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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 030417 | ADDED 091211 | CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA | HOME | LOCATIONS - LIST - PREVIOUS - NEXT

         Previously located at 8 Hawdon Street, Dickson, ACT, 2602, Australia - Moved 2011
University of Canberra, Bldg 5, Bruce ACT 2617, Australia | 35°14'20.20"S 149°5'0.32"E
Featured Image Courtesy Of Peter Bartlett | Image Date October 2014
 
Google Maps | Satellite Imagery Date 031916
Completed Futuro Restoration Canberra University 1  
Additional Images & Videos
 
Notes, History & Resources
Update 091016

The 091312 update to this page included mention of this Futuro appearing at the Building Materials Exhibition Center in Maryborough Street, Fyshwick around 1972.

The photo below is of an advertisement from The Canberra Times dated 070172 which matches this exact location and timeframe thus confirming the earlier information.

I came across this in a comment on a post on the Futuro House Facebook page. The original newspaper page can be found on trove.nla.gov.au

The Canberra Times - 070172 Ad For Futuro



Update 012316

I recently received an email from Daniel Soma in which he wrote:

"I am an artist from Sydney and am currently working on an exhibition (opening 041416) which is a case study of the failure of the Futuro home. It is an investigation of relational consequences that have naturally been undocumented which leave us with a clouded perception of "what went wrong". I find the Futuro home to be a wonderful catapult for this idea, and am consequently using its story for the show."

As a part of his preparation Daniel visited this Futuro on 112315 and the photos below were shot during that visit. I am not sure what form the exhibition will take but it relates to Futuro so I am eagerly awaiting more information.

Canberra Futuro 012316 Daniel Soma 1

Canberra Futuro 012316 Daniel Soma 2  Canberra Futuro 012316 Daniel Soma 3

Canberra Futuro 012316 Daniel Soma 4  Canberra Futuro 012316 Daniel Soma 5

Canberra Futuro 012316 Daniel Soma 6  Canberra Futuro 012316 Daniel Soma 7



Update 101114

The photographs displayed below were sent to me this week by Peter Bartlett and show the completed Canberra University Futuro. My thanks to Peter for sharing these photographs.

Completed Futuro Restoration Canberra University 2

Completed Futuro Restoration Canberra University 3

Completed Futuro Restoration Canberra University 4

Completed Futuro Restoration Canberra University 4



Update 040514

The photo below, an artist's impression of the fully restored Futuro, accompanied a 032714 canberratimes.com.au article by Megan Doherty on the restoration project titled "Back to the futuro: iconic buildings headed to University of Canberra." Not really any new information in the article but the artists impression is interesting; note that the exterior color appears to be very similar to that of the restored Futuro at the WeeGee Exhibition Center.

Futuro Restoration Canberra University - Artists Impression



Update 020814

This week Wade, who is overseeing the restoration of the Futuro, sent me the series of photos below showing progress so far. Thanks guys; it is interesting to follow your progress.

Arrival at the workshop:

Futuro Restoration Canberra University 1

Assembling the lower half of the Futuro:

Futuro Restoration Canberra University 2

Assembled lower half of the Futuro:

Futuro Restoration Canberra University 3

Upper panels being taken back to original ochre-yellow gel-coat:

Futuro Restoration Canberra University 4

Restoring the door/stair pulley mechanism:

Futuro Restoration Canberra University 5

Pre restoration shot showing modified doorway:

Futuro Restoration Canberra University 6

Door jamb element above the door opening re-fabricated:

Futuro Restoration Canberra University 7

CAD Model of Futuro House:

Futuro Restoration Canberra University CAD Model 1

Futuro Restoration Canberra University CAD Model 2

Futuro Restoration Canberra University CAD Model 3



Update 121513

The photo below was sent to me by Wade who is overseeing the restoration of the Futuro; this photo will serve as my "before" shot. Thanks Wade.

