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

Kauhava - Loviisa Honkola - 021516

Kauhava - Bing Maps - Date Unknown

  • Location | Kauhava, Finland (Vicinity Only - Exact Location Withheld)
  • Lat/Long | Exact Location Withheld
  • Previous Location | Kuhmoinen, Finland
  • Image By Loviisa Honkola | Date Unknown
  • Bing Maps | Date Unknown
  • Latest Confirmation | 080919
Info, History, Photos


Update 010115

We came across this photograph a few days ago on Instagram. The photo is by Jani Lassila and was posted 040814. Not only is the photo a great recent photo of one of the lesser photographed Futuros it also provides a clear look at the unusual, higher than normal, mounting of the Futuro. Our thanks to Jani for allowing us to display the photo here.

Futuro, Kauhava, Finland - janilassila

Update 050314

Yves Buysse recently sent us one of the three photos below and, at the time, we were not aware it was a photo of Kauhava so we added it to the "Where Are They Now?" page as an "Unknown Location." Overnight we had many emails telling us it was Kauhava and on further inspection it was clear we should have recognized that.

The photo came from larsramberg.de and there were two other photos on that page. All three are displayed below courtesy of larsramberg.de; not only do we get several glimpses of the Futuro but we also have views of the Venturo and other items in this wonderful collection.

Futuro, Kauhava, Finland - Lars Ramburg 1

Futuro, Kauhava, Finland - Lars Ramburg 2

Futuro, Kauhava, Finland - Lars Ramburg 3

Update 033113

This morning we spent several hours scouring Google Maps and Bing Maps and eventually found the Kauhava Futuro. Interestingly we just got a message from futurohouse; he had done exactly the same thing and also identified the location.

Most of the Futuro House locations are well documented and included on this website but in the case of the Kauhava Futuro the exact location has been kept very "low profile" and so far we have yet to see it anywhere on the web. That being the case we have decided not to publish the precise location on this page at this time but we are including screenshots from Google Maps and Bing Maps (with no information identifying the exact location) to illustrate the location of this Futuro.

The first screenshot below is from Google Maps and shows the Futuro from both aerial (satellite imagery dated 032704) and "Streetview" (imagery dated 10/2009). The "Streetview" is from a distant side street and is shown at extreme "zoom" and the image is very unclear. The second screenshot is from Bing Maps; we are not able to determine the imagery date.

If we find the exact location published elsewhere on the web we will add it here but until then if you want to track it down then you know what to do; start up either Google Maps or Bing Maps and "let the search begin."

Futuro, Kauhava, Finland - Google Maps

Futuro, Kauhava, Finland - Bing Maps

Update 033013

Our good friend Achin Breiling sent us a link to a blog post he came across the other day. The blog is in Finnish and even with Google Translate (which does not do a great job with the Scandinavian languages) we are unsure of the content but it appears to be by a individual (or group) that takes aerial photos while hang-gliding. The photo below is a great shot which captures the Kauhava Futuro and clearly shows that the owner is a collector of "things Suuronen". The date of the blog post suggests the photo is from August 2010. We could not find a contact link on the blog so we left a comment asking for permission to use this image. If this is your image please let us know if it is OK to use it here; thanks.

Futuro, Kauhava - Aerial - Parinapoika

Update 102712

Thanks to Achim Breiling and his uncle in Finland we now have a much better translation of the Joroisten Lehti article than Google was able to provide. In addition Achim pointed out something to us that we ought to have noticed and did not, the old photo that accompanies this article shows a Futuro with a unique window configuration; a single row of three lower windows rather than the normal two pairs we see on the majority of European Futuros.

Based on this new translation and the evidence of the photo we believe we can piece together a pretty good idea of the history of this Futuro and also of the Pöytyä Futuro; the only other Futuro we have ever come across with a row of three lower windows.

The article tells us that Marja and Raimo Mähönen had purchased the Futuro from a neighbor who in turn had acquired the Luumäki Futuro. Shortly after purchasing the Futuro the neighbor began to regret it and she offered the Futuro to Raimo who thought about it for a short while and then agreed. Raimo said it was expensive but that he immediately gained 40 additional seats for the coffee bar attached to the fuel station and that ultimately it turned out to be a worthwhile investment.

