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

                   

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         UPDATED 020417 | ADDED 090711 | PENSACOLA BEACH, FLORIDA, USA | HOME | LOCATIONS - LIST - PREVIOUS - NEXT
1304 Panferio Dr, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561, USA | 30°20'26.44"N 87°6'11.13"W
Featured Image Via Wikipedia | CC 3.0 | Image Date 052707
 
Google Maps | Satellite Imagery Date 021315
Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA  
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Additional Images & Videos
 
Notes, History & Resources
Update 020417

These two vintage "Polaroids", added to my collection of "Things Futuro" recently show this Futuro "back in the day". Though undated they almost certainly show the Futuro early in its life as both of the photos show a lot of aging and are clearly many years old.

Though both have the marking "Polaroid" it is unclear if that refers to Polaroid film or to them actually being shot using a Polaroid camera; they do not look like the images I recall shooting with a Polaroid camera in my youth but maybe there were different versions of such cameras.

The first photo is 4¼" x 2¼" and is mounted to a piece of cardboard. The second is 6¼" x 4½" and is mounted in a 8½" x 7¾" "presentation folder".

Gulf Breeze Vintage Polaroid 1 - Front  Gulf Breeze Vintage Polaroid 1 - Back

Gulf Breeze Vintage Polaroid 2 - Outside  Gulf Breeze Vintage Polaroid 2 - Inside

Gulf Breeze Vintage Polaroid 2 - Photo



Update 062516

As evidenced by this photo posted to Instagram by downtownpensacola it seems that you can purchase souvenir cups featuring an image of this Futuro; presumably a souvenir shop in the area.

If anyone happens to know the name and address of this establishment [or any other that might sell these cups] I would really appreciate it if you would let me know; be nice to add one to my collection of "Things Futuro". I can be contacted by email or via my Contact Form

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Souvenir Cups - Instagram Photo by downtownpensacola



Update 082215

Ting Na Wang, who has made several contributions to these pages, sent me a link to the photo below. The photo was posted to Instagram by stroutsy. The photo is undated but is clearly of some age as it shows the Futuro being placed at its current location [and in addition, to me at least, it looks mighty like an old Polaroid photo].

At the time the Futuro was a different color [an orange color very reminiscent of Idyllwild and old photos of Futuro #001 in Hirvensalmi] to the off white the unit currently sports.

The Instagram posting indicates that the photo came from a Facebook page called Mid Century Modern. There seem to be several such pages and so far I have not been able to find where this photo was posted. If you happen to know let me know so I can provide proper attribution.

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Photo From Instagram By stroutsy



Update 092714

I came across this video the other day. It was uploaded to Youtube by Kyle Owens 092014. The video is a time lapse that condenses the eight hours of construction of a model of this Futuro using cardboard and cans into a little over 4 minutes.

The model was constructed 091914 at the Artel Gallery in Pensacola, Florida as part of a charity effort. In a post on the Artel Gallery Facebook Page the Gallery writes that:

"Artel is excited to once again be a part of Canstruction! Hardworking members from area architecture firms and Manna Food Pantries have teamed up to create this fun design competition to raise funds and collect cans for Manna."





Update 122513

Ken Ratcliff recently posted the two photographs below to Flickr [here and here]. The photographs are published under CC 2.0 and Ken has also kindly agreed to let me use them here - thanks Ken. The photos were taken 110813 and for me there are two interesting observations to be made.

The first is that the close up shot shows that the condition of this unit is not quite as perfect as it appears in some shots. While some older shots do show this to some extent I have not before seen a shot that so clearly provides photographic evidence of "bubbling" and degradation in the units "paint job."

The second involves the color. I have often seen in my own very amateur attempts at photography that photographs do not always accurately reflect color; lighting, weather conditions, camera settings and all manner of factors affect the end result.

Having said that if I look back to say 2007 [the Wikipedia shot above is a good example] I see a color that appears to be the one reflected in Ken's photos taken a little over a month ago. But then if I look at some of the photographs in between those two dates [check out the photographs below by Barbara Shallue] the unit looks white. Seems unlikely that the unit was one color, then painted white and then returned to the original color but anything is possible. On the other hand perhaps it is all the same color and "photography" is the cause of the apparent change.

I will let you form your own opinions.

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Ken Ratcliff 1

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Ken Ratcliff 2



Update 071413

R.W. Sinclair snapped the photo below on what looks like a dark and stormy in Florida confirming this Futuro remains on site as of 070513. The photo was posted to Flickr under CC 2.0.

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - R.W. Sinclair



Update 102812

The three videos below were uploaded to YouTube by TheGickel on 052608, pensacolabeachinfo on 072606 and Nick Fox on 050212 respectively.







The photo below is by C-Monster and displayed under CC 2.0. The photo was taken 090508 and is one of the best shots I have seen showing the ramp up to the Futuro.

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA

The Pensacola Beach Futuro seems to have been photographed more than many of the other Futuros so there are a great many photos to choose from when thinking about portraying this Futuro. In my opinion the shots below by Barbara Shallue that were posted on 012312 to her blog Confessions Of A Photography Addict are definitely among the best.

I am not by any means a photographer, I take snaps like many of us do, but I am no expert for sure; I don't know if these shots were taken in unusual light, if some kind of filters were used or what but there is something about the lighting and the tone of the shots that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Barbara Shallue 1

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Barbara Shallue 2

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Barbara Shallue 3

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Barbara Shallue 4

The five photos below also stand out to me for one reason or another. From the top:
  • A photo by Convict J-man taken 091811. I have always liked black and white photography and this is a great example.
  • A photo by ChiDN. Great black and white shot taken 102209; looks like the wind is up and serious weather is on the way.
  • A photo by Gregory Moine shot 122909 [CC 2.0]. This shot is taken at night and features some cool lighting on the Futuro.
  • A photo by flabonganator. This nice close up was taken 041012.
  • A photo by usc_ty taken on 082512. This nice shot provides the latest confirmed date for this Futuro.