Futuro, Canberra University, Canberra, Australia - Refurbishment



Update 112413

The photograph below is a recent one and accompanied today's Canberra Times article reporting that restoration of the Futuro is now underway. It will be interesting to use this as the base for a before and after comparison once the Futuro returns to the campus sometime in 2014.

Futuro, Canberra University, Canberra, Australia - Canberra Times Photo Of 112413



Update 122312

The photo below accompanies another Tim The Yowie Man blog post on canberratimes.com.au. The post, dated 122112, and titled "Truth Is Out There" reports on a possible early 1970's location for this Futuro and the photo shows the Futuro during this time period.

Futuro 14 Currie Crescent, Kingston, ACT - Early 70's

Futuro Dickson - Yolande NorrisTo the right is a photo of the Futuro taken during its time at the Canberra Planetarium. Though I do not know the exact date the photo was taken I do know it was around 18 months before the fire that took place at the now closed Planetarium.

The photo was sent to me by Yolande Norris who tells me that the photo was a publicity shot for a friend's band. Yolande also told me about the latest Tim The Yowie Man blog post so - on two counts - thank you Yolande.



Update 091312

An 090712 blog post titled "Beam me up, UC" by Tim The Yowie Man on canberratimes.com.au includes the three photos displayed below courtesy of Tim The Yowie Man.

Futuro, Canberra University, Canberra, Australia - Photo By Tim The Yowie Man - 1

Futuro, Canberra University, Canberra, Australia - Photo By Tim The Yowie Man - 2  Futuro, Canberra University, Canberra, Australia - Photo By Tim The Yowie Man - 3

This image by The Shopping Sherpa [reproduced here under CC 2.0 license] shows the Furturo as it appeared 012112.

Futuro, Canberra University, Canberra, Australia - Shopping Sherpa 012112



Original Video & Image 091211

This video includes footage of and interviews related to the University Of Canberra's restoration of the Futuro previously located at the Canberra Planetarium - the Dickson Futuro.



Additional Images:
 
Update 043016

Finally got around to updating the address, lat/long and embedded Google Map to reflect the slightly different position of this Futuro on the university campus post its restoration; I believe the saying is "better late than never"!



Update 080115

Paper By John Greenwood On Proposed Restoration Of University Of Canberra FuturoThe other day I came across this .pdf file from [based on the file name] 2011. The document, titled "We Come In Pieces - Conservation Problems Associated With The Futuro House At The University Of Canberra", is an academic paper by John Greenwood which provides a high level overview of the upcoming restoration project.

The document includes a section that provides a little general Futuro history and construction information , a short section on the history of this particular Futuro House [which confirms earlier information on this page and includes reference to its use as a real estate office and as a feature at a swimming pool] and sections detailing the condition of the Futuro at the time and the plans for its restoration.

University Of Canberra Futuro Restoration - Concept Accessibility Ramp - Never ConstructedThe document also includes the photo at right which depicts a rather interesting and innovative access structure incorporating a ramp that was proposed for the project.

The design was by Anthony Durak, Jordan Evans-Tse and Steven Li and was an entry in a design competition held by the university. In the end this feature was not included in the project.

The original document can be found on the web here.



Update 101114

This week I received an email from Peter Bartlett with photographs of the restored Canberra University Futuro. My thanks to Peter for sharing these photographs which can be seen at left.

With the choice of exterior color this Futuro now reminds me a little of Futuro #001 located at the WeeGee Exhibition Center in Espoo, Finland; but that resemblance is only exterior. The interior shots show the choice to create a "new" interior for this Futuro rather than attempt to create an "original" interior.

Personally I think the restored unit looks awesome and I congratulate the project team on completing a wonderful restoration. It is great to see another Futuro in such fantastic condition.



Update 020814

This week I received an update on the Futuro restoration project from Wade who is overseeing the project along with Jon. Thanks Wade - I appreciate it; it is interesting to follow the progress of a Futuro restoration as it happens.

