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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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TranslateI have many books, magazines etc. in my Collection and a fair number are in languages other than English; these may contain new information about one or more Futuros but without translated text that information cannot be added here. If you are able to translate something I can provide high res files for that purpose. Look for the icon on the Collection page; it can be used to send me an email regarding translation of a particular book or document.
A NOTE ON MY USE OF IMAGES

All images used on these pages are attributed by means of a name and a link to the original image or article containing the image. Where necessary permission to display the image has either already been given or there has not yet been a response to a request for permission that was made at the time the image was added.

I used to wait until I got a response to requests before publishing but in 100% of requests made since I started researching the Futuro House around 24 months ago I have always been given permission to use images.

Therefore going forward I intend to request permission as I always have but publish images with appropriate attribution at the time so I do not subsequently have to go back and edit pages to add them.
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<< Genesis Of An Architectural Icon | How Did They Get To Where They Were Going >>

CONCEPT, DESIGN, MANUFACTURING AND MARKETING | UPDATED 051017

21st Century Corporation | A "New Beginning" | Futuro II Plans & Drawings | Futuro II-X
Futuro Enterprises (Christchurch) Ltd. | Futuro Fiberglass Homes Ltd. de Montreal
Futuro Of Michigan | General Information | Mod Pod Inc.
New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. | The "Finnish 20" *** | The "Vincelette Theory"

*** Latest Update/Addition

GENERAL INFORMATION

Futuro - Bed Chairs
As a product of 60's Finland the Futuro House was born of a society comfortable in the same euphoric times as the rest of the western world. A faith in technology and a strong economy that offered the hope of a higher standard of living and more leisure time typified the times. The original impetus for the creation of the Futuro came from Dr. Jaakko Hiidenkari who, in 1965, commissioned Finnish architect Matti Suuronen to design a ski chalet to be located in Janakkala in central Finland and then elsewhere. Suuronen's initial idea was for a prefabricated ski-cabin and seemed very natural given the times. The cabin would be light and therefore easy to transport to remote locations, easy to construct once on site in unforgiving landscapes and efficient when it came to heating and retaining heat in very cold locations.

Futuro - Bed ChairsThe Futuro House was manufactured in Finland by Oy Polykem AB and was also licensed for manufacture in a number of other countries. The photo to the left, courtesy of Brett Colquhoun shows a fully assembled Futuro outside the Polykem plant.

In order to meet the primary design criteria the main construction material chosen for the Futuro House was a fiberglass reinforced plastic. Derived from oil in a time when oil was cheap a plastic met all of the requirements; it was relatively cheap and easy to work with, it was light and it offered good insulating characteristics.

The Futuro House also featured polyurethane insulation and this combined with a powerful electric heating system allowed the house to be heated from -20° Fahrenheit to 60° Fahrenheit in only 30 minutes. Criteria met!

Futuro - Transparent Shelving
The Futuro House was manufactured in 16 prefabricated pieces. The pieces could be mass produced. The house could either be transported by helicopter pre-assembled or it could be assembled on site with little more work than simply bolting the 16 pieces together. Criteria met!

The assembled Futuro House would sit on a steel frame which in turn sat on four concrete piers. The only real onsite construction needed to site a Futuro House was laying the concrete piers. Given the simplicity of the onsite requirements the Futuro House could be situated in almost any terrain [see top image above : source]. Criteria met!

The Futuro House, with an approximate diameter of 26 feet and an approximate height of 14 feet was completely furnished and supposedly could accommodate 8 people. To be honest I am not sure I know 8 people I would want to cozy up to quite so much but maybe I am just anti-social - check out the image of the "bed/chairs" a little further down the page and see what you think - it sure does not look like you would have a whole lot of privacy unless you were one of the lucky ones and had the bedroom. The floor plan featured accommodations around a central space to which living and dining areas were open and the very center featured a fireplace and hood. The entry staircase was retractable which helped with insulation and heat retention as well as adding to the "spaceship" like aura of the house. The house also featured many "space age" features [probably very retro now] including light switches installed in the chair/bed armrests and transparent shelving. The image below shows a little marketing "blurb" along with a typical floor plan.

