UPDATED 020417 | ADDED 100211 | WANLI, TAIWAN | HOME | LOCATIONS - LIST - PREVIOUS - NEXT
Tingtão Rd, Wanli District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 207 | 25°11'13.90"N 121°41'10.25"E
Google Maps | Satellite Imagery Date 061015
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Video & Additional Images
Notes, History & Resources
This video of Wanli was added to Youtube 020217 by Etha Dannenberg. There does not appear to be any indication of when the footage was shot.
In an update back in 2014 Alexander Synaptic [synapticism.com] shared an update on Wanli following a 052914 visit to the site. On 051715 he again visited Wanli and the photos below were taken during this visit. They are displayed here with Alexander's permission; thanks Alexander. The original set can be found on Flickr.
Along with the update and photos of Wanli Alexander also sent me a link to an article titled "Taiwan dreamscapes: experiments from the leading edge of generative art" on his website synapticism.com which features images he has generated while experimenting with Google's "deepdream project".
For an explanation of what the "deepdream project" actually is check out Alexander's article and while you are there take a look at the interesting and rather unusual images generated.
One of the images resulting from Alexanders work can be seen below [the original can be found on his website here] and is the end result of processing one of Alexander's photos of Wanli. The resulting image is certainly surreal and though it is entirely different for some reason it kind of reminds me of Salvador Dali's work. My thanks to Alexander for again sharing his work.
Australian musician Bruce Stringer is described by Music Street Journal [where he is a staff member] as:
"... an Australian guitarist who has played internationally and worked on various independent soundtracks and theme-scores."
Bruce recently contacted me [funnily enough at almost the same time as Alexander did] regarding his current CD, Ωne, which features artwork based on photos taken at Wanli and he even sent me a copy. Along with the CD Bruce also sent a promotional guitar pick for the CD and a set of other photos shot at Wanli which can be found below. Many thanks Bruce.
For anyone who might be interested in obtaining the CD it is available as a digital download at CDBaby and as a physical CD on E-Bay.
On 082314 John Wheatley visited Wanli and shot this set of photographs. They are displayed here with John's permission. Thanks John.
The first three photos were shot from the hotel next to the site and they provide a good overall perspective on the Wanli site. In the first shot the highlighted rectangle indicates the approximate area of a graveyard which sits adjacent to the Wanli site to the west. The third photo is marked with the location of each of the Futuros that still exists. Original copies of the first and third photographs without the annotation can be found here and here.
It is interesting to note in the first of these interior shots how the end of the bed is angled.
The Futuro's carry an identification plate; I have no idea what the markings and numbers mean.
The image below appeared in a 041614 post on the Taichung University of Technology Interior Design Graduation Show Facebook page and appears to be a collage that includes photos, maps and an artist's impression of a reconstructed Wanli; more information can be found at right.
A couple of months ago I was sent a link to the video embedded below. The video shows what appears to be the demolition of the Futuro/Venturo site in Wanli. Thanks for sending the link Helen.
The "demolition" video was dated 053012 and ends with the comment that "a few might remain". While the fate of all of the Futuros is unclear what is clear is that many units do remain to this day based on an awesome set of photos captured by Alexander Synaptic on 100313.
The photos below are by Alexander Synaptic [synapticism.com] and are displayed here under CC 2.0 and with Alexander's permission. I have chosen to display many of the photos and used a reduced size on the page to help with load time - I recommend you load higher res versions by clicking the photos or alternatively browse the set on Flickr; they are great photos.
Peggie Scott took an awesome series of photos of Wanli during the period between 221108 and 141208. With Peggie's permission a few of these photos are displayed below; you can check out the complete set on Flickr.
This video by vikilintw uploaded to YouTube 111111 features some stills but also some live footage of Wanli.
picturenarrative posted a new set of photos of Wanli to Flickr. The photos were taken 010912; that is the latest confirmation for this site at this time.
Original Video & Images 100211
This video by murapo47 was uploaded July 2nd 2011. The video is a montage of nice stills of the complex at Wanli and confirms that as at 2011 the complex remains in the same abandoned state that it has been in for some time.
The following are a few more shots from the beautiful collection if images of Wanli by cypherone [CC 2.0]. You can see more of this great collection of images on flickr.
Alexander Synaptic [synapticism.com] has visited Wanli several times and each time he has kindly shared information and photographs with this site. His 060714 report was one of several that referenced ongoing demolition work at the site and he chronicled the fact that four of the Futuros had "vanished" from the site; possibly removed but, based on other evidence, most likely demolished.