The team is about three months into the project and Wade tells me activity so far includes the following:
  • Removal of the water-damaged chipboard structural elements in the lower segments and their replacement with structural grade plywood
  • Assembly of the lower half of the Futuro in the workshop
  • Construction of a new floor structure
  • Restoration of the pulley/spring/cable door/staircase mechanism
  • Removal of the windows and rubbers in the upper segments
  • Removal of the five layers of paint on the Futuro's upper segments back to its original ochre-yellow color gel-coat
  • Application of primer on the upper segments ready for final finishing
Wade also sent me the series of photos at left depicting [from top to bottom]:
  • The arrival of the Futuro at the team's workshop
  • The assembly of the lower half of the Futuro
  • The completely assembled lower half of the Futuro
  • Work on the upper panels of the Futuro which includes their being stripped back to the original ochre-yellow gel-coat and then having primer applied in preparation for final finishing
  • Work on restoration of the door/staircase pulley mechanism
  • Modifications to the unit by a previous owner that included lowering the base ring by roughly 400mm and cutting a semi-circular hole out above the door (to provide adequate head-room following the lowering of the base ring). Illustrated by a pre-restoration/disassembly photo
  • The completed fabrication of a door jamb above the door opening; a part of the ongoing process of reversing the modifications and returning the Futuro to its original state
  • A very cool 3D CAD model the team is constructing
Wade also mentioned that the team had been contacted by another buyer interested in purchasing and restoring a Futuro House. Wade is aware that the Mallorca and Greenwich Futuros are currently for sale [the Lorne Futuro is no longer for sale] but is also interested in hearing about any others that might be for sale. If you own a Futuro that is for sale or know of one on the market please let me know; I will then pass contact information along to Wade.



Update 121513

Wade & Jon who are overseeing the restoration of the Futuro recently reached out to me and offered to provide updates and photos during the course of their restoration project. I am really looking forward to seeing how things progress. In the meantime the photo at left sent to me by Wade will serve as a "before" shot. Thanks Wade & Jon - I am really looking forward to following your progress as you work to return the Futuro to its former glory.



Update 112413

It seems the University of Canberra Futuro is finally going to get its major makeover. After being moved to the university campus and reassembled a couple of years ago the Futuro has remained largely unchanged. However in an article posted today on the Canberra Times website we learn that things are now moving along on the restoration front.

The Canberra Times article tells us that:

"After having spent the past two years in a relatively unkempt state at the university, the Futuro has now entered the next phase of its life. It has been pulled apart again and brought to JB Design in Fyshwick where it is being totally refurbished. It will be fitted with a curved desk following the internal circumference and house a wide range of 21st century computing and communications aids ... it will not be taken back to its original colour, a dramatic ochre-yellow that would make it stand out against any background. It will, instead, be finished in a sleek silver livery very similar to the paint scheme it had at the space dome. Regardless of the colour, the structure - which should be reinstalled at the UOC sometime in 2014 - will add a nicely surreal touch to its new home."

I for one look forward to seeing another Futuro get fully restored and will watch with interest for news of its return to the University campus.



Update 122312

A second Tim The Yowie Man blog post on canberratimes.com.au, this one dated 122112, recounts a little additional history relating to this Futuro. My thanks to Yolande Norris who told me about the post.

The post is titled "Truth Is Out There" and in it John "Cooka" Campbell tells of a Futuro that could be found at 14 Currie Crescent, Kingston, ACT in the early 1970's. Campbell is quoted in the article as follows:

"The white flying saucer was there when I moved into 14 Currie Crescent, Kingston, in the early 1970s and still there when I left some six years or so later ..."

Campbell continues:

"Just before I moved in it was used as a real estate office to help sell new developments in the area ..."

The article has this to say about the possible relationship between this unit and the one now located at Canberra University:

"Cooka and fellow housemate Walter Shafron believe "their" flying saucer is the very same futuro that ended up at the Dickson Planetarium and ultimately on the University of Canberra campus ..."

This is not inconsistent with the somewhat spotty history we have of this unit and actually very likely given the geographic proximity of the various locations. We know is was in Fyshwick around 1972 and that it later spent time in Sutton and at the Macquarie Slide Swimming Center but we do not have any dates to go with those locations so it is entirely possible, and in my view probable, that this unit was indeed the one that spent several years on Currie Crescent most likely during the period between Fyshwick and later locations.