Futuro Brochure

Source: Carly & Art

Without a doubt the best views of the Futuro House as it would have been right out of manufacturing are afforded by the detailed and clearly very painstaking restoration of the prototype Futuro House for an exhibition currently running [May to October 2011] at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Netherlands. A video providing some Futuro facts and history along with some footage of the restoration project can be found on boijmans.nl [Edited 072012 - video is no longer available]. Happy Famous Artists took a wonderful set of photos at the exhibition and then saw fit to host them on Flickr under a creative commons license - I sincerely thank the photographer for doing so. That collection of images is worthy of a page of its own which you can access here.

Perhaps the best and most complete doumented resource available on the design and structure of the Futuro House is the document "Futuro no. 001 : Documentation and evaluation of preservation need". Written as her final thesis for the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Finland Anna-Maija Kuitunen authored a document with great detail on specifications, materials, construction methods and so on. In addition the document includes a large number of plans and images of the interior of the Futuro house. This thesis is freely available online here.

Futuro - Bed Chairs
You could say that the design was perfect for its intended purpose. In fact perhaps it was too perfect. In a world clamoring for cheap, easily manufactured housing it suddenly became perceived as meeting the needs of another, much greater, market. Housing for the common man.

An excerpt from a February 1970 copy of Architecture D'Aujourd'Hui describes "Futuro" as:

"the first model in a series of holiday homes to be licensed in 50 countries, already mass-produced in the United States, Australia and Belgium. The segments of the elliptic envelope are assembled on the site using a metal footing. Through its shape and materials used, the house can be erected in very cold mountains or even by the sea. The area is 50 sq m, the volume 140 cubic m, divided by adaptable partitions."

Source: Wikipedia's Page On The Futuro House


Futuro - Fireplace
Examples [here, here and here] of marketing materials from the period of manufacturing clearly show the product targeted at a much broader market then the "ski cabin crowd". How did they do? Perhaps not too well; however while some possibly suspect and cheesy marketing [and maybe that assessment is tainted by a 21st century perspective] may have contributed to the Futuro becoming a relatively rare architectural oddity rather than a feature of every street corner it actually ran into much bigger problems than the power of its marketing. The first video [Dead link - can be downloaded here] below will let you be the judge of at least one example of Futuro marketing and as a bonus it will give another glimpse of how the interior looked.

The Futuro was not the only modular manufactured house designed by Matti Suuronen; there was also the Venturo [Venturo Brochure]. The second video showcases a Venturo followed by a Futuro. If you can get past the Whitney Houston soundtrack it is some interesting footage. The Futuro footage starts at around a minute forty.





Estimates of how many Futuro Houses were manufactured vary with the most common number seeming to be something around 100 and the Futuro house was still, pardon the pun, finding its legs when the calendar hit 1973 and that years Oil Crisis. The almost immediate tripling of the cost of oil caused an almost immediate tripling of the manufacturing cost of a Futuro House. The once bright and powerful business model for Futuro became almost unworkable overnight and with that the future for Futuro tanked. With the radical change in manufacturing cost dooming the Futuro manufacturing continued for only a short time before ceasing for good. Criteria no longer met!

Thus the Futuro House became only an       "Architectural Icon For The Ages"

Interior Images Source: Anna-Maija Kuitunen

Return To The Top Of This Page

THE "FINNISH 20" | ORIGINAL FINNISH MANUFACTURED FUTUROS | ADDED 042314

Update 051017 | A Theoretical Reworking Of Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV | Version 7

Last time around I theorized that the "Finnish 20" might actually be the "Finnish 22" based partly on the Haigerloch Futuro's temporary trip to Milan and a photo from there which showed the Futuro had a Polykem identification plate indicating the unit was #004 and thus was almost certainly manufactured in Finland and imported to Germany.

In a posting the their website related to the Milan event owners P&M noted that the Futuro was actually one of two they acquired in the 1970's. Given that one of them was of Finnish manufacture it seems very likely that the other was also and that would increase the [theoretical] count of Finnish made Futuros to 23.

Oswin Appelmann, president of P&M, tells me that the second Futuro was completely destroyed in a fire.