A year on it seems like the demolition activity has stopped, or at least paused. Alexander visited Wanli again 051715 and he tells me that the Futuro count remains unchanged from his previous visit and he goes on to add that:
"Demolition has not continued and, in fact, the site seems to have undergone a bit of renewal. There were several people around when I visited, some of them having barbecues in front of their Venturo homes. I also saw a Venturo converted for use as a security office with a man at the desk eying me warily. It may just be that it's a weekend... or perhaps there's been some renewed interest in the site."
Alexander goes on to note that the condition of the Futuro units on the site was about the same with the only noticeable difference being:
"... that the northernmost of the Futuros seemed to have more stuff laying around the kitchen, almost as if the owners had been by to clean out some of the garbage and perhaps even restore it for use as a holiday home once again."
Alexander shared a few photos from his May visit which can be found at left; the original set can be found on Flickr and, as always, more of Alexander's work can be found on his website. My thanks to Alexander for providing this update and sharing his first class photography.
On 082314 John Wheatley visited Wanli and shared with me what he found that day along with a set of photos which can be seen at left. Thanks John.
One of the things John was able to do was annotate a photograph with the locations of each of the Futuros; a version of that photograph can be found at left. It should be noted that some of the units are hidden by trees. John also took a series of interior photographs; notable in one was the angled end of the bed.
John confirmed that there were several Venturos which appeared to have been "upgraded/restored" and which were still inhabited. As for the Futuros that is not the case and the only one remaining occupied is the "hidden Futuro." John tells me that:
"The hidden Futuro is indeed occupied - you can see the tattooed Yakuza-looking gentleman on the front porch, and also there was a group of students doing a barbeque on the front corner of the lot when I left."
As for the site in general and its future John has this to say:
"From the Ting-Na Wang story, I can say that there is little hope that anything will remain - "renovated into villas" means that the company will just do a subdivision or condo there, and then give one condo or villa to the people who have not yet bought in. If they have a 20 story condo unit (that site is pretty big by Taiwanese standards) then they can probably afford to do that. But you can bet they will do the same to the Futuros, unless they think there is money in saving them."
The area to the west of the Wanli site is actually a graveyard [the first of the photographs at left indicates the approximate area of this graveyard]. John suggests that in that fact may lie only small hope the site has for anything other than a future that sees the demise of the remaining Futuros and Venturos:
"The only hope will be the graveyard making investors wary. By Taiwanese standards, that is REALLY close for a graveyard. However, the younger generation might just say they don't care for cheap oceanfront property."
Back in June I added an update to this page based on a visit by Alexander Synaptic [synapticism.com] to Wanli on 052914. This was a second visit by Alexander; on his first visit he shot a great set of photographs which can be seen here. Alexander also shared some of the shots he took on his second visit.
I thought it might be interesting to do something a little different and so using those photographs and with Alexander's assistance and permission I have created this image map which includes photos that are identified to each of the specific Futuro locations on the site. Thanks for your help Alexander and for allowing me to use your excellent photographs.
A day or two ago I received an email from Ting-Na Wang who sent me a link to this webpage [Chinese - English version courtesy of Google Translate here]. Google Translate does a good job with some languages but is not so "smart" when it comes to others - Chinese is one of the ones that falls into the latter category - funnily enough if you use Chrome and allow the browser to translate rather than using Google Translate the translation is better [though still not good] which is odd since Chrome is Google's browser.
Whichever method of translation I used it was still difficult to really understand the article but thankfully Ting Na also included in the email a summary of the article. Ting-Na tells me that the article was published in a real estate news category on 111011. In Ting-Na's own words the article states that:
"... the whole site has been purchased by a construction company named Tai-She. They are planning to demolish the abandoned site and build luxurious vacation hotels. In order to do this they contacted all the property owners individually including the few residents who still live there. So far they've purchased 70 Futuro/Venturo units out of 100, and will cooperate with the rest of the residents and renovate their units into individual villas (not sure what that means) ..."
Ting-Na goes on to tell me that [assuming the article is true - and the current construction activity suggests to me it probably is] Tai-She indicate that due to the fame and historical value of the site they are considering preserving a few of the units and opening them to the public.
Finally as an interesting "side note" it seems the Futuro and Venturo units are [at least according to Google's ability to translate Chinese] known respectively as the "egg-shaped" and "cake box type" units.
My thanks to Ting-Na for the information and, most importantly, for the translation.
Alexander Synaptic [who took the awesome set of photos included in 121313 update at left] emailed me a few days ago with an update on Wanli after making another visit to the site on 052914. It seems that there has indeed been some demolition activity and in fact there was a crew dismantling a Venturo as Alexander arrived at the site. There was a security guard present during Alexander's visit and he was expressly forbidden from entering any of the units but he was able to get a good look around the site.