You can find a photo of the Futuro on Currie in the early 1970's at left.

If anyone can fill in any of the many gaps that still remain in the history of this unit I would love to hear from you.



Update 091312

I have updated the embedded Google Map for this Futuro since the Futuro now shows in Google Maps. Interestingly that imagery does not appear to show yet in Google Earth so I do not know the imagery date and Google has obviously not yet done another pass by with the camera van for "Street View" since the Futuro does not yet show up there either.

An 090712 blog post titled "Beam me up, UC" by Tim The Yowie Man on canberratimes.com.au that includes a couple of cool photos also includes some additional history on the Futuro based on research conducted by UC student Erika Ceeney.

Erica's research places the Futuro initially at the Building Materials Exhibition Center in Maryborough Street, Fyshwick around 1972. It seems that the unit subsequently spent time on a private farm in Sutton and later moved to the Macquarie Slide Swimming Center [possibly painted red at that time].

It seems the whereabouts of the unit between 1991 and 1997 are unknown. In 1997 it arrived at the Dickson Canberra Planetarium site.

Sadly it seems clear from the post and the photos that my assumption that the Futuro would be restored was in error as its condition does not appear that good. perhaps a refurbishment is still in the plans - we can only hope so. It would be a shame if it were "rescued" only to then be abandoned.

If anyone has any photos of the Futuro pre 1991 I would love to see them and also if anyone can shed any light on the 1991 to 1997 period during which the Futuro was "MIA" that would be great.



Original Information 091211

Ok - so the observant ones among you will note that the Google Map does NOT show the Futuro - what's the deal - is this project not supposed to be providing accurate data? Well I am unfortunately limited by the date of satellite imagery available in Google which currently shows this Futuro at its old location at the Canberra Planetarium - the Dickson Futuro. The date of imagery returned when looking up either location is 022908 - since the Futuro was relocated early 2011 the Google Map data shows no Futuro here even though there is one [and conversely it still shows a Futuro in Dickson that is actually no longer there].

If you look at the image of the reconstruction in progress top left you will see that it does indeed reflect the location marked in Google Maps. I will revisit Google Maps from time to time and the expectation is that at the next update of the satellite imagery the Futuro will appear. As a further confirmation that I have the correct location in Google Maps you will note the building behind the Futuro in the same image shows the number 10 - a University of Canberra Media Center article indicates that the Futuro will be located "adjacent to buildings 10 and 11".

The same Media Center article quoted the University Vice-Chancellor Stephen Parker discussing the Futuro restoration project:

"The University of Canberra has expertise in teaching and research in cultural heritage and heritage conservation through its Donald Horne Institute ... The arrival of the Futuro building enables us to offer a unique practical conservation exercise for our students and staff in conservation. It provides a wonderful case study for our students in architecture, design and planning ... It also enables us to use our expertise in the heritage field to benefit the wider community by ensuring continued access to an iconic piece of design ... Plus I believe we are now the only university in the world to have its own flying saucer.

Parker also blogged about the Futuro.

There appears to be a spirit of camaraderie and co-operation between individuals and institutions interested in the preservation of Suuronen's legacy; this is of course a positive for all those who are fascinated by Futuro. A great example of that is this email from Lydia Beerkens, Senior conservator of Modern Art who oversaw the Prototype 000 restoration in the Netherlands to the Canberra University team offering support, assistance and information.

The closure of the Canberra Planetarium and the subsequent move of the Futuro to the university campus was the subject of an interesting radio segment April 20th 2011; the audio from 666 ABC Canberra's "Mornings with Alex Sloan" can be downloaded from here [4.54 MB MP3].

Latest Confirmed Date

University Of Canberra - Latest Confirmation - 010417 - University Of CanberraThis photograph by The University Of Canberra taken 010417.

The original photograph can be seen on Twitter here.

Sources & Reference

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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