Update 042217 | A Theoretical Reworking Of Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV | Version 6

I have always enjoyed taking new photos or other documentation and "reworking" Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV to fit that new information. That said it should be noted that this is just opinion and theory and that the CV, which was put together from memory in the late 1980's, is the only actual "record" of the Futuros manufactured by Oy Polykem Ab in Finland.

This latest version assumes that the dates referenced by the CV represent the dates Futuros were actually sold and not the dates of their manufacture and actually expands the list from 20 to 22 [though I repeat this is just "theory"]. My assumption is that the Futuros were mostly manufactured in the early years even though some were not then sold for several years.

The two Futuros that I have added to the list are the Haigerloch Futuro and the Futuro once located in Wittlaer, Düsseldorf and later demolished.

The Haigerloch Futuro was recently displayed as part of Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades collection which was in Milan, Italy as a feature of the "Salone del Mobile. Milano" which ran 040417 through 040917. There were many photos of this event posted around the web including several that showed the identification plate attached to the entry steps. This plate identified the unit as #004 and resembled the plate seen on other Futuros manufactured in Finland strongly suggesting this was a unit manufactured by Oy Polykem Ab rather than under license in Germany [or elsewhere].

As for the Wittlaer, Düsseldorf unit evidence suggests this unit was the second of two exhibited by Bayer Pharmaceuticals at the 1969 Hanover Fair and that it was subsequently gifted to Charles Wilp and moved to Wittlaer [the other Futuro was the one now located in Berlin].

There were, as at my last version of the CV, only two Futuros in the list for which the current location was "unknown" and these were listed as having been sold and shipped to Japan and Sweden in 1972 and 1978 respectively. Seems like a Futuro is unlikely to have been shipped to Japan only to then end up in Germany and it also seems unlikely to me that either of these is the second of two Futuros sold to Christerensson, Sweden in 1978.

Certainly the Wittlaer unit is not an option for either of these as this was displayed at the Hanover Fair in 1969 and then gifted to Charles Wilp. I do not know that date of purchase of the Haigerloch Futuro but we do know it has a "low" number plate [#004] and it also seems unlikely to me [though it is of course possible] that this would have been sold and installed in Sweden and then later moved to Germany.

I have also added the "plate numbers" for the Futuros for which that is known. I seem to think there are others I am not recalling; no doubt some of you out there will let me know of any I am missing; I can be contacted by email directly or by using my Contact Form.



PLEASE NOTE: This is theoretical reworking of Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV and is not intended or represented as fact.

Type Of Building: Futuro
Prototype Design: 11.13.1967, Date Of Manufacture: 04.01.1968


1968
  • [#000] Hiidenkari, Janakkala, Transferred 1977 Suuronen, Keitele | Lodge | Now Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • [#001] Kuusla, Hirvensalmi | Lodge | Now WeeGee Exhibition Center, Espoo, Finland
  • [#002] Floating Exhibition, London, Transferred Lahnajärvi 1969 | Lodge | Now Matsalu, Estonia
1969
  • Kuusla, Hirvensalmi | Lodge | Now WeeGee Exhibition Center, Espoo, Finland
  • [#004] Präsentation und Medientechnik GmbH | Now Haigerloch, Germany
  • [#013] Kulturpark Plänterwald, Berlin | Lodge | Now Berlin, Germany
  • [#015] Student Union, Turku | Office | Now Merimasku, Finland
  • Wittlaer, Düsseldorf | Now Demolished
  • 4 -Road Motel, Kuhmoinen | Café | Now Kauhava, Finland
  • Huomo, Luumäki | Café | Now Pöytyä, Finland
  • UIA Congress, Argentina | Lodge | Now Half Frankfurt Half Unknown
  • Expotechnik | Exhibition Display | Now Taunusstein
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
  • Ekå, Älvsjö | Office | Now Örebro, Sweden
1970
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
1971
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Tun, Sweden
  • Unknown | Unknown | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
1972
  • Matsouka Shoji, Japan | Lodge | Now Felica Technical Academy, Maebashi, Japan
  • Matsouka Shoji, Japan | Lodge | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Tun, Sweden
1974
  • Sundblom, Ahvenanmaa | Lodge | Now Storbroskär, Aland Islands, Finland
1976
  • Intourist, Dombai, NL | Ski Chalet | Now Hotel Tarelka, Dombai, Russia
  • Sputnik, Shotsi, NL | Lodge | Now Krasnodar, Russia
1977
  • Sputnik, Krim, NL | 2nd Floor Café-Bar | Now Hurzuf, Republic Of Crimea
1978
  • Christerensson, Sweden | Office | Now Örebro, Sweden
  • Christerensson, Sweden | Office | Now Unknown


