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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 043016 | ADDED 071012 | HUNTSBURY, NEW ZEALAND | HOME | LOCATIONS - LIST - PREVIOUS - NEXT
115 Huntsbury Ave, Huntsbury, Christchurch 8022, New Zealand | 43°34'17.34"S 172°39'19.72"E
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Google Maps | Satellite Imagery Date 042512
Futuro, Huntsbury, New Zealand - Bing Maps  
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Notes, History & Resources
Updated 060615

Yves Buysse recently sent me a link to Spacebug's webpage and an archived article from the publication Designscape [Issue #86, 1976]. The article is about Futuro Enterprises (Christchurch) Ltd. and it included the photo below to illustrate the interior of a Futuro.

It is unclear in the article if this shot was of the interior of the demonstration Futuro at the company's factory or taken in a unit already delivered to a client. That said the photo is almost identical to this photo of the interior of the first of the two Huntsbury Futuros right down to the bird of prey sculpture so if it was the demonstration unit that unit was then delivered to Huntsbury almost completely unchanged internally. Additional photos, pdf's of the article and more detail can be found here.

Designscape Magazine #86 1976 - Huntsbury Interior



Updated 052415

This week I received the photo below from Nick McQuoid; the photo is of a Futuro located at 24 Chalet Crescent, Hanmer Springs, New Zealand.

I had not come across this particular location previously. Nick tells me the Futuro was in Hanmer Springs from the 1970's through about 1990 when it was moved to Kaikoura. As we know in the early 2000's the Futuro was again moved; this time to its current location as one of the two now on Huntsbury Ave. Thanks for the photo and the info Nick.

Futuro - Hanmer Springs, New Zealand - 70's To Around 90 - Photo From Nick McQuoid



Updated 022115

As is obvious by these pages I spend a great deal of time researching the Futuro House but no matter how many searches I run and how much time I spend there is always more out there that I have not come across. This week Nick McQuoid [owner of three Futuros, two in Rangiora in process of restoration and one disassembled and in storage in Invercargill] sent me a link to a March 2012 post on the Lost Christchurch Facebook Page.

The post included some very cool photos [both exterior and interior] of one of these Futuros as it was back in the days when it was the only one at this location. The photos below are courtesy of the Lost Christchurch Facebook Page and Nick; thanks for sending me the link.

Futuro, Kaikoura - Lost Christchurch Facebook Page 1

Futuro, Kaikoura - Lost Christchurch Facebook Page 2  Futuro, Kaikoura - Lost Christchurch Facebook Page 3

Futuro, Kaikoura - Lost Christchurch Facebook Page 4  Futuro, Kaikoura - Lost Christchurch Facebook Page 5



Updated 051714

Until the early 2000's there was only a single Futuro on this site; these two images show the site prior to the addition of the second Futuro. The first was sent to me by Achim Breiling and the second is the cover of the book He Was There, Too: Reminiscences of a Christian Journalist written by Marjory Staples [writing under the "pen name" Rosaline Redwood], the previous owner.

Futuro, Huntsbury, New Zealand - Single Futuro - Achim Breiling

Futuro, Huntsbury, New Zealand - Single Futuro - He Was There Too - Cover

This interesting "play" on the Futuro was sent to me by Yves Buysse and shows an edited version of the first image created as "advertising" for a specialty watch maker. The image was found online but the original source is now "lost in the mists of time".

Futuro, Huntsbury, New Zealand - Single Futuro - Watch Ad From Yves Buysse

The Photo below by Paul McNeil is the only one I have ever seen of the Kaikoura Futuro prior to its being relocated to its current location. It illustrates the awesome mountain side location but the Futuro itself is small and cannot be seen in any detail. If you have any photos of the Kaikoura Futuro I would love to see them. You can use the Contact Form or email me directly.

This is a low quality photo from my copy of "Futuro - Tomorrow's House From Yesterday" of a Paul McNeil photo. My intention is to illustrate the Kaikoura Futuro not to provide a copyright infringing image to be copied and reproduced elsewhere so please respect both the author's and photographer's rights and if you would like to use this book's content purchase your own copy. Thanks!
Futuro, Kaikoura - Marko Home Book Paul McNeil Photo
 
Updated 051714

Prior to the early 2000's there was a single Futuro on this site. New Zealand author and journalist Marjory Staples [who wrote under the "pen name" Rosaline Redwood] and her husband brought the first Futuro to the site and later sold the property to the current owners in August 1997. The second Futuro, previously located in Kaikoura, New Zealand was moved to the site by the current owners in the early 2000's. In the narrative below I refer to Rosaline Redwood as opposed to Marjory Staples since I am discussing one of the books written under the Redwood "pen name".

In the book He Was There, Too: Reminiscences of a Christian Journalist Rosaline Redwood chronicles some of her many trips to places around the world on magazine and radio assignments. In Chapter 2 of the book, "Guinea Pigs In A Flying Saucer", Redwood recounts some of the interesting history of the Futuro House and includes some of the many issues she encountered both with the original installation of the Futuro and also with the day to day experience of living in a Futuro.

