The Futuro House

The Futuro House was conceived by Matti Suuronen in 1968 as a "portable" ski chalet. It is an iconic piece of architecture and this site is devoted to documenting the history of the Futuro and the current status and whereabouts of the remaining examples.





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Location Information

Futuro, Media, PA - futurohouse.net - Date Unknown



Info, History, Photos


Update 101920

Not long after the last update to this page nearly two years ago we heard that the move to Joshua Tree had run into problems and had not taken place as planned but we did not come back to this page and update it to reflect that Media was still the current location of this unit; we were reminded of this fact in some comments on one of our Instagram posts (thanks folks) recently and so we are finally updating this page. What is that old saying? Better late than never!

Update 123118

This Futuro has now been purchased and will be relocated to Joshua Tree, California. Any further updates relating to either the current status or the history of this Futuro will be found on the Joshua Tree page. There will be no further updates to this page.

Update 112218

This Futuro has been deteriorating for years and the photos below, posted to Instagram by (the rather awesomely named) rainbowpoopingunicorns on 100818, show just how bad it has gotten.

That said, there may be hope, in the Instagram post rainbowpoopingunicorns noted that "supposedly they've sold it to someone in California and it's being shipped there soon". Let's hope that is so and that the new owner has plans to give this neglected Futuro lots of TLC.

Media Futuro - 100818 - rainbowpoopingunicorns - 1

Media Futuro - 100818 - rainbowpoopingunicorns - 2

Media Futuro - 100818 - rainbowpoopingunicorns - 3

Media Futuro - 100818 - rainbowpoopingunicorns - 4

Media Futuro - 100818 - rainbowpoopingunicorns - 5

Update 062417

This past week Christian Busch sent us an email (thanks Christian) in which he let us know that the land on which this Futuro sits is on the market (for a cool $9,950,000).

We have no idea if the Futuro is included as part of the land package, is available for sale separately (though of course based on previous information the Futuro was sold back in 2012 but never moved off property so likely the landowner does not actually own the Futuro) or has simply not even been thought of given its dilapidated condition and likely worth in relation to a $10M package of land.

What we do think is that if/when a developer purchases this land it is highly likely that when the land is cleared as far as the Futuro is concerned it will be a case of "another one bites the dust!"

Media Futuro Site - Land Listed For Sale

Update 061117

A recent installment of the Vlog "Mobile Instinct" included some great footage of this Futuro though frankly it is also rather sad as it once again clearly illustrates the dire condition of this unit.


Update 051017

This video, posted to Youtube 042317 by Nkrantz04 includes some stills and a little video footage of this Futuro.


Update 101516

On 101575 The Philadelphia Daily News carried an article under the headline "She Proves Dream Was No Mis-Steak"

The Philadelphia Daily News 101575

The article's primary focus is not on Futuro and it starts out this way:

"This is a story about how a woman started her own company, battled sexism, built a restaurant and still is not president of the corporation."

That said the story does include, in passing, a little information about this Futuro during the time it served as The Roundhouse, a restaurant owned by Joan and Matthew Lallo, on Township Line Road during the 1970's; it is accompanied by a single photo.

According to the article The Roundhouse was the "brainchild" of Joan Lallo. The reporter tells us that Joan:

"... had fallen in love with the flying-saucer house of the future four years ago when she saw it outside the Franklin Institute (that model later burned). She thought it would be great quarters, though small, for a restaurant."

Over the course of the next several years Joan tracked down the "flying-saucer" manufacturer and worked on persuading her husband to leverage their life savings and take out a loan to finance the project. The Futuro finally arrived at the site the Lallos had cleared in May 1974 but it was another four months before the interior of the unit was completed.

At the time of the article the restaurant had been open a little over a year and the business was successful enough that the Lallos had already been able to discharge around 35% of the debt they had incurred in opening the Roundhouse.

Back in 2014 we added this 35mm slide to our collection of "Things Futuro" that showed the Futuro on Township Line Road; that slide is annotated "c. 1973" but given that the Futuro was not there until 1974 the slide must date from 1974 or later.

Update 100415

Justin Weeze sent us these photos of this Futuro shot during a visit on 092015; thanks Justin. The unit remains on site and its condition appears to continue to deteriorate. Each time a new set of photos surfaces the condition seems to be slightly worse.

The longer the unit remains here in this state the less likely it seems that someone will purchase and restore it; certainly as time goes on it is likely that the scope of work (and therefore the cost) necessary for a restoration will increase. Hopefully a buyer with the resources to undertake such a project will turn up before it is too late and another Futuro is lost forever.