Update 032517 | A Theoretical Reworking Of Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV | Version 5

The list of Futuros and dates contained in Matti Suuronen's Architecture CV was put together from memory by Suuronen in the late 80's. As such it is subject to the vagaries of memory but despite that it remains the best documented history of the Futuros manufactured by Polykem. However I have always enjoyed the exercise of "reworking" the list to try to come up with an "unofficial" version that better fits the available facts and historical evidence. That said this time around I am not "reworking" the list, just thinking about it a different way.

Recent correspondence with Marko Home and Yves Buysse on the subject of the Hanover Fair of 1969 at which two Futuros [which subsequently ended up in Wittlaer, Düsseldorf and Berlin] were displayed by pharmaceutical giant Bayer caused me to wonder what the dates in the CV actually represent.

I had always assumed date of manufacture but the document does not actually state that and so the years could equally represent the years the Futuros were sold with their manufacturing having taken place earlier.

This would actually explain how Futuro #13, now in Berlin, could be listed in 1969 while the 13th listed Futuro does not appear until 1972. If units were manufactured sooner and stored until sale there would be no guarantee they would be sold in sequential order of manufacture. No way of knowing for sure but it would explain the apparent "out of order" numerical sequencing of the list.



Update 080616 | A Theoretical Reworking Of Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV | Version 4

In July 2016 I visited with the folks at Expotechnik in Taunusstein where I was told that the white Futuro still on the Expotechnik campus and the yellow Futuro of which half is now in Frankfurt were in fact manufactured in Finland by Polykem and imported to Germany by Expotechnik's founder Heinz H. Soschinski.

Prior to this I had assumed these Futuro's were manufactured under license in Germany [and even theorized they may have been manufactured by Expotechnik themselves]. As a result of this I have once again taken "poetic license" with Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV and come up with yet another entirely theoretical version that takes account of this new information.

This latest version leaves the "fate" of only two of the 20 "unknown"; one of the two that are listed as heading for Japan and the last of the seven listed as being destined for Sweden. All changes from the original version are in parentheses.

There are two specific changes in this version. The yellow Futuro that was displayed at the UIA Congress, Argentina is now listed as providing the half Futuro in Frankfurt [via Expotechnik] and the Futuro listed as "unknown" in 1971 has been moved to 1969 and is now listed as having been purchased by Expotechnik and now located in Taunusstein.



PLEASE NOTE: This is theoretical reworking of Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV and is not intended or represented as fact.

Type Of Building: Futuro
Prototype Design: 11.13.1967, Date Of Manufacture: 04.01.1968


1968 1969
  • Kuusla, Hirvensalmi | Lodge | Now WeeGee Exhibition Center, Espoo, Finland
  • Student Union, Turku | Office | Now Merimasku, Finland
  • 4 -Road Motel, Kuhmoinen | Café | Now Kauhava, Finland
  • Huomo, Luumäki | Café | Now Pöytyä, Finland
  • UIA Congress, Argentina | Lodge | Now Half Frankfurt Half Unknown
  • Expotechnik | Exhibition Display | Now Taunusstein
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
    Ekå, Älvsjö | Office | Now Örebro, Sweden
  • Kulturpark Plänterwald, Berlin | Lodge | Now Berlin, Germany
1970
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
1971
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Tun, Sweden
    Unknown | Unknown | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
    Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
    Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
1972
  • Matsouka Shoji, Japan | Lodge | Now Felica Technical Academy, Maebashi, Japan
  • Matsouka Shoji, Japan | Lodge | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
    Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Tun, Sweden
1974
  • Sundblom, Ahvenanmaa | Lodge | Now Storbroskär, Aland Islands, Finland
1976
  • Intourist, Dombai, NL | Ski Chalet | Now Hotel Tarelka, Dombai, Russia
  • Sputnik, Shotsi, NL | Lodge | Now Krasnodar, Russia
1977
  • Sputnik, Krim, NL | 2nd Floor Café-Bar | Now Hurzuf, Republic Of Crimea
1978
  • Christerensson, Sweden | Office | Now Örebro, Sweden
  • Christerensson, Sweden | Office | Now Unknown