Rosaline Redwood first saw a Futuro House on the TV; she recalls it being described as "The House Of Tomorrow" and goes on tell us how it was credited with being:

"... burglar-proof, noise-proof, rust-proof, hurricane proof and any other proof you could think up ..."

Plans already in progress for a retirement home changed almost immediately. Though there are no dates in the book Redwood tells us that:

"The construction company had found the landing pad for their first permanent flying saucer. They had found their guinea-pigs too ..."

which suggests that, other than temporary locations and exhibitions, this was the first Futuro in New Zealand. Redwood boasted to her friends of a "house in three days" and she and husband Richard put their current property on the market. The unsuspecting "guinea-pigs" had no idea that three days was about to turn into several months.

The first hurdle was "red tape" and planning regulations. There were no rules that could readily be applied to this totally new concept and so the "planners" and "regulators" had to come up with new ones. There were plumbing, building and electrical inspections; the City Council required extensive stress tests that took significant time and weeks ran into months. The first attempt at installing the foundation was faulty and it had to be redone. Eventually the Redwoods found themselves camping in a small shed for a time. Redwood summarizes this way:

"The three-day construction job had extended to nearly seven months. It was still far from finished. But there was a roof, a floor and a bed. After the hut, it seemed spacious."

Finally moving into the Futuro should, Redwood says, have been an occasion to celebrate but in fact she recounts how:

"With the blissful ignorance of average guinea-pigs, we were launched into the most grueling aspect of the trial."

Over the coming months and years the Redwood's faced all manner of challenges including:
  • Repeated issues with the doorway; not being able to open it, not being able to close it, having it closed at night only to find it had crept open during the night. On one occasion Rosaline was "locked" outside in her negligee on a day when she was expecting guests for lunch. The cable supporting the door and facilitating opening and closing broke; the construction company indicated there were no cables available and for a time the door was always open. The cable was replaced several times until it was discovered that there was technical flaw in one of the fittings and it was modified. The thought was that the issues were resolved but after repeated "lock ins" and more calls to the contractor it was finally discovered that the hydraulic shaft had been installed upside down; this was corrected and finally the door began to behave itself.
  • The refrigerator ceaselessly made what Redwood describes as a "chug-chug" noise that repeatedly caused sleepless nights as the noise echoed around the "dome" and turned it into a "torture chamber". The contractor was finally persuaded to replace it with a silent model.
  • The entire structure shuddered when the washing machine was in the spin cycle; so severe was this that on one occasion Redwood recalls a guest exiting the house alarmed that they were in the throes of an earthquake.
  • The range, which was gleaming and modern, would not even permit Redwood to "burn a dinner". Lacking the power to even boil a kettle the range became another topic of calls to the contractor. Eventually an electrician arrived and discovered faulty fittings, missing lagging and dud heating elements. The model was in short supply and the wait for a replacement was lengthy. At the same time the microwave which, according to Redwood, had ceased functioning in sympathy with the range was also replaced.
  • The bathroom floor required "bailing" after a shower since the water did not drain. Redwood, with either more understanding than I might have had or perhaps more likely a cynical "snipe" at the plumbers who installed the bathroom fittings, adds that the plumbers, dealing with a "funny shaped" first could hardly have been expected to know that they had installed the floor "inside out" or perhaps "upside down". After many complaints the floor was tiled but that did not fix the issue and the "bailing" continued. After a year or so the Managing Director of the contracting firm visited and immediately directed that the floor be fixed. It was finally replaced correctly and "wading" in the bathroom became a thing of the past.
  • Wallpaper seemed to be "allergic" to the fiberglass construction of the house and often peeled until Redwood replaced it herself using a glue that was guaranteed to stick to anything from wood to metal.
  • The A/C and Heating unit was supposed to be the best in the world except it did not appear to heat with any great effect. The ability of the well insulated structure to maintain temperature however was as advertised; in the cold it stayed really cold. Despite the best efforts of the contractor to identify the issue the unit eventually had to be replaced but that was not until after, during what Redwood described as "the coldest winter" she could remember, they had had to actually move out for a while.
There were other challenges along the way too but eventually the "gremlins" were killed off and the "bugs" zapped and one day Redwood and her husband found that they had:

"... adapted to space-age living."

In August 1997 the property, still with a single Futuro, was sold to the current owners.

The only photo I have ever come across of the Futuro in Kaikoura can be found in the marvelous book Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday edited by Marko Home and Mika Taanila. The photo, shown at left, gives an idea of the magnificent mountain side location the Futuro occupied. That said it is not a great photo of the Futuro itself. If anyone has any photos of the Futuro as it was in Kaikoura I would love to hear from you. You can use the Contact Form or email me directly.

The exact timing of the addition of the second Futuro to this site is not known. The earliest Google Earth satellite imagery for the location is dated 120304 and shows both Futuros so it is clearly prior to this date. However we can actually determine that the date was in fact 2002 or earlier based on a Neil Owens photo showing both Futuros on site appearing in Home and Taanila's book. The book was first published in 2002.

The most recent satellite imagery in Google Earth is dated 082913 and shows that the Futuros are still on site as of that date.

Latest Confirmed Date

Google Earth imagery dated 021816.

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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