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Convict J-man

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - ChiDN

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Gregory Moine

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - flabonganator

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - usc_ty

For something just a little different check out the three photos below. The first is by Innisfree Hotels [CC 2.0]; a really well composed shot featuring an "alien" and some cool reflections. The second, by Gigi Elmes features - well I am not entirely sure what it features; you will have to decide for yourself! The third of the trio is by Stephen Ulman who recently graduated Washington State University with a master's in landscape architecture. The photo is of a 2009 drawing Stephen [along with Ryan Anderson according to the drawing's tag line] did of the Futuro. On his blog Stephen says "I drew this from a photo and added my own improvements to the property." Looks pretty good to me; if I ever manage to buy my own Futuro you might just have a job Stephen!

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Innisfree Hotels

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Gigi Elmes

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Stephen Ulman drawing

There are many more photos of this Futuro out there; you can find some of them on Flickr under the tag "futuro house pensacola".
 
Update 102812

In the Winter 2007 issue of CA Modern Magazine there is an article about Wayne Donaldson's Idyllwild Futuro. Also in ths article we hear from Victoria Clarkin, owner of the Pensacola Beach Futuro.

Clarkin says that after spending her high school graduation weekend at the Futuro she "... knew the spaceship was going to own me one day". Victoria and husband Mark use the Futuro as a beach house and it also serves as headquarters for the Pensacola Beach Preservation & Historical Society.

Perched atop a 1950's era concrete beach house the Futuro has withstood hurricanes Ivan and Dennis; Victoria says "It's round and aerodynamic so when rain and wind hit it it doesn't get too damaged." The house also withstands hordes of tourists on a daily basis; Clarkin tells us that on a busy beach day 500 or more people take photos of the Futuro.

We can place the Futuro on site using Google Earth's historical satellite imagery as far back as 012394; the current imagery is dated 010312. However all of the evidence suggests that this Futuro has only ever been located here. An article on the website Toes In The Sand [Dead link - see pdf here] informs us that "A helicopter helped it land on it's current launch pad in the early seventies". That same article also references hurricane Ivan telling us that "It even held its ground through Hurricane Ivan which completely immersed it's 'launch pad' in water". I am assuming that the "launch pad" is the building upon which the Futuro is situated.

Another possible indication of age is a really cool old black and white photo of the Futuro. Though I have not been able to find the date this photo was taken the composition and tone along with the car parked out front all suggest a photgraph of some age. The copyright on the photo is held by the Pensacola Beach Preservation and Historical Society and you can check it out here. This photo also appeared in the Toes In The Sand [Dead link - see pdf here] article referenced above and it is seen on page 95 of Douglas Curran's book In Advance of the Landing. In the book the notes that accompany the photo suggest that the Futuro was 36 feet in diameter; this is not the case and a quick check on Google maps will confirm that this unit is the same size as other Futuros. A photo of my copy of the book is below.

In Advance Of The Landing Page 95
This is a deliberately low quality photo of page 95 from my copy of Douglas Curran's book "In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts of Outer Space ". My intention is to illustrate the both the old photograph of the Futuro and the books contents and 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!

A further confirmation of the idea that this Futuro has spent its entire life at this one location can be found on RoadsideAmerica.com where, in an 082808 comment, Connie F. tells us that it "was first lowered onto the launch pad in the late sixties by a helicopter".

Also of interest on the same RoadsideAmerica.com page is the suggestion, in another comment, that the "structure is built like a UFO to lift up and float if the area is ever flooded out". To me clearly an incorrect statement; there is nothing I have ever seen that would suggest that as a design motive on the part of Matti Suuronen and based on the Futuros I have seen in person I am not too sure they would float that well anyway.

The Futuro makes a brief appearance in the music video "Even Though I Want To"; a Choice Video Services, Inc. Music Video Production for Pearl Clarkin. Given that the Victoria Clarkin owns the Futuro I am guessing there is a family relationship. The Futuro appears briefly about a minute and ten seconds into the video.

Finally, and appropriately as I am writing just a few days before Halloween, there is one final noteworthy comment on the RoadsideAmerica.com page; Lynne tells us that "At Halloween each year a large orange parachute, probably on loan from the nearby Pensacola Naval Air Station, transforms the UFO into a giant toothy pumpkin." After searching for a while I found this photo using Google Image search; the original page would not load so I am not sure where the photo came from so if you know it's origin please let me know so I can provide appropriate attribution. Thanks

Futuro, Pensacola Beach, Florida, USA - Pumpkin

For more on the Futuro and to follow any changes in the future you can check out it's Facebook page "Spaceship House".

Latest Confirmed Date

Gulf Breeze - Latest Confirmation - 120316 - findingbeautyphotographyThis photograph by findingbeautyphotography taken 120316.

The original photograph can be seen on Instagram here.


Sources & Reference

In Print - Books & Magazines

Got new, updated or corrected information or an image I could use?

I am always looking for additional information, history, details, images, videos; just about anything Futuro I guess - if you would like to contribute please use the Contact Form or email me directly.

As far as images go I am particularly interested in those that are either significantly better than the ones already on this page or show a different aspect or detail. If you own an image meeting one or both of those criteria I would love to be able to use it on this page but I will simply provide a link if that is your preference. Where permission is granted to use an image on the page appropriate attribution will be provided by means of a link to the original image, a link to a website of your choosing or both.
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