Update 111514 | A Theoretical Reworking Of Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV | Version 3

I added a new Futuro location in Russia, the Krasnodar Futuro, to the site today based on research by Yves Buysse [thanks Yves]. There is a possibility that the unit is in fact the second of the 1976 units destined for Russia. There is suggestion the unit was on site in 1975 and the current location [which appears to have always been the Futuro's location] is some 300 km or so away from the location listed in the CV but Futuro history is often clouded and unclear and personally I think it is very likely this is the unit listed on the CV and I have amended each version of the CV below to reflect this.



Update 092714 | A Theoretical Reworking Of Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV | Version 2

My theoretical exercise in reworking Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV generated some interesting thoughts and comments; as a result I have made a couple more changes and come up with a version 2 which includes the following two changes:
  • It is known that there was at least one definite error in the CV whereby Hirvensalmi was listed as 1969 when it was in fact 1968 so I moved Hirvensalmi to 1968
  • Marko Home pointed out to me that the Futuro that went to Argentina for the UIA Congress was yellow whereas the Berlin Futuro is white making it unlikely that they were one and the same. Given there was at least one error in the listed year for a unit I moved the Futuro listed as "unknown" [in this theoretical document] from 1970 to 1969 and listed it as the Kulturpark Plänterwald / Berlin Futuro
As listed below the theoretical CV, I think, fits everything we know:



PLEASE NOTE: This is theoretical reworking of Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV and is not intended or represented as fact.

Type Of Building: Futuro
Prototype Design: 11.13.1967, Date Of Manufacture: 04.01.1968


1968 1969
  • Kuusla, Hirvensalmi | Lodge | Now WeeGee Exhibition Center, Espoo, Finland
  • Student Union, Turku | Office | Now Merimasku, Finland
  • 4 -Road Motel, Kuhmoinen | Café | Now Kauhava, Finland
  • Huomo, Luumäki | Café | Now Pöytyä, Finland
  • UIA Congress, Argentina | Lodge | Now Unknown
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
    Ekå, Älvsjö | Office | Now Örebro, Sweden
  • Kulturpark Plänterwald, Berlin | Lodge | Now Berlin, Germany
1970
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
1971
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Tun, Sweden
    Unknown | Unknown | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
    Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
    Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
1972
  • Matsouka Shoji, Japan | Lodge | Now Felica Technical Academy, Maebashi, Japan
  • Matsouka Shoji, Japan | Lodge | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
    Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Tun, Sweden
1974
  • Sundblom, Ahvenanmaa | Lodge | Now Storbroskär, Aland Islands, Finland
1976
  • Intourist, Dombai, NL | Ski Chalet | Now Hotel Tarelka, Dombai, Russia
  • Sputnik, Shotsi, NL | Lodge | Now Krasnodar, Russia
1977
  • Sputnik, Krim, NL | 2nd Floor Café-Bar | Now Hurzuf, Republic Of Crimea
1978
  • Christerensson, Sweden | Office | Now Örebro, Sweden
  • Christerensson, Sweden | Office | Now Unknown


Update 092014 | A Theoretical Reworking Of Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV

Futuro 13 Berlin - Polykem Identification PlateThe update of two weeks ago to this section and the question I posed resulted in quite a few emails with opinions and information that reminded me of a few things that I had failed to recall [see my comment on memory below]; my thanks in particular to Marko and Yves.

We know that the CV was put together in the 1980's by Matti Suuronen long after the end of the manufacturing cycle for Futuro and we know that there are some errors and/or omissions in the document. For me that is not surprising, with a combination of elapsed time and an aging brain [and I can personally attest to a decline in memory as you get older] a few errors would not be at all surprising.

