no indication of its current whereabouts.
The Tomahawk Kid indicates that on a visit to Thames he tracked down the original owner of the Thames Futuro (one of the original Futuro franchise owners in New Zealand). The Futuro had at some point been traded to a man named Mike Peti. Apparently the trade included the original moulds used during manufacture. In a subsequent sale the Futuro (and presumably the moulds also) became the property of one Mike Zero, owner of a (now defunct as far as we can establish) shop called "Hunters and Collectors" in Auckland. Rumor has it that at some point Zero lost everything he had, including the Futuro, because of a drug problem. The Tomahawk Kid adds that the current owner of the Futuro lives in Auckland but provides no further information.
In his post The Tomahawk Kid also writes that New Zealand Futuros were manufactured in Christchurch by Orbital Homes Ltd. Opencorporates.com indicates that this company was incorporated (as Thames Homes Ltd. see Certificate of Incorporation here) in 1967 and dissolved in 2001. Over the course of its life the company traded under the names Thames Homes Ltd. (1967 to 1971), Peninsular Builders Ltd. (1971 to 1996) and finally Orbital Homes Ltd. until it was dissolved.
Shareholders and directors of the company were Stewart Graham Harris of Thames, New Zealand and Ashley Gavin Harris of Mission Viejo, CA, USA. Interestingly in among a series of documents available from the New Zealand Companies Office website (access the documents as a PDF file here) it appears that in 1999 the shares and directorship were transferred to one Michael Peti which is one of the individuals The Tomahawk Kid indicates owned the Thames Futuro at one time. There do not appear to be documents transferring the shares and directorship back to the Harris's but the latest information from New Zealand Companies Office website does still list the Harris's as shareholders and directors.
There is very little documented evidence that this company had anything to do with the Futuro House other than the blog post by The Tomahawk Kid. We did find a brief "hearsay" and somewhat circumstantial suggestion that Futuros may have been manufactured in both Christchurch and Thames in an 071110 blog post on the blog "Gorgeous With Attitude".
In what is probably the definitive reference document on the history of the Futuro House "Futuro - Tomorrow's House from Yesterday By Marko Home and Mika Taanila" guest contributor Paul McNeil writes (page 123) that with a promising looking future Futuro Homes NZ Ltd. had plans to open a second factory on the North Island by 1977. There are no further details but perhaps this plan involved Orbital Homes Ltd. (then Thames Homes Ltd.).
Based on a little research following an email we received from Martin Williams it now seems that our conclusion that the Cheltenham Futuro was one of the two previously located at Scoresby and auctioned in 2004 was in error. Specifically both Scoresby Futuros can be placed at locations other than Cheltenham on dates that there was already a Futuro in Cheltenham.
More information can be found in the Sokil Arts Eco Retreat section that has been added to this page as a result of the same Martin Williams email.
As for Scoresby we are leaving the status of both Scoresby Futuros as "Found" but updating that status to reflect Lorne and Sokil Arts Eco Retreat as the Futuros next locations (with the former being subsequently moved to the Perth area and the latter having its own status as "Lost" and an entry on this page in its own right).
As a result of that same email and that same research it has also become clear that the conclusion we reached regarding the photo of "The Otway Futuro" in the 021314 update to this section, specifically that it and the Lorne Futuro were one and the same was also in error and there were clearly Futuros at both Lorne and Otway with the latter specifically being at the Sokil Art Eco Retreat.
Update 090217 (2 Of 2 Found)
In the last update we concluded that the Futuro recently located on the side of a street in Cheltenham was likely the second of the two Scoresby Futuros. Following that update Paul McNeil emailed us telling us he actually recalled the auction and the buyer of the second Futuro. Paul tells it this way:
"New Futuro image I am pretty sure is the other futuro that was auctioned at Caribbean Gardens ... I can't remember the guy's name ... He owned a furniture making business. But people in melb keep telling me they keep walking past it. The guy came to auction and was interested, but only bought it because I told him what a bargain it was! And sure enough its still sitting there!"
Based on known history, disposition of the other known Futuros in the region and on Paul's recollection we are going to class the second Futuro as "Found" and now located in Cheltenham and any further updates in relation to this Futuro will now appear on the Cheltenham Futuro page. That said that is just our opinion and you may of course disagree. If anyone can add any certainty one way or the other please let us know.
A few days ago we came across the photo above on Instagram that showed a disassembled Futuro sitting on the side of street. Based on the comments that accompanied the post it was not difficult to track this down to an exact location in Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia.
Google Earth satellite imagery shows the Futuro on site as far back as 021206. Imagery dated 040505 though not 100% clear and conclusive appears to indicate the Futuro was not at this location at that time so most likely the Futuro arrived between those two dates.
It is possible this is the second of the two Scoresby Futuros that were auctioned in 2004 (the other was moved to Lorne and is now believed to be in the Perth area). While the timing is not perfect as it looks like this Futuro was not moved to Cheltenham until after 040505 it could have been stored somewhere for a period between removal from Scoresby (almost certainly in 2004) and arrival in Cheltenham. In addition the color is right and the roof vents also appear to match.
On balance while we think it likely this is the second of the two Scoresby Futuro's there is no evidence on which to say that with 100% certainty.
While this Futuro has sat on the side of the street for over a decade without issue we are not including the exact location here on this page. Seems like that would be an invitation to someone with a Futuro passion but no scruples who might otherwise never have known about this Futuro to drop by with a truck one night.
For the same reasons we are not including links or references to the Instagram post that alerted us to this Futuro; if we could locate it easily then so could others. However we do want to extend my thanks to the poster - you know who you are.
We know that the Lorne Futuro is one of the two from Scoresby and our first reaction was "cool, the other Scoresby Futuro" and off we went to Google Earth as we normally do with a possible "re-discovered" Futuro to see if we could pin down the location. Searching for Otway however did not bring up any cities, towns or villages which seemed odd. It seems that there is a region in Victoria known as the Otways and that Lorne is in fact located within that region.
That prompted us to go back to the photo and take a closer look. We cannot be sure and of course we could very well be mistaken; it would not be the first time and for sure it would not be the last, but we now believe that the "Otway" Futuro is also the "Lorne Futuro" for the following reasons:
Geography - no specific administration called Otway, Lorne being in "The Otways"
Both units are a similar color
Both units feature the large modification to the entry way as was seen in the two Scoresby Futuros
In each case the supporting structure for the modified entry way appears similar
Though taken from different angles, and likely different times of the year, the position of the trees in relation to the Futuro appears to be similar
However there are also some significant differences; there seem to be more trees in the "Otway" photo and the condition of the paintwork appears to be far better in the "Lorne" photo (the joints between the sections are not so prominent either). In addition the similarities could be expected since even if they were different units given the entryway configuration it seems almost certain that they would be the two Scoresby Futuros and therefore similar anyway. On balance we still tend to think they are one and the same and for now we will leave it that way.