Futuro House - Media PA - 092015 - Justin Weeze - 1

Futuro House - Media PA - 092015 - Justin Weeze - 2

Futuro House - Media PA - 092015 - Justin Weeze - 3

Futuro House - Media PA - 092015 - Justin Weeze - 4

Update 011015

Sadly it seems the condition of this Futuro continues to deteriorate. Lisa Blohm snapped these shots 010115; thanks for sharing them Lisa. The unit appears to be partially disassembled and in one shot we see sections that look very "white" that were presumably cleaned at some point (or the light for that shot was deceptive). Back in 2012 and 2013 Paul had told us that the unit had been disassembled for transport off site (which obviously never took place) but these photos confirm that the disassembly was only partial.

Futuro House - Media PA - 010115 - Lisa Blohm - 1

Futuro House - Media PA - 010115 - Lisa Blohm - 2

Futuro House - Media PA - 010115 - Lisa Blohm - 3

Futuro House - Media PA - 010115 - Lisa Blohm - 4

Futuro House - Media PA - 010115 - Lisa Blohm - 5

Futuro House - Media PA - 010115 - Lisa Blohm - 6

Update 010115

Recent email correspondence with Christian Busch confirms that this Futuro was indeed the one seen in the 35mm slide located in Llanerch in the early 1970's. Christian was not only able to confirm this but was also able to provide the exact location of the Futuro in Llanerch (2710 Township Line Road, Drexel Hill, PA | 39°57'54.51"N 75°18'5.04"W).

Christian tells us that that he:

"lived in Media/Lima, outside of Philadelphia, PA, nearly my entire life so I remember this Futuro very well! My Father used to take me to a small gun shop that was located on the corner, across Harding Drive, from the Futuro which you can see in the slide and (the building) still exists today.'

Christian continues:

When I asked my Father about the Llanerch Futuro, he recalled seeing it later, in the 1970's, in the back of the lot of an RV dealer (Media Camping Center) on Baltimore Pike, in Lima, not far from our home, when my family purchased a small trailer from them. Of course, he remembered the one that used to be in Llanerch (what is now 2710 Township Line Road) and when he asked the RV center owner about it, was told that it was one in the same!"

In subsequent correspondence Christian indicated that the purchase of a trailer (at which time the Futuro was in Media) was actually sometime around 1981-1983 but that still "jives" with earlier information that the Futuro was likely moved to Media in the early 80's. Our thanks to Christian for the information.

Update 102614

35mm Slide - Llanerch Futuro - Hamburger Stand - 1973We came across this 35mm slide a week or so ago on E-Bay. The slide shows a Futuro House serving as a "hamburger stand" in Llanerch, PA in 1973. Llanerch is actually crossed out on the slide notations but we are told that the location is correct (though the meaning of the edited notation is unknown). The slide comes from a local college collection that is being digitized. A larger version of the photo can be seen below.

On the website futurohouse.net the previous owner of this Futuro tells us that his Futuro:

"was originally built as a restaurant. According to the previous owner, the restaurant was called "The Round House" in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any information on this. It was only a restaurant until 1978, when the owners passed away. The gentleman I bought it from purchased it from their estate and used it as a travel agency. As you can imagine, it attracted a lot of attention. Sometime in the early eighties (I believe), he closed that business and moved the Futuro to its current location near Philadelphia"

There are various mentions of a Futuro House in the vicinity of Llanerch (though none actually reference Llanerch specifically, they reference various neighborhoods and localities nearby) and many of them suggest the Futuro was located on Township Line Road. In particular this post in the Futuro House Yahoo Group talks of a Futuro House on Township Line Road in Drexel Hill, PA (a "stone's throw" from Llanerch) at which the writer ate a Cheese Steak and which the writer indicates was the Futuro now in Media.

Based on this it seems to us to be reasonable to think that this slide depicts the Media Futuro as it was back in 1973.

Moreover the photographic evidence also suggests this is the same Futuro. The Llanerch slide shows a Futuro that appears to have a second entry. At the right of the photo we can see the standard Futuro entryway (in the raised position). At the left of the photo we see a structure which almost certainly (though not definitively based on the angle of the photo) shows what appears to be an entrance structure. If we look at photos of the Media Futuro we see that approximately opposite the standard entry way there is a second opening in the structure of the Futuro (this photo is a good example of one where both "entrances" can be seen).

Given the knowledge that the Media Futuro was once a PA restaurant, the various reports of a Futuro in the approximate vicinity of Llanerch, the mention of eating at the Futuro on Township Line Road in the Yahoo Group and the photographic evidence we are confident that this slide does indeed depict this Futuro as it appeared in Llanerch, PA in 1973.

35mm Slide - Llanerch Futuro - Hamburger Stand - 1973 - Detail

Update 060714

aka Skycat Ranger emailed us the other day and told us about a photo (below) he had taken of Media on 053014. The photo clearly shows the condition of the Futuro is continuing to deteriorate; if you look to the left rear of the unit you can see that the unit appears to be seriously damaged and in response to a comment on the photo aka Skycat Ranger tells us:

"... this was it's good side. Other side is caved in."