That said I feel like if it was me I would likely remember the actual number of units that were manufactured even if other details eluded me years later. So I began to wonder whether there might be a "version" of the CV that could accommodate for any errors, omissions or questions but still retain 20 as the number of units manufactured. Of course this original document as it stands is the only "true" record of Futuros manufactured in Finland and I am not seeking to "rewrite history" BUT just for the fun of it and to maybe encourage discussion or even "dig up" some new information the version of the CV below, which is purely speculation on my part, still lists 20 units but also accommodates for all of the following factors:
  • Futuro 13, now located in Berlin, was manufactured in Finland in 1969 but there is no mention of Germany in the CV. The photo top right [courtesy of owner Cora Geißler] shows the steps of Futuro 13 and, inset, the Polykem plate which reflects this Futuro being number 13 and manufactured by Polykem. In an email I received Marko Home recounts that Futuro 13 was:

    ".. manufactured by Polykem in Finland in 1969 and transported to Kulturpark Plänterwald in East Berlin, the first cultural park / amusement park in GDR. Kulturpark Plänterwald was opened to celebrate the 20th anniversary of German Democratic Republic which was established as a satellite state of Soviet Union in 1949."

    In the CV we see listed the Futuro that was shipped to Buenos Aires, Argentina for the UIA World Congress (Union Internationale des Architectes). That Futuro then remained in Buenos Aires and was showcased at the Exposición Internacional del Confort Hamano which ended 111669. The current location of that Futuro, if it still exists, is unknown. Perhaps this was Futuro 13? It could perhaps have been transported from Buenos Aires to Berlin when the exhibition there ended?

  • In the last update to this section I discussed the "Ekå" Futuro. This featured in a well documented helicopter transport near Stockholm on 092269 and there is documented evidence that it was then used as an office by a towing company. The Futuro that visited Buenos Aires was there on that date so it could not be that one and the other Futuro's manufactured in 1969 are accounted for; or are they?

    The CV lists three Futuros that were purchased by the Swedish Armed Forces as Air Traffic Control Facilities and it also lists three purchased by Bofors, also for Sweden. Bofors happens to be a defense contractor and two of the units listed against Bofors are also identified with a location; Törnnebro. Interestingly we know that two of the three "Armed Forces" Futuros are actually located at Törnnebro. It is not unreasonable to assume that the three "Armed Forces" Futuros were actually purchased and installed through a defense contractor, in this case Bofors. This would not be the only "error" in respect of these units. In another email Marko tells me that:

    "... while making the Futuro film in the late 1990s me and Mika Taanila interviewed Polykem's Project Supervisor Peter Stude, who had supervised the installation of the three Swedish Air Force Futuros on location. Peter Stude told us that the Swedish Air Force used these Futuros as lookout towers at a firing practice area ..."

    which is a very different and somewhat less glamorous role for the Futuros.

    So perhaps the three "Swedish Armed Forces" Futuros and the three "Bofors" Futuros were actually the same units? Two of the Bofors units are listed as being manufactured in the same year, 1971, whereas all three of the "Swedish Air Force" ones are listed in different years; a reasonable assumption would be that two units destined for the same location would be manufactured at the same time. Were that so it would free up three units that actually went elsewhere. One of those three is listed as being manufactured in 1969; perhaps that could be the "Ekå" Futuro?

  • I have previously listed the Futuro manufactured in 1968 as the one now in Orebro [my reasoning can be found in earlier entries in this section] but there is evidence that in fact this Futuro was previously the one used by "Ekå" [see the 090714 update] so the "Ekå" Futuro should be listed as now in Orebro and the 1978 unit becomes "location unknown".

  • There is evidence that the three Futuros photographed together in Belgium in 1970 were imported. Indeed Yves reminded me that on this very website I write that:

    "The Belgian Newspaper De Standaard in an 082306 article titled "Een vliegende schotel in Haacht" [A Flying Saucer In Haacht] reports that three Futuros were imported to Belgium in 1970."

    I have not however come across any indication of where the Futuros were actually imported from and it is hard, based on either the original CV or my "fantasy" version, to find three Futuros manufactured in Finland at the same time or thereabouts that could have