That said we would be interested in other opinions and we would be particularly interested if someone could provide a definitive answer one way or the other; if you can let us know - you can use the Contact Form, email us or post in the Forum (and yes that is a shameless attempt to drum up business for our "ghost town" of a forum - we even started a thread).
In another Facebook post, again on the Futuro House Facebook Page, we find this great photo of the interior of one of the units from "back in the day".
Finally, and again in a Facebook post on the Futuro House Facebook Page, there is this excellent exterior shot of the two Futuros.
Our thanks to the Futuro House Facebook Page for the photos and providing an excellent Futuro resource.
Update 122113 (1 Of 2 Found)
One of these two units is now located and is "alive and kicking" and, what's more, up for sale. For details see the Lorne Futuro page.
Yesterday Russell White uploaded a great video to YouTube (the video itself indicates it was shot, produced and edited in 2004). Russell's video features the pair of Futuros that were located in Scoresby and includes a montage of stills along with video footage of the disassembly of one of the units in 2004.
The video does not have commentary; mostly it is accompanied by a soundtrack and in parts we hear conversation (albeit difficult to understand) among the individuals working on the disassembly of the unit. However the video along with the associated publisher's notes do provide some information that is new (at least to us).
In particular at the beginning of the video (around 18 seconds in) we see what was obviously a notice posted prior to the sale of the two units in 2004. We learn that the units were to be auctioned (a silent auction) 051104 with the two Futuros being auctioned separately rather than as a pair.
This notice goes on to state that the Futuros were to be removed from the site between 051404 and 052804 which narrows the move date down considerably from the window previously identified based on Google Earth satellite imagery. We imagine this notice does not definitively indicate the moves happened on time but the notice does say that failing to move on time would result in the winning bidder losing their payment and the Futuro(s) going to the next highest bidder so there was certainly a big incentive to move the units on time.
In addition the notice lists the company auctioning the Futuros as Caribbean Gardens Pty Ltd. A quick look on the web indicates the company is a Boat & Yacht Builder/Repairer.
The publisher's notes that accompany the video provide us with a clue as to the subsequent whereabouts of one of the units - we read that one of the units was destined for the:
"Aireys Inlet hinterland for use as a flop house for surfies and their fellow travelers"
Unless there was a subsequent move this would be an aditional unit located in Australia. We feel a stint in Google Earth/Maps coming on!
Original Information 093012
The image above is of a very cool looking pair of Futuros located at 1280 Ferntree Gully Rd, Scoresby VIC 3179, Australia (37°54'24.75"S 145°13'30.96"E) until the mid 2000's. The photo is from The Futuro House page on Facebook.
The two screenshots below are taken from Google Earth. The first, showing the Futuros on site, is from satellite imagery dated 040704 and the second, no longer showing the Futuros, is from satellite imagery dated 042805. From this we can clearly date the disappearence of these units from this site to somewhere between 040704 and 042805.
The only other photos we have been able to locate of this Futuro "double act" are by Matahina. The photos indicate they were taken 032108 but we believe this is more likely the upload date; the photos are grainy and "look" old and the Futuros were not at this site by 2008 anyway.
There is not a great deal of information out there on these Futuros; at least not that we have been able to find. What there is suggests that they served, at least for some time, as offices.
A post in a forum on iceinspace.com includes a comment that talks to their being used as offices.
A further indication that they were used as offices can be found in the comments on a Dr. Keats' photo of the South Morang Futuro where z50rc writes "I think they used to use it as one of their office buildings ..."
Finally our good friend and Futuro expert Achim Breiling tells us that these units were possibly used as offices by the Australian distributer of the Futuro House.
As to the current whereabouts of one or both of these units; there is simply no information out there. We only have confirmed locations for a small number of Futuros in Australia:
University Of Canberra, ACT. Although the entire history of this unit is not known its whereabouts from 1997 to the present date are well documented.
Blowhole Creek, SA. We can only document this Futuro on site from 111809 in Google Earth and to date we have not found any other information on it so it is possible that this is one of the units from Scoresby.
High Wycombe, WA. The unit currently in storage in High Wycombe and one time Leach/Karel has a fairly well documented history and does not appear to be associated with the Scoresby units.
South Morang, VIC. As discussed above this Futuro is definately not one of the Caribbean Gardens units.
So, in summary, Blowhole Creek is the only currently confirmed location in Australia that is not excluded by the evidence as a possible location for one of these units and there is no evidence to suggest such a relocation ever took place. Given that we have to consider both of these Futuros "Lost Souls".
If you have any additional information on or photographs of these units please let us know; we would love to know where they are now.
Bungwahl or Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
Update 061613 (Found)
Though we do not currently know the precise location of this Futuro recent correspondence confirms it still exists and has in fact been transported to an unknown location in New Zealand - for more information see this page.
Original Information 111012
Influential Australian artist Paul McNeil moved from his native New Zealand to Australia in 1987. A Futuro fan and owner, Paul wrote the chapter on Futuros in New Zealand in the book Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday edited by Marko Home and Mika Taanila.
Paul McNeil found his own Futuro in New Zealand, disassembled it and had it shipped to Australia. The images below are from the website "Modern-Post Modern" (m-pm.com) and show the Futuro in various stages of disassembly prior to shipping. On the website we learn that Paul first developed an interest in the Futuro after seeing one at a 1974 home show. He watched and waited for a Futuro to come up for sale and eventually he found one. The website appears to no longer exist in its own right; instead it displays the same pages as futuro-house.net but it was archived by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and is accessible here.
On page 126 of the book Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday there is a photo of McNeils disassembled Futuro post its arrival in Australia; the photo is annotated "The author's Futuro being assembled in Bungwahl, Australia."
In recent and reliable email correspondence it was confirmed that the Futuro has actually never been reassembled and to this day remains in storage in a disassembled state. That correspondence made no mention of the actual location of the Futuro or, though it would be great to know, where the Futuro came from in New Zealand. Given no mention of the location the assumption was that the Futuro was still in Bungwahl.
An article on the Sydney Morning Herald website however seems to "muddy the waters" a little as far as location is concerned. In the article we read that:
"Mambo artist Paul McNeil is a big fan of the Futuro. He has had one shipped over in pieces from New Zealand, to put on his property in the Byron Bay hinterland ... Two years ago McNeil fulfilled his childhood dream of owning a Futuro. He purchased a bright yellow model from New Zealand and is getting ready to assemble it to use as a studio, or "just a fun place to hang out"."
The article is undated as far as we can tell so the "two years ago" statement really means nothing (the url suggests it is a 2007 article but almost certainly the Futuro moved from New Zealand to Australia prior to 2005 since there is the photo of it in Australia in the Marko Home book and the first edition of the book was published in 2002).
What is interesting about the article however is the reference to the Futuro being located on McNeil's property in the Byron Bay hinterland. Bungwahl is some 250 km or so north of Sydney; Byron Bay on the other hand is more like 750 km up the coast. Any Google search on Paul McNeil will quickly show that he lives in Byron Bay so is the Futuro in Bungwahl or is it in Byron Bay?