Our thanks to aka Skycat Ranger for the photo and the update.

Futuro, Media, PA, USA - aka Skycat Ranger - 053014

Update 111713

It seems that the Futuro is still on site and yet to be moved. Our thanks to Cinnamon McCloskey who contacted us and confirmed that as of 111513 the Futuro was still on site in Media. Cinnamon describes the Futuro as:

"Completely gutted, missing the stairs and in generally horrible condition."

Cinnamon also sent us the four photos displayed below which sadly show that the condition of the Futuro continues to deteriorate.

Futuro, Media, PA, USA - Cinnamon McClocskey 1 - 111513

Futuro, Media, PA, USA - Cinnamon McClocskey 2 - 111513

Futuro, Media, PA, USA - Cinnamon McClocskey 3 - 111513

Futuro, Media, PA, USA - Cinnamon McClocskey 4 - 111513

Update 031813

In recent email correspondence with Paul we learned that the Media Futuro did not get shipped out before the winter set in and that it is currently still on the site in Media.

Apparently shipping a Futuro is not always that easy to get set up; Paul tells us one shipper who had initially seemed interested in taking on the work subsequently procrastinated and stalled and in the end never did anything while another expressed interest but then said he did not want to take on any "special projects".

At this time Paul is still trying to arrange shipping for the unit.

Update 092912

In an email today Paul confirmed that there had been some delays with the shipping of the dismantled Futuro and that at this time it is still on site at the Media location.

Update 072212

Paul, one of the team on site in Media prepping the Futuro for transport, tells us that they have gutted the floor braces and just started splitting the Futuro into sections. They expect to transport the Futuro in a few weeks. Paul sent us the photos below of the Futuro as it was just before they started work on it. Paul also confirmed that as far as they have been able to determine the Futuro has been on the current site for 34 years (since 1978). Thanks for the update and the photos Paul.

Futuro, Media, PA, USA - Just Before Dismantling 1

Futuro, Media, PA, USA - Just Before Dismantling 2

Futuro, Media, PA, USA - Just Before Dismantling 3

Update 071712

Looks like this Futuro has been found, purchased and will be heading off to a new home and a restoration project in Tampa, Florida. Geoff Hacker is an automotive historian and is researching the history of vintage fiberglass cars. On his travels he came across the Futuro and on his website Forgotten Fiberglass he talks about gathering a team together to disassemble the Futuro ready for transport to Tampa where it will be restored.

While it's not strictly a car and Geoff is clearly branching out a little the Futuro House is certainly a fascinating and iconic use of fiberglass and we are happy this example looks like it has found a good home and will likely see better days ahead. You could even stretch a point and say that while it was never functional as such a "UFO" is, like a car, a mode of transport. OK; we know, that's a little (or maybe a big) stretch.

There are some great photos on the Forgotten Fiberglass site including a very humorous photoshopped image of the Futuro ready for transport strapped to the top of an SUV; we figure it will not be quite so easy.

We don't know if the Futuro is still in Media; the Forgotten Fiberglass article is dated 010312 and talks about starting disassembly in the spring so it is possible the Futuro has already been moved.

The video below is a very entertaining record of Geoff's first encounter with the Futuro.


Original Information 070712

The owner of this Futuro House has a website on which he offers it for sale; the website does not appear to be dated though there are images on the site with a date of 010111 which clearly suggests the Futuro was for sale on that date. We have to assume that had the owner sold it he would have taken down the website so, as of the date of writing, 070712, we have to believe the Futuro is still on site and still for sale.

We did not previously know exactly where this Futuro House was located but in January 2012 there was a series of postings in the Yahoo Group "futurohouse" about a Futuro in Media, PA, USA and there were some pictures posted. Those pictures clearly confirmed that it was indeed one and the same and that places the Futuro on the site at the start of 2012. The latest imagery we can find in Google Earth that clearly shows the Futuro is dated 041110 (screen grab below); there is later imagery dated 090110 and 100711 but in each case the tree canopy is full and it is not possible to see the Futuro.

Futuro, Media, PA, USA | Google Earth Imagery Dated 041110

Photos clearly show that this Futuro House needs significant restoration work to come anywhere near habitable condition (there are many images on the owner's website). The owner is not making any attempt to hide this; in fact just the opposite, it seems that he is a passionate fan who hoped to be able to live a dream but finds himself in the unfortunate position of not having the resources to properly complete the restoration project and we respect and admire him for his wish to sell with the hope the Futuro finds an owner who will do it justice and give it the love (and money) it needs.

Unfortunately though we would love to be that owner the resources that would be required to purchase, relocate and restore a Futuro are way beyond our humble means and, failing a lottery win, that is likely to remain the case.

Sources
In Books & Magazines
Latest Confirmation

Google Earth satellite imagery dated 062619.

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