Most striking is the absence of many units and Alexander tells me there is no sign of them [and no wreckage]. The custom Google Map [041114 satellite imagery] below shows the remaining Futuro units [blue markers plus one red one showing the "hidden" Futuro location], the one time locations of four that are no longer there [purple markers] and also highlights an area which was covered with Futuro and Venturo units that is now just a grassy area. You can access a larger screenshot of the map here or click the link immediately below the map to open it in Google Maps.
View Wanli 041114 in a larger map
While I cannot be sure that the units that have gone were demolished rather than moved given the earlier video evidence of demolition and the fact that a Venturo was being dismantled while Alexander was at the site I believe it is reasonable to assume that the four units that have gone were indeed demolished; nine Futuro units remain [at least for now].
Alexander added that none of the Futuros are occupied [though several Venturos do appear to be occupied]. The one exception might be the "hidden" Futuro; Alexander tells me that it was not possible to tell if it was actually occupied but that it was clearly not abandoned. One Futuro is open to the elements and totally trashed inside and the others are in various states of disrepair.
Finally Alexander told me that a Taiwanese friend had told him that the 041614 Facebook post referenced below refers to a student project and not to a "real world" plan so sadly it looks like there will be no redemption for the Wanli site.
In a 041614 post on the Taichung University of Technology Interior Design Graduation Show Facebook page there is a photo [at right] which appears to be a collage of photos, maps and artist's impressions relating to a reconstruction of the Wanli site.
Facebook's inbuilt "translate" function [which appears give us an idea of what is being said but not to be able to give us a "true" translation] tells us that the posting reads in part:
"The Wanil Futuro House, a unique exterior with simplicity style, nevertheless long deserted house, is coming to go under the hammer. To save this architecture and solve the issue on unfitness of dwelling, we hope not only to conserve its modern and exceptional shape of exterior but also renovate interior design and landscape into an eco resort on the beautiful Wanil coastline. We combined ecological conservation into our design concept by substituting wave energy dissipating concrete block for bioblocks to protect marine environment and increase marine productivity. In consequence, the creatures parasitize in bioblocks and guests stay in the Wanil Futuro House share the same affection that symbolize the prosperity of the costal ecological environment and the conservation of the Wanil Futuro House."
To be honest even with the translation I am not absolutely sure what is being said. There is reference to Wanli "coming to go under the hammer" which is perhaps a reference to an auction of some sort or is simply a bad translation of some reference to a renovation. The page is associated with a university and so it may be a posting relating to a student project rather than a real world one. In any case we read of a plan [fictional or otherwise] which seems to involve turning Wanli into some sort of eco resort while at the same time preserving and renovating the existing buildings.
Evidence suggests Wanli is in a bad way and deteriorating further so a plan to restore and preserve the site and at the same time make the site "green" would get a vote of support from me [if of course my vote was in any way relevant]. That said the artist's inpression does not show much in the way of Futuro though venturo is well represented. There is only one complete Futuro shaped structure that I can see [and that shows no windows] located front left and a couple of "quadrants" behind it. If there is a real plan to rennpvate and preserve the site I sincerely hope it includes the Futuros.
I would love to hear from anyone who might know more about this and in particular whether this is a student "project" or a real world plan to do something with Wanli.
While I have never been certain whether the Wanli units are Futuros, modified Futuros, copies of Futuros or just some weird coincidence [and to be frank I am still not certain] they do hold an interest for me and so the video embedded at left which appears to show the demolition of the Wanli site was somewhat disconcerting when I saw it for the first time. I came across the video when a link was sent to me a couple of months ago by Helen [thank you Helen] who commented:
"I just came across a disturbing video, which I can only characterize as a snuff film for those of us who love Futuros"
My reaction was similar to Helen's; even if the units are not "true" Futuros I have always been of the opinion that things "out of the ordinary" deserve to be preserved and Wanli is anything but an "ordinary" place.
I checked out Google Maps and Google Earth but the latest satellite imagery available is dated 070711 before the reported demolition and I could not find anything else online about demolition activity so I filed the information away and figured sooner or later I would come across something that would confirm or refute the reported demolition.
Just this last week I was contacted by Alexander Synaptic [synapticism.com] who told me about a set of photos he had captured recently at Wanli. Alexander kindly offered the option to display his pictures, taken 100313, here and a selection from his set is displayed at left. The set is truly awesome and I highly recommend you take a look at the whole set on Flickr.
What is interesting about the set other than the quality of the photography, which is impressive, is that while there are signs of some demolition there are clearly many units left and though their condition appears much further degraded, particularly looking at the interior shots, from that seen in earlier photos they are nevertheless still standing and clearly not "demolished" as we saw in the video. Interestingly we do see Venturos that show signs of demolition but the Futuros in general while clearly in decline seem almost untouched. What is not clear from the set is whether all of the Futuros remain or just some. If anyone can shed any light on that I would appreciate the info.