To be honest we do not know; in fact we went round and round as to whether to class this as a "confirmed" or "lost" Futuro. Were it not for the mention of Byron Bay on the Sydney Morning Herald website we would probably have listed it as confirmed in Bungwahl and given it a dedicated page but with the mention of Byron Bay we decided to go with "lost" though there is little doubt that while it is disassembled this Futuro does still exist and so for the purpose of the statistics on the locations page we are including this in the "confirmed" count unlike the other "lost" units discussed on this page.
Recent information sent to us by Doug, owner of the Rockland Futuro, suggests that this Futuro is in fact the one now located in Rockland, WI. For more information and any further updates regarding this Futuro see the Rockland page.
Original Information 122512
In the early 1970's there was a Futuro located in Janesville, Wisconsin. An article by Catherine Idzerda in the Janesville Gazette dated 110209 and available online at GazetteXtra.com (Dead - pdf here) tells us a little of the history of this unit.
The article, titled "Flying Saucer Redux: Futuro Owner Tells The Story", relates the story of the Futuro brought to Janesville by friends Larry J. Tracy and Norm Sauey in the early 1970's. The Gazette article tells us that the two men went to Philadelphia in 1970 to buy a Futuro and continues:
"Tracy instantly began to market the homes, and one his first stops was at Playboy headquarters in Chicago."
It is well documented that Playboy published an article titled "Portable Playhouse" in the September 1970 issue of the magazine but that was not the only interest Playboy had in the Futuro. Hugh Hefner had recently opened the first Playboy Resort in Lake Geneva, WI (the resort opened in 1968 and closed in 1981) and Tracy managed to convince Playboy executives that a UFO on the site would draw visitors and sell Playboy Club "Keys" (Playboy Club "Keys" were something of a status symbol. The Rabbit-headed metal key - supplanted by a plastic key-card in 1966 - was required for admission to a club).
The Idzerda article reports that the Futuro remained on the Playboy Club campus for a while until:
"Tracy eventually moved the Futuro to a piece of land he owned south of Janesville. Later, a Ford Dealership used it for a promotion, and it eventually was moved north of Interstate 90/39 near what is now the Best Western. "I don't know what happened to it," Tracy said. "I think a farmer bought it."
The two photographs below accompanied the Gazette article, they are credited simply as "submitted", so we do not know their original provenance. They are reproduced here courtesy of the Gazette but if anyone knows their origin we would love to credit the original photographers. These are the only photos of the Janesville Futuro we have been able to locate and we have found none of the unit at the Playboy Resort so if you have or know of any we would love to see them.
Photo courtesy of the Janesville Gazette - Janesville resident Sue Campbell models outside of the Futuro home after it was moved to a spot near Janesville in the early 1970s. The structure was designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen for use as a holiday home or ski lodge.
Photo courtesy of the Janesville Gazette - Larry Tracy and Sue Campbell pose in the Futuro Home. The home was a fixture around Janesville in the 1970s. Campbell and her husband owned a tavern on Milton Avenue during that time.
In 2009 Larry J. Tracy self published a book titled "A Letter To Annabelle". In the book Tracy passes on a lifetime of experience and family history to his new granddaughter. The book takes you from living in poverty, in a small Minnesota town, to traveling the world as an International consultant for some of the world's major corporations.
Pages 83-84 of the book contain a brief chapter about Tracy's involvement with the Futuro House. We don't learn a whole lot more from the book though there are a couple of interesting facts among them being that when Tracy went to Philadelphia to buy a Futuro he was only looking for a franchise to cover Milwaukee but left with a franchise for four states for which he had paid a $10,000 deposit, a not inconsiderable sum in 1970.
Tracy also tells us that the Futuro spent about a year at the Playboy Resort in Lake Geneva and seems to suggest that the September 1970 article "Portable Playhouse" was inspired by the Futuro being at the resort; this would suggest the Futuro arrived at the resort pre September 1970.
Tracy ends the Futuro chapter by recounting his involvement in the placement of a Futuro in a shopping center for a Toms River, NJ savings and loan. He recounts how they assembled the Futuro in a field a couple of miles away and then had a helicopter fly the unit to the shopping center. Though not specified it seems likely that this was the Futuro that spent a time at a shopping center in Lakewood, NJ and is now located in Willingboro. The helicopter transport and landing of the fully assembled unit is documented in the video "Ektroverde: Inauguration of a Spacebank".
The Hedberg Public Library in Janesville maintains a file with documents related to the Futuro House, some specific to the Janesville Futuro and/or Tracy and Sauey but mostly general Futuro documents; the library kindly sent me photocopies of the contents of the file - my thanks to the Hedberg Public Library and in particular to Sue and Beth.
Included among these documents are the following:
A four page document dated 021070 headed "Futuro Enterprises" which lists the ownership of "Futuro Enterprises" and indicates that shares will be made available to private investors for the purpose of raising capital to operate the company. "Futuro Enterprises" is listed as operating under franchise from "Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia" with rights for Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan. Of 40,000 common shares Tracy and Sauey are listed as owning 51% or 20,400 with the remaining 49% or 19,600 available for purchase with a minimum purchase of 1250 shares.
The document includes some marketing information that presents financial and other arguments designed to convince investors that Futuro was a sound business proposition. It goes on to discuss population growth in the 1970's and argues the need for low maintenance modular housing in a market they estimate to be worth in excess of $50M by 1975.
Other factors suggested as making Futuro an attractive investment include low maintenance, the ability to be located in areas where more traditional construction presented difficulties and the ability to be used for a variety of purposes. The document also includes some financial estimates and extrapolates that a "Futuro Village" (composed of at least 23 Futuros though to be honest we cannot see where the number 23 comes from) at a ski resort, lakeside community or similar could generate a revenue stream that would allow the units to pay for themselves in something under a year (estimates are based on rents in the $250-$300 a week range and 60% occupancy).
An undated document titled "Facts On The Futuro II Fiber-Glass House". This four page document provides detailed descriptions of the Futuro and its features and includes details on the exterior, the heating and AC systems, the furnishings and other equipment, utilities, site preparation, transport and delivery and so on. Interestingly where many documents of the day specify cost (most commonly $10,000 for a shell and $14,000 "fully loaded") this document states that because of differences in delivery and erection costs and state and local taxes a specific estimate would be provided for each customer; the document does not even contain an estimate of costs.
This document also throws a little confusion into the mix as far as the ownership of distribution rights for Futuro in the area are concerned. Here we see the Futuro II referred to as "owned and distributed by" Star Enterprises of Janesville with one Gene Ruchti listed as president. Since the previous document along with the Gazette article told us that franchise rights for Wisconsin among others were purchased by Futuro Enterprises owned by Tracy and Sauey we are not sure how Star Enterprises fits into the picture.