The Futuro was at the Union service station in Joroinen from 1971 until 1978; it was then used as a Sales Office by a pottery company, Kyyrälön Savi, for two summers before being purchased by a man who moved the Futuro to Järvenpää, were it served as the information office for a car shop.

The article does not take the history any further but there is some other evidence to help us. Kyösti Iitti purchased the Pöytyä Futuro from a company selling used cars in Pori in the early 90s. Now Pori is some 200 kilometers or so from Järvenpää but the Futuro was used by a car related business both in Pori and in Järvenpää; perhaps the company had more than one location. Alternatively the Futuro could have been sold and moved sometime during the 80's or early 90's. It does seem likely though that the Futuro originally from Luumäki is now the one at Pöytyä given the unique window configuration not seen on any other Futuros.

So, while we cannot be certain, based on the evidence it seems likely that the Futuro with the three lower windows started out in Luumäki and was then purchased by a lady in Joroinen. Shortly afterwards the Futuro was purchased by Marja and Raimo Mähönen and it served as a coffee bar at their service station in Joroinen from 1971 through 1978. The Futuro then served two years as a Sales Office for a pottery before being sold again and moved to Järvenpää where it served as information office for a car shop. Sometime between this sale and the early 90's the Futuro was relocated (perhaps sold and relocated or perhaps just moved to another location belonging to the same car company) to Pori. Finally in the early 90's Kyösti Iitti purchased the Futuro and moved it to its current location in Pöytyä.

Of course if that is indeed the history of the Futuro with the three lower windows then clearly the owner of the Kauhava Futuro was correct when he said that he did not believe his Futuro had originally come from Luumäki though it seems he was incorrect about the Luumäki Futuro being destroyed in a fire. So, if the Kauhava Futuro was not from Luumäki then perhaps it was in fact the Futuro that spent time at Kuhmoinen as the current owner suggested. Given that we now know the story of the Luumäki Futuro and that if anyone should know the history of a Futuro it is the owner we think that is likely the case.

Joroisten Lehti article translation | Thanks to Achim Breiling and his uncle.

Headline of the ad:
Fuel service all around the clock (24/7)

Text below the photo in the ad:
Raimo Mähönen once filling station attendant, now autonomous entrepreneur has completely renovated his filling station. In the new coffee bar there are 58 seats, the sales room has been enlarged and the garage expanded. Filling pumps and bar work now as self service. "Here one should get along fine now" says Raimo. The eye-catching Futuro plastic house was used as coffee bar before the renovation.

Headline of the main text:
Many still remember the Ufo-Cafe

Text:
The Futuro plastic house (better known as UFO house) was used as coffee bar extension to the Union fuel station of Raimo and Marja Mähönen and was obtained from one of their neighbors (the daughter of the Stendahls). "She had bought the Futuro house of Luumäki, but afterwards she began to regret it and offered it to me. I promised to think it over for a night, then I bought it. It was expensive, but it was a good investment. We gained immediately 40 additional seats at the fuel station", remembers Raimo Mähönen. The Futuro was in Joroinen at the Street No. 5 from 1971-1978. Then it served for 2 summers as sales room for the company Kyyrälön Savi (pottery). Many people were interested in the UFO, but few wanted to buy it. "One day a man came in and asked for the price of the Futuro. He made an offer and got the money from the bank. He brought the Futuro to Järvenpää, were it served as information office for a car shop. As the Futuro is made of single components, it was easy to move." (says Mähönen) Due to the bad situation on the plastics world market, the production of the houses was finally stopped.


Update 102112

The photos below are by Johanna Lehtonen from a post on Facebook. The photos were posted 062212 and confirm the Futuro on site as of that date; they are also just awesome photos. We (think) we messaged Johanna for permission to use the photos but we are not entirely sure we messaged the right individual and we never received a response. So, Johanna, if you see this at any time please let us know if this use and attribution of your photos is OK. Thanks.

Futuro, Kauhava, Finland - By Johanna Lehtonen 1

Futuro, Kauhava, Finland - By Johanna Lehtonen 2

Original Information 110111

Though it is known to be in the Kauhava, Finland area the exact location of this Futuro is unknown to us. The Google Map above is centered on Kauhava, Finland but it is only showing the general vicinity of this Futuro. The satellite imagery in Google Earth is old (032704), taken when the area was covered with snow and a little unclear and to date we have been unable to pin down the precise location of the Futuro House.