In the meantime I will continue to hold out the hope that somehow the site will be saved and perhaps even restored to its former glory and in the absence of conclusive evidence to the contrary I will leave my "count" at Wanli at 13 units [not of course including the Venturos].
A new set of photos of Wanli by picturenarrative make the latest confirmed date I have for this site 010912.
After a further look at some of the many photos taken at Wanli I believe it is possible to positively identify the building which houses the "hidden" Futuro despite the fact that it cannot be seen in Google Maps or Google Earth.
The image below shows Wanli from Google Maps. The superimposed photo is this one from the great set of photos by city tales. From that photo we see that we looking towards the ocean and the "hidden" Futuro. We also see a Venturo on the left of the picture and another Futuro to the right. The "hidden" Futuro is located in a rectangular building. There is only one place on the site where such a photo could have been taken and the position is roughly indicated by the arrow at the bottom right of the image below.
Christopher M Collins recounts a little history he was able to uncover on the Wanli site in an article titled Formosan Futuro Village that can be found on ezinearticles.com.
Collins visited Wanli and during the course of the visit he talked with several people about the site. Collins recounts his findings along with his impressions of Wanli in his ezine article.
It seems that One Mr. Su Ming, a Taiwanese businessman, was responsible for Wanli. A man with military background and an entrepreneurial spirit Ming made his money in part with, of all things, Sarsaparilla soda. Of this perhaps unlikely venture Collins says:
" In its beginning days, it wasn't very popular with the local's taste buds and got off to a slow start. However, with the American establishment of military bases in Taiwan as a post for the great East Asia, western tastes for both culture and foods began to develop in the country. Along with this, Mr. Su Ming's carbonated beverage sales exploded and he established a new factory, becoming a new rich member of high society."
Ming began to look for investment opportunities so he could increase his new found wealth further and he decided that there was a market for upscale vacation homes. Determining that water sports and beach front living would be the draw his property needed Ming purchased a picturesque beach front property on the north coast of Taiwan. Ming then proceeded to "populate" the property with "futuristic" Venturos and Futuros.
Priced for the very wealthy, around $94,000 in today's money, movement on the units was slow and Ming's investors eventually lost interest leaving the project unfunded. The local property manager explained to Collins that the issue was not that investors could not afford the units but that they were wealthy enough to vacation in much more exotic locations around the world and were not sufficiently interested in simple beach vacations at home.
Another local who provided some insight into Wanli's history said that in actual fact the site Ming had chosen was perhaps not as well thought out as it could have been. She said that the area was subject to extremes of weather with the summers being long and unbearably hot and the winter's bringing very high winds and crashing cold seas. She indicated that the site had been vacant for some 20 - 20 years.
One of the most intriguing things about the article is some of the detail that Collins recounts. Despite the length of time the site has been abandoned he says that:
"I did venture into a few of the homes that weren't barricaded with wooden pole and barbed wire locks for a better look. I found Japanese influenced tatami rooms, twin beds with sheets still on them, and even toothbrushes alongside a bottle of head and shoulders shampoo in one bathroom."
Some of the photographs of Wanli show such detail and to be honest make it look as though some of the units are still inhabited; check out these two images from the superb set by Peggie Scott:
I see toothbrushes, tissues, towels, bed sheets [exactly what Collins reported] and all sorts of evidence of "habitation" but every visitor to the site seems to report that the site is uninhabited and abandoned. Intriguing!
Check out Christopher M Collins' article here; it makes for an interesting read.
Original Information 100211
Though there a few examples of two Futuros located on a single site [Kvistgård, Carlisle, Huntsbury] almost all of the remaining Futuros are located one to a site. The one major exception is Wanli in New Tapai City on the Northern coast of Taiwan where there are no fewer than 13 Futuros along with a much larger number of Venturos. Though this is the largest concentration of Futuros known there appears to be no information on the web [at least none that I can find] about how or why the complex came to be built, what its purpose was [the most common theory is a collection of holiday homes] or how it ended up in the deserted and abandoned state it is now in.
The complex at Wanli is usually credited as containing 12 Futuros and the following screen shot from Google Maps clearly shows the 12. However there is documented evidence of there actually being at least 13 Futuros on site with one being "built in" to another building and covered with a conventional roof which makes it impossible to identify [at least to me so far] on Google Maps; whichever building it is in it is clearly not one of the 12 identified on the image below so I believe the count for Wanli is 13 as a minimum.
The "hidden" Futuro can be clearly seen in the two images below from the stunning set by Peggie Scott.
The latest dated imagery for the Wanli complex does not have a specific date; the video is simply dated 2011 but that is the latest confirmed imagery I have so 2011 is the confirmed date for Wanli.
Latest Confirmed Date
This photograph by eye.ing taken 120816.
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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