A single page undated document headed simply "Futuro Facts" which appears to be a fact sheet issued by the Futuro Corporation of Philadelphia rather than by a local franchisee. The document includes a listing of the main features of the Futuro along with indicating that financing is available and some information on Zoning and Building codes, costs and shipping costs. In this document we see the most often seen $10,000 for a shell and $14,000 for a fully equipped unit. Pre-assembled shipping costs are listed as $1000 per 100 miles by helicopter and $3000 at island in the West Indies (Barge and Helicopter). Disassembled shipping by road is not specified and listed as variable.
An undated three page sales/publicity document for the Futuro titled "Futuro: The Space Age Recreation Home With An Imagination". This document explains the earlier possible confusion about who was actually distributing Futuros in the area. The document lists the Futuro Corporation of Philadelphia as the sole licensee and manufacturer in the US, Futuro Enterprises of Janesville as handling the franchising of Futuro dealers in the mid-west and Star Enterprises of Janesville as the local franchised Futuro dealer.
The document provides information on the features and benefits of Futuro and finishes by detailing some of the plans for Futuro (most of which never came to pass as was the case with many of the sometimes ambitious plans for Futuro in the early days) among them:
a San Francisco firm planning to use several Futuros for a motel in the Bahamas
a man from Minnesota planning to place one on his riverfront property
a Chicago business man planning to use one as a penthouse on the roof of his building
a lady from Tampa planning to use one for maintenance free living (possibly referring to Semmes Street though it is reported that that Futuro was purchased direct from Finland)
a Connecticut school planning to use several as classrooms
An undated and unattributed single page document titled "Futuro News" which is another document detailing various ambitious plans for the Futuro. Most of the plans never came to fruition and those listed include:
a sale by (or to?) one Jerry Free of 25 Futuros in Missouri
the use of four Futuro's on the eighth floor of a hotel (reported in the Kansas City Star)
Charles Van Wie's Century 21 Futuro City
a Futuro Park by George Buck in Joilet
a motel hideaway by Jerry Kraus in Prairie Du Chien
The document concludes by stating "we are in dire need of Futuro dealers to handle the customers requests" and indicating that there is a "special offer" now available - the offer is not specified but may relate to investment opportunities.
Two undated color brochures which were clearly marketing materials of the time. The first is a four page pamphlet by Futuro Corp. Philadelphia and the second is a tri-fold brochure stamped "Tracy Enterprises". We know Tracy was one of the owners of Futuro Enterprises but this suggests at some point he may have spun off another company and this seems to add another wrinkle; exactly what companies were licensed for what in respect of Futuro in the area?
A letter from American Home magazine to Gene Ruchti (Star Enterprises) thanking him for the opportunity to tour a Futuro House and enclosing three copies of the September 1969 issue of the magazine which included an article on the Futuro.
The Futuro file at the Hedberg Public Library also contains copies of the September 1969 issue of American Home Magazine, the September 1970 issue of Playboy Magazine, Larry J. Tracy's book "A Letter To Annabelle" and the Janesville Gazette article (Dead - pdf here). There is also a print copy of "From Snowy Slopes To The Foot Of Minarets" from the website desura.fi; the content is no longer available on desura.fi but it can still be accessed using the Wayback Machine here. This article is of course the text of Chapter One of the book "Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday" edited by Marko Home and Mika Taanila.
The current location of the Janesville Futuro is not known but as is often the case with Futuros there are some inconclusive clues. If the unit still exists (there is no reason or evidence to suggest it does not but there is also no documented proof that it does) it seems likely that it is now in one of two locations, either Rockland or Livingston.
In a letter to the editor of the Janesville Gazette (and included in the document pack from the Hedberg Public Library) published 110809 John Bergman reports a Futuro in Rockland, Wisconsin. Bergman does not actually suggest this unit was the one from Janesville, he simply says "I do not know if it is the same one that used to be in Janesville."
Larry J. Tracy's last insight into the location of the Futuro was the statement "I think a farmer bought it." A look at Google Maps certainly suggests that the Rockland Futuro is in a rural area which would support that though the Bergman letter actually describes it as being in a "welding yard" south of Rockland (the Futuro is located on County Highway J about 4 miles south of Rockland).
Based on that same Larry J. Tracy statement about a "farmer" the other possibility for the current location of the Janesville Futuro seems to be Livingston. That Futuro was previously located on Route 29 north of Springfield, Illinois and the Springfield location was also very rural.
There is no actual evidence we have been able to find to support either Livingston or Rockland as the current location of the Janesville Futuro. However given what we do know and the "farmer" reference and looking at what we know about the history of the units currently known in the US is does seem most likely that if the Janesville Futuro still exists it is now located in either Livingston or Rockland.
If you are able to shed more light on the whereabouts of the Janesville Futuro we would love to hear from you (as would the staff at the Hedberg Public Library).
A little while ago Achim Breiling sent us a possible location for the Yalta Futuro. There is a round, yellow object at 44°28'43.88"N 34°9'24.84"E; the imagery is not particularly clear and measuring precise dimensions is difficult at the scale of a Futuro House using Google or Bing mapping tools but the object does appear to be about the right size for a Futuro as demonstrated in the screenshots below from Google Earth and Bing Maps.
While we cannot date the Bing Maps imagery the Google Earth imagery is dated 091611. If this is the Futuro it is clearly not in the location seen in the Pamela Voigt image. Not only is the landscape and topography incorrect but Google Earth imagery from 082509 shows that the object was not at the location at that time. If this is the Futuro then it was moved to this location sometime between 082509 and 091611. If anyone lives in or is visiting Yalta and could take a trip here and confirm whether this is indeed a Futuro House or not please let us know.
Despite crawling through Google Earth imagery for 082509 and earlier for several hours we have not yet been able to determine where this object came from - if of course it was even in the Yalta area previously.
On page 34 of the awesome Marko Home/Mika Taanila book Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday we are told that in the mid seventies the Soviet youth travel agency Sputnik purchased three Futuros. One was to serve as a ski-cabin (the original intent behind the whole Futuro concept) and was to be located in Dombai high in the Caucasus Mountains; the Dombai Futuro is still in the mountains though it is now owned by the Hotel Tarelka. We are not sure if it remains in its original location or not but that is our assumption; we have never seen anything suggesting it was ever relocated.
The remaining two Futuro's were to serve as a holiday bungalow in Sochi, Russia and as a cafe in the Crimea; this last unit was to be a rare example of the "two story" variant of the Futuro House.
We have never come across any more information about the Sochi Futuro but thanks to some "detective" work by futurohouse we do have just a little information on the Futuro that went to the Crimea.
futurohouse came across a thesis by Pamela Voigt on a webpage entitled Dissertation Voigt (In German | Google translation to English here); the thesis discusses the use of glass-fiber reinforced plastics in architecture and it includes sections on the Futuro House - the thesis can be downloaded from the web as a pdf file here. The thesis is in German and includes several photographs, among them photos of the Berlin Futuro and the Futuro displayed at the 1971 Internationale Kunststoffhaus Ausstellung der Welt.