Futuro, Luumaki - Marko Home Book Page 38On page 38 of the Marko Home/Mika Taanila edited 2003 book "Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday" we learn that the Futuro, now owned by a private collector and located in Kauhava, was at one time located in Luumäki and there served as the "UFO Cafe".

As we get further into the book we learn that the Futuro was dismantled and stored away after being moved from Luumäki. The Futuro was stored dismantled and in a poor condition for several years on the grounds of a Vääsky based company before being repaired and exhibited at the 7th International Istanbul Biennial (102201-111701) in Turkey. The image below right (also from the Home/Taanila book) shows the Futuro during its time in storage.

Futuro, Luumaki - Marko Home Book Page 76The project to restore, transport and display the Futuro in Istanbul in 2001 was undertaken by the company Ekin Muovi. Below are some photos of the Futuro during its time on display in the grounds of the Ottoman Mint at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul from the Ekin Muovi website.

Following display in Istanbul the Futuro was returned to Finland and its current location in Kauhava.

Futuro, Kauhava - Istanbul 2001 - Ekin Muovi 1

Futuro, Kauhava - Istanbul 2001 - Ekin Muovi 2

Futuro, Kauhava - Istanbul 2001 - Ekin Muovi 3

Futuro, Kauhava - Istanbul 2001 - Ekin Muovi 4

Futuro, Kauhava - Istanbul 2001 - Ekin Muovi 5

We learn more about the Kauhava Futuro from Anna-Maija Kuitunen's final thesis for the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Finland. Anna-Maija Kuitunen tells us of her 032910 interview with the current owner.

The owner is a private collector who also owns examples of other Suuronen designed plastic architecture. The Futuro's shell, painted light blue, has been repaired but at the time of the interview the interior furnishings though restored had not yet been installed. The owner confirmed that the unit had been exhibited at The 7th International Istanbul Biennial in 2001 and added that when it was returned to Finland it "was in a need of some repairing" having "suffered from wear and abrasion".

The owner also talked about the history of his Futuro and he suggested that it had not in fact come from Luumäki (he indicated that he thought the Luumäki Futuro had been destroyed in a fire). He went on to indicate that he believed it had previously been located in Kuhmoinen (see photo below); first as the cafe attached to a local motel/service station (shown below courtesy of Finnish Museums Online) and then later as a flower shop close to the market square. In addition the owner noted that over the years the Building Fair of Finland and various exhibitions in the Helsinki area had asked to display the Futuro but that it had not actually appeared in any exhibitions after Istanbul.

Futuro - Kuhmoinen

So the history of this Futuro is perhaps a little unclear and, unfortunately, there is yet more to it. Google's ability to translate Finnish appears to us to be a little limited; in every instance where we have translated Finish text using Google's tools the result has still been somewhat open to interpretation.

This article from Joroisten Lehti (Finnish | Google Translate to English here) is a good example of the translation issue. The photo below courtesy of the website shows a Futuro located at a service station in, we think, Joroinen. What is noteworthy is that the text accompanying the photo indicates that the owners, Marja and Raimo Mähönen, had acquired the Luumäki Futuro. So, did the Futuro move from Luumäki to Joroinen and then to Kauhava? An anonymous comment on a blog post on 70-luvulta (Finnish | Google Translate to English here) also mentions a Futuro at Joroinen and adds that it served as a service station cafeteria.

Futuro, Luumaki - Joroinen

So with somewhat conflicting reports and our struggles to read/translate Finnish we are not able to come up with a definitive history of this Futuro. What we do know is that it is now located in Kauhava and that it appeared at the 7th International Istanbul Biennial in 2001. What is unclear is where else the Futuro has been over the years; perhaps Luumäki, maybe Joroinen or Kuhmoinen or even some combination of those. Furthermore so far we have been unable to unearth any photos of this Futuro at its current location in Kauhava.

If you are able to clarify anything either based on personal knowledge or because you can read/understand the referenced webpages or maybe provide a current photo please let us know. Thanks.

Sources
In Books & Magazines
Latest Confirmation

Google Earth satellite imagery dated 080919.

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