On the webpage there is a series of rotating images and one of the images, not included in the thesis, is the image shown below. futurohouse contacted Pamela Voigt and she confirmed the location of that Futuro; it was Yalta, Crimea, Ukraine. Pamela Voigt indicated that the photograph was given to her by Matti Suuronen himself and she also kindly gave permission for it to be used on the web.
The base of the Futuro is hidden in the photo and it is surrounded by trees; there are some stairs in the photo so it is likely that the ground level where the Futuro is located is higher than the level seen in the foreground of the photo but it does look as if the Futuro was indeed the "two story" variant reported in the Home/Taanila book as being the version purchased and located in the Crimea.
The photo below is from page 33 of the Home/Taanila book and shows the "two story" variant Futuro in the Polykem yard. Looking at the two photos it is impossible to definitively confirm if the one in Yalta was actually the "two story" variant but it is certainly possible and in our opinion likely.
This photo above is an intentionally low quality photo from my copy of "Futuro - Tomorrow's House From Yesterday" edited by Marko Home and Mika Taanila. My intention is to illustrate this article and show the "two story" variant of the Futuro. It is not to provide a copyright infringing image to be copied and reproduced elsewhere so please respect the author's rights and if you would like to use the book's content purchase your own copy. Thanks!
Pamela Voigt later co-authored the book Kunststoffbauten, Teil 1: Die Pioniere with Elke Genzel. We recently purchased a copy of this book; of course it is in German and we have no way to read it but it clearly includes a wealth of detailed information on the Futuro House along with some nice photographs. The book is available on Amazon.com and the authors home page for the book can be found here (In German | Google translation to English here).
So, we have three Futuro's purchased, two of which are now "location unknown" or "lost souls". If you have any information as to their current whereabouts (or know if they even still exist) please let us know.
We recently came across a photo of the Lake Memphremagog Futuro on Instagram. A little digging and we were able to make contact with Jennifer and Eric Fisher who kindly shared some recollections of both this Futuro and the one once located on Lake Memphremagog; many thanks guys.
Eric was actually involved in the manufacturing of both the Lake Memphremagog Futuro and this one recalling that around 1977-78 he:
"... worked on both the Futuro located at Gibraltar Point, Lake Memphremagog and the one situated at Mont Blanc. The fiberglass molds forming the panels were fabricated by Bombardier ... Bill Postlethwaite, Frank McNair and myself all contributed to the finishing work of the two spacecraft."
He then went on to recount some of the history relating to this specific Futuro telling me that:
"The Mont Blanc Unit was purchased by Munari Ski Equipment to be a showcase hill side show room for their ski equipment. It was mounted on a metal frame. No expense was spared on the interior finishing and design incorporating the best carpets, Plexi Mirrors etc. The unit used the drop down hatch as its entryway. This had cantilever pulley system to easily open (drop) and close (raise) the stairs (door). It left you with the impression that you were entering a modern luxurious Flying Saucer."
We came across the first of the photos below a few days ago. Not only was it a photo of a Futuro location we had not seen before but it was a very cool photo in its own right; we think black and white photos often have more atmosphere than those shot in color. The photo, by BienSür atelier, was tagged #Mont Blanc and found on Tumblr here.
Clearly the photo was taken at a different location that that depicted in the photo of the Futuro by a swimming pool below and so we contacted BienSür atelier in the hopes of finding out a little more. Elsa was kind enough to respond, provide some quite specific information about the location and more than that sent us some additional photos and a short video clip. A big thank you Elsa!
The photos and video were shot 010509 and as far as where the photos were shot Elsa tells us they were:
"taken at the junction of 3 ski runs called "Panoramique", "Chablis" and "Beaujolais" on Mont Blanc Nord in Mont Blanc ski resort in the Laurentides mountains, Québec."
In addition Elsa sent us this photo showing the location at which the photos and video were shot:
Armed with this new information a quick trip to Google Earth revealed what we believe is the exact location of the Futuro (46°6'4.14"N 74°29'56.10"W) as photographed by Elsa.
The two screen shots below are from Google Earth. The first with very low res satellite imagery dating from 050804 shows what is very likely the Futuro; a white object approximately circular and approximately the right size to be a Futuro at the location provided by Elsa. The second with satellite imagery dated 080114 is much clearer; the object is not visible in this imagery and, assuming the earlier imagery showed the Futuro it is clear that it was no longer on site as of this date.
Of course, as is so often the case with information on the history of individual Futuros, Elsa's new information conflicts with other information. Much of what is known about individual Futuros is based on personal recollections and we can speak to the fact that such recollections are not always 100% accurate, particularly where dates are concerned.
Len over at futurohouse.com has collected a great deal of information on Futuros over the years. In the case of Mont Blanc Len added some information provided to him by David earlier this year. Len tells us that the Futuro was first used as a showroom by a ski boot company, later as the changing room for a resort swimming pool (see this photo) and later still as accommodation for a resort employee. Finally the Futuro was moved to the "North Slope" in 2010; unattended the condition of the Futuro deteriorated and in 2011 it was removed from the site when the resort offered it free to anyone who would move it.
The sequence of locations and uses is almost certainly accurate and there are photos of the Futuro at the resort swimming pool and on the ski slopes. That said the Futuro was certainly on the ski slopes no later than 010509 based on Elsa's photos (and in this case there is no doubt about memory as EXIF data confirms the date Elsa's photos were taken).
So for sure the move to the ski slopes was prior to 2010. The date that move did take place however is less certain but we do believe the Google Earth satellite imagery indicates that it was in fact on the ski slopes by 050804. At a minimum we imagine that it was on the ski slopes well ahead of the 010509 photos as the Futuro was presumably still in good condition at the time of the move and it takes time for the condition to degrade due to inattention.
In the end based on current information there is no certainty about the dates other than the fact that the Futuro was definitely at the location on the ski slopes on 010509.
We would love to hear from anyone who might be able to add any further information that might help clarify the history of this Futuro (or perhaps even where it is now); as always we can be contacted through our Contact Form or directly by email.
Original Information 081113
Len of FuturoHouse.com has probably tracked down more information on the Futuro House than anyone and he is at it again. This time a Futuro House that was located in a ski-resort around Mont Blanc, Quebec, Canada.
The Futuro served as a boutique for a ski-boot retailer and later as a resort honeymoon suite. Its current whereabouts is unknown so if anyone is able to provide any information on this Futuro please let us know or drop Len a note on FuturoHouse.com
The photo below is courtesy of FuturoHouse.com; it shows the Futuro though it appears the Futuro was likely not the focus of the shot - it looks more as if it was perhaps a publicity shot for Mistral, a Netherlands based company famous for surfboards and sports apparel.
My thanks to Len for tracking down another possible Futuro and also to Achim Breiling who provided information.
"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). As can be seen 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 the 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.
Recently 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 tells us that the Futuro was in Harbor Springs as late as 1979, the last time he visited, but that he does not know when it was actually removed from the site. It is not known whether the unit still exists or, if it does, where it is now located so if anyone has any additional information or perhaps even a photo please let us know. We can be contacted using our Contact Form or directly by email.
The very cool footage below is of the Futuro once located Aliwal North. The footage was shot by Ronnie Howe around 1975 and converted to a digital format from Super 8 Cine footage. Craig Barnes, owner of "Futuro 22", travelled all the way from the UK to South Africa to collect a DVD containing this footage from Andrew Howe (OK then - he happened to have a trip planned anyway) and from there it arrived here.
In a discussion via Facebook Andrew explained that:
"A cine was taken of our family examining the outside. I don't recall it being occupied but the assumption was that it was a new room for guests. My father recently edited his cine's to disc and I was reminded of the spaceship when watching it recently."
The reference to the Futuro perhaps functioning as a new room for guests is based on the Futuro's proximity to the grounds of the Umtali Motel. Our thanks to Ronnie for sharing this footage and allowing us to display it here and to Andrew and Craig for arranging for the video file to make its way to us.
It is worth noting that this does not appear to be the Futuro shown in the photo from the book Mika Taanila: Human Engineering which appears below. The trees around the Futuro are different, the windows in the photo from the book do not appear to have the rectangular inserts seen in the windows in the video and, though this one might be our faulty eyesight, the roof vents appear to be different.
Assuming these are indeed different Futuros then that would indicate that a minimum of three units were manufactured in South Africa because these two had four lower viewing windows and "Futuro 22", relocated from South Africa to the UK by Craig Barnes, has only two.
"Futuro 22" owner Craig Barnes recently started to research the history of his Futuro. A post to the Herald Port Elizabeth newspaper's Facebook Page has generated a great many responses and though most, as you might expect, related to Craig's Futuro while it was in Port Alfred a handful provide information and hints at other South African Futuros.
There were at least two South African Futuros, "Futuro 22" and the one seen below. These two are evidently different units given the difference in the number of lower viewing windows. The Mika Taanila directed film "Futuro: A New Stance for Tomorrow" also includes footage of a Futuro in South Africa.
That unit was a different color but Futuro owners have been known to change the color of their units so it is possible that was one of the two previously mentioned but in a different location. All of that said comments responding to Craig's inquiry might be indicative of their being an even larger number of South African Futuros and who knows, perhaps some may still be out there waiting to be re-discovered!
In one comment Bryan Erasmus provided a little historical insight and his comment is also somewhat suggestive of larger number of units having been manufactured. Bryan wrote"
"The house was originally designed for the South African Transport Services. Made up of slices like a pie. Was supposed to be erected for teams working on the Railroads. Only a limited number were made and then sold at public auctions when the project did not get going. Many municipalities had reservations about allowing them to be erected within their boundaries. Those days local laws were still pretty strict. In some towns one could not even erect woodframed homes."
Brian's recollection of local administrations, their regulations and their reservations about Futuro are somewhat familiar; Futuro faced such opposition in other countries too.
The Umtali Motel area report is particularly interesting as it looks like there is old cine film footage of the Futuro. We have not seen this footage but we are hoping to be able to share it here in the not too distant future.
Rather than make additional entries to this page only to change them quickly we are going to leave this single entry covering multiple "Lost Souls" in South Africa while we see how things develop.
We have never really considered how many Futuros may or may not have been in South Africa. There are a couple of shots of Futuros in that country including this one and one documented example that was for sure located in Port Alfred until it was relocated to the UK and restored by Craig Barnes.
Recently we were asked about this photo and while we had always thought it was in South Africa we were not sure where we had seen anything that suggested that. Marko Home, who worked with Mika Taanila on the film, however was able to confirm that the shot was definitely taken in South Africa.
It is clear from available photos that this in not the unit that was located in Port Alfred simply based on the window configuration; as can be seen in the two photos below (Port Alfred on the left, London on the right) the Port Alfred Futuro had only two vertically aligned lower viewing windows while the Futuro in the photo from the film has the more commonly seen set of four lower viewing windows firmly placing this Futuro among the "Lost Souls".
If you are able to add any more specific information about this location please let us know either by using our Contact Form or by direct email.
The two photos below show a white Futuro House in Kerava, Finland in the 1980's. The photos can be found on the website museot.finna.fi here and here. They are displayed here under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license.
The photos are credited to Scan-Foto Oy with the first photo, identified as the premises of Samerka Oy, dating from 1984 (though the date is annotated with a "?") and the second, identified as the premises of Keravan Kuljetus Oy, dating to 1988. Though not explicitly stated it seems likely, based on the photos, that the Futuro was located on the property of Keravan Kuljetus Oy.
This Futuro is likely one of the ones still located in Finland for which the period 1984 through 1988 is unaccounted for; Kauhava, Merimasku or Pöytyä or perhaps it could be the Futuro once located in Finland but now in Matsalu, Estonia. That said, given uncertainty about which one it might actually be, we have chosen to add this as a "Lost Soul" on this page rather than to any specific Futuros page.
If you are able to add any more specific information about this location please let us know; we can be contacted via our Contact Form or directly by email.
"There's one on Marlborough Point Road in Stafford VA. It was in the woods on adjacent Thorny Point Road for my whole childhood, someone apparently stole it or bought it and now it's further up the street."
A quick trip to Google Earth did appear to confirm the presence of a Futuro. The first of the two images below shows a round object that is about the right size to be a Futuro located at 38°23'3.30"N 77°19'20.75"W (41 Thorny Point Rd, Stafford, VA 22554). The satellite imagery for the first image is dated 123101. The second image, with satellite imagery dated 013106, clearly shows that this object was no longer present at the location on that date.
Other satellite imagery dated 060503 and 060705 is less clear but it appears that the object was likely removed sometime between these two dates. So far we have been unable to locate the object at a new location "further up the street" as suggested in the Facebook comment.
If you know anything about this location or perhaps exactly where this Futuro might have moved to please let us know either by using our Contact Form or directly by email.
On 010772 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on a Futuro that was being moved from a parking lot at 20th and JFK Boulevard to a location at the Wills Eye Hospital (who owned the Futuro) at 16th & Spring Garden (see here).
Though by implication this report indicated that a Futuro spent time at 16th & Spring Garden we have never seen or heard anything that actually confirmed a Futuro at this location or for that matter any indication how long a Futuro might have been at that location; until now. This week Doug emailed us and recounted his recollections of the Futuro, which was actually located on Brandywine Street.
Doug was attending school at the time (J. R. Masterman) and he recalls that the Futuro was visible from some of the classroom windows. The Futuro was still at the location when Doug graduated in 1984. Thanks for the info Doug!
Original Information 100116
The first Futuro House to be seen in the US was put on display at the Philadelphia International Airport in 1969. One of the more often seen iconic images of a Futuro is this shot of this blue Futuro at night under a crescent moon (the photo is from our archives and is a part of the De Martini Collection).
One of the things that has always struck us as most interesting about this Futuro is that it resembles the Futuros manufactured in Finland and other countries rather than those manufactured in the US.
Two specific differences are very evident. First there are two pairs of lower "viewing windows"; we were previously aware of any other current or past Futuro in the US that featured this window configuration. Second the Futuro is mounted "egg cup style" on a circular ring; every other example of a US Futuro, past and present, that we have previously come across has the supporting struts passing through holes in the Futuros outer skin and mounted to the chassis internally.
Though only conjecture, given the absence of other examples of Futuros in the US that have these features, we always thought it likely that the Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia, the company licensed by Polykem to produce Futuros in the US, had received at least one Futuro from Finland to "get the ball rolling"; an example to be placed "in the public eye" to help generate initial orders to "kick start" manufacturing in the US would probably have made sense.
However, having just said that there are no other Futuros matching this configuration in the US, either past or present, a series of newspaper articles we came across recently does show such a Futuro at a couple of different locations in the Philadelphia area in the early 1970's. In at least one location the Futuro appears to be a different color and, while Futuros obviously can (and have been) refinished we are now of the opinion that there were at least two Futuros in the US in the early 1970's with the "Finnish" configuration.
We can see that this Futuro has the two pairs of lower viewing windows along with the "egg cup style" support structure mentioned above. Interestingly the article also illustrates another feature we associate with the Finnish Futuros as it describes (and illustrates in the photo bottom left of the article) interior fixtures that include the six bed/chair units seen in the Finnish Futuros. Though we have not seen photos of the interior of all of the US Futuros we do not believe they were manufactured with this same interior. Though the photo is black and white it seems clear that this Futuro was either white or a very light color rather than the blue of the Futuro exhibited at the Philadelphia International airport suggesting this might have been a different unit.
The Futuro was located at 20th & The Parkway in Philadelphia and was open for tours at a cost of 50 cents (25 cents for children) with proceeds benefiting a municipal project known as "Better Break '69".
The article describes a structure with a minimum expected life of 30 years constructed of steel-meshed (not sure about that) reinforced fiberglass that had polyurethane foam insulation, a positive pressure ventilation system, a central air/heating system and a sewage disposal unit.
It could be installed on site with minimal preparation, just four concrete piers to which the support legs could be bolted, and it could be transported assembled by helicopter or barge for around $1000 per 100 miles. Disassembled it could be transported by road or rail; no cost was mentioned for this option. The Futuro was available finished in pale blue, pine forest green, pale pink or lemon yellow with complementary interior decor.
Multiple options for the interior fixtures and fittings were described allowing for the ability to "sleep" up to eight people or even divide the unit into two double bed "motel units". Kitchen and bathroom were described as small but, for vacation living, quite adequate.
Possible uses listed for the Futuro included a ski chalet, poolside cabana, sales office, guest house or studio. It was even suggested that the Futuro could be turned into a floating home by moving the entrance to the upper hemisphere and adding a deck.
A completely furnished Futuro would cost the owner "a mere $14,000" with an unfurnished shell coming in $4000 less at $10,000.
The article included several photos including the one below which illustrates the lower viewing windows, the "egg cup style" support structure and the white (or very light) color.
This same Futuro is also documented in the same 20th & The Parkway location in the 031670 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Interestingly we came across two versions of this article (the second being the New Jersey edition) which, while essentially being the same report, had different headlines and text. The New Jersey version of the article began with one of the most colorful descriptions of a Futuro we have seen describing it as the "egg-shaped thing with the portholes in it".
By this time the city, which had fully supported the Futuro functioning as a "fund raiser" for the "Better Break '69" program, had slightly less positive feelings. Though around 20,000 paying visitors had resulted in some $7600 being raised for the program by the time it closed this was less than had been anticipated and additionally the Futuro had not been moved as agreed once the program ended.
The article reports that the city was considering moving the Futuro itself and sending the bill to Leonard Fruchter, president of the Futuro Corporation of Philadelphia. Fruchter was reported as indicating he had been having trouble getting the required permits to move the Futuro but that it would be moved "no later than next week". The article suggests the Futuro would be returned to the manufacturing plant in Pleasanton, NJ though we do not know if that is actually where it was moved to or when it was relocated.
The article was accompanied by the photo below.
The next report of a Futuro also comes from the Philadelphia Inquirer, this time in an article from 010772; the article can be found to the left.
This time the location is different, a parking lot located at 20th and JFK Boulevard, and we are treated to an unusual and amusing story about a "parking charge" for a Futuro.
This Futuro was owned by the Wills Eye Hospital; apparently it had been purchased almost a year previously and it had been sitting on the parking lot ever since then.
When the contractor engaged by the hospital to move the Futuro to its new 16th & Spring Garden location began work the parking lot proprietor told them "You're not going to move it until I get paid"; he even had his Lincoln Continental parked so it blocked removal of the Futuro.
A hospital official actually had to rush back to hospital to get a check book and after a check for the $500 parking that was owed was handed over the contractor was finally able to move the Futuro. So far we have not come across any photos or other documented evidence of the Futuro at 16th & Spring Garden but by implication it spent some time there.
The scene at the parking lot is nicely captured in the photo below which accompanied the article. Again the double lower viewing windows are visible and you can just about make out the support ring but in this photo the color appears to be darker, perhaps the color of the Futuro that was previously exhibited at the airport.
Clearly the photo is black and white and it can be difficult to identify colors in such photos but if the appearance of the Futuro is compared to that of the white Lincoln Continental it certainly appears much darker meaning, to us at least, that this is not the same Futuro that we saw at 20th & The Parkway.
Some two and a half years later on 070974 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 photos in the previous articles in this photo we cannot see the lower viewing windows or the "egg cup style" support ring but, most importantly when it comes to identifying the specific Futuro, the support legs have the bend close to the body of the Futuro characteristic of US Futuros that have the legs "passing through" the shell and mounted internally to the structure. This is most notable in the photo to the bottom right of the Futuro.
Color wise it is hard to tell, the photo is of very poor quality but it does appear that this Futuro had a dark external finish. On balance we believe this is a different Futuro than the one seen at the Philadelphia International Airport and the other locations around "Philly" mentioned above.
We have learned that in many cases the early history of Futuros is unclear and where there is documentation it is not unusual for it to confusing and contradictory so "certainty" is not always an option and that is the case here.
That said in our opinion there were at least three Futuros "floating around" the Philadelphia area in the early 1970's. Of these two were configured like the Finnish models and their fate is unknown, hence the entry on this page of "Lost Souls". The third was destroyed in a fire and gets its own entry on the "Demolished & Destroyed Futuros" page.
Sources & Reference
The Evening Journal (Wilmington, DE) 090969 Issue
The Philadelphia Daily News 070974 Issue
The Philadelphia Inquirer 010772 Issue
The Philadelphia Inquirer 031670 Issue
In a recent email Norton Cooper sent us some footage of what (almost certainly) were the three Futuros displayed in Belgium in the early 1970's. In the same email Norton also recalled:
"... another bright orange Futuro House, that was built in a woody back garden along the main road between La Hulpe and Brussels, in Groenendaal. It stayed there for a decade or two, but has now disappeared."
Norton recalled this being around 1967/68 when he was age 10 (though it was certainly not 1967 as the first Futuro was not manufactured until 1968 so it must have been somewhat later) and he added the screenshot from Google Maps seen below. He went on to tell us that:
"The bright orange one was set in the woody embankment you see on the right of this Google Maps snapshot (50°45'41.99"N 4°27'08.20"E). It is not there anymore, and the trees were scarce at the time as the house was clearly visible from the street. For what I recall it might have been a little bit further just before the next bent you see in the distance. I suspect the entrance to the parcel must have been from Albert Laan as there are no entrances along Terhulpensesteenweeg which is a major road."
We have not been able to find any further information about this Futuro though perhaps it was one of the three displayed together. If anyone has any information we would love to hear from you: we can be contacted by email or via our Contact Form
The article includes the photo seen below of a Futuro "perched near Lake Michelle in Hurley, WI". It goes on to report that this Futuro was the first of several Futuros planned for a leisure home sub-division under development by Thomas LaBlonde. This is the first time we have come across mention of a Futuro at this location.
We have no idea what became of this Futuro or whether any of the additional Futuros planned for the sub-divison ever materialized so if anyone has any information we would love to hear from you: we can be contacted directly by email or via our Contact Form.
In 2014 We concluded that "The Otway Futuro" and the Lorne Futuro (left and right below respectively) were likely one and the same.
Then in 2017 we added the Cheltenham Futuro to the site and concluded it was likely that it was the second of the two Futuros previously located in Scoresby and auctioned in 2004.
A recent email that we received from Martin Williams read, in part, as follows:
".. Regarding the Futuro in Cheltenham, Victoria/Australia, I think it is possibly the one that was located at the Opoeia Eco Arts Retreat (now Sokil Retreat) between Aireys Inlet and Winchelsea near the Otway Ranges. I'm pretty sure it was removed from that site sometime around 2006 ..."
A little follow up research soon revealed that a Futuro had indeed been located on the campus of the Sokil Art Eco Retreat located at 425 Breakfast Creek Rd., Wensleydale, VIC 3241 (38°23'2.07"S 144°3'55.99"E). The retreat's website includes the photo below.
The Scoresby Futuros were auctioned in 2004 and the disassembly of one unit and its subsequent transport to Lorne is well documented. Though that Futuro is now somewhere in the Perth area it was located in Lorne from late 2004/early2005 through at least 2016.
The Futuro at the Sokil Art Eco Retreat does not appear to have been there long. Clearly, given the construction of the entry way, it is one of the two Scorsby Futuros so it could not have been at the retreat prior to 2004 and Martin's email suggests it moved again around 2006.
Google Earth historical satellite imagery shows the Futuro on site at the retreat 052906 (see screenshot below) and also 113006; it was gone by 092909, the next available imagery in Google Earth. However that short time is enough to state with certainty that "The Otway Futuro" and Lorne were in fact two different Futuros with "The Otway Futuro" referring to the Futuro at the Sokil Art Eco Retreat.
The Sokil Art Eco Retreat website also carries this interesting map of the campus which identifies the Futuro as the "UFO", its placement clearly matches what is seen in the Google Earth satellite imagery.
Finally, in respect of Cheltenham despite Martin's suggestion that it might be "The Otway Futuro" there are overlapping dates that preclude that from being the case. The first appearance of the Futuro in Cheltenham in Google Earth imagery dates from 021206 with it remaining in place and visible in satellite imagery from then on though as recently as 101717. With the Google Earth imagery above placing this Futuro at the Sokil retreat between 052906 and 113006 it is clear that it cannot be the Futuro in Cheltenham.
Sources & Reference
Unknown Location, CO, USA
Ting Na Wang recently sent us this photo of a Taiwanese couple posing on the steps of a Futuro in Colorado in 1971. The Chinese text on the rear of the photo reads:
"This was taken with Tian Tsun at Colorado. The price of these type of houses are far beyond reach, so taking a picture with it to fulfill our satisfaction. Tian Tsun came over this Summer break to be my senior chef. -Si Dian 1971"
Though the specific location is not identified it certainly looks to be "in the middle of nowhere". Interesting to see that despite the reference to summer there appears to be snow on the ground so the assumption must be that the location was at some altitude.
We have no idea exactly where in Colorado this was taken or what became of this Futuro so if anyone has any additional information we would love to hear from you: we can be contacted via email or via our Contact Form.
Sources & Reference
Ting Na Wang
This past week we received an email from Paul Groenendijk (thanks Paul) who told about a Futuro that was exhibited during the C70 festival in Rotterdam which ran from 050570 through 100370. Paul also sent the first of the two photos below along with a link to the second. These photos clearly show the same Futuro as we previously only identified as being somewhere in the Netherlands in the 70's.
The original of the second photo can be found in the Rotterdam City Archives. The description of the photo there places the Futuro on Kruisplein in Rotterdam. It also mistakenly identifies the Futuro as being #000 but of course we know #000 was located in Turenki from manufacture and initial installation in 1968 through 1977.
We do not know where this particular Futuro ended up after its assignment in Rotterdam so if you are able to add any information please let us know.
Yves Buysse has made many contributions both to these pages and to the collective "Futuro knowledge base" over the years. Recently he posted this photo of a Futuro located somewhere in the Netherlands in the 1970's to Facebook. It may be a previously unknown unit and was perhaps located in Belgium at some point. Knowing Yves, and the dogged Futuro researcher that he is, there will be more information in due course but for now that limited information is all that is known about this unit.
If anyone is able to provide more information about this Futuro please let us know.
The photo was actually taken at Matti Suuronen's summer house in Keitele; Futuro #000 was moved there in 1977 from Jaakko Hiidenkari's property in Turenki. The Futuro was subsequently moved into storage at Metsakylä Manor in Hattula in 1980 when the local administration refused to renew the Futuro's temporary building permit.
Original Information 081218
This photograph, depicting a Futuro location we had not previously seen, was posted to Instagram by @futurohouseweegee on 080318. It is described as being a "privately owned Futuro House" photographed in Konnevesi, Finland in 1977.
We had not previously come across any mention of a Futuro in Konnevesi. It is not clear whether this is one of the Futuros currently located in Finland, one now located elsewhere or one since demolished.
It cannot be the one located in Pöytyä as the window configuration of that unit is different (Pöytyä has an unusual configuration with three lower windows) and the Futuros in the Aland Islands and Hirvensalmi (now at the WeeGee Exhibition Center) were, to our knowledge, at those locations in 1977.
There are however gaps in the history of some of the Finnish Futuros (at least to our knowledge) so perhaps it could be one of the ones located at Merimasku or Kauhava. Our vote would be for Kauhava; that Futuro has shorter "v section" support struts than are normally seen attached to circular concrete pilings and in this photo we also see that feature on two of the four support points.
If anyone is able to provide more information about this Futuro we would love to hear from you. We can be contacted directly by email or via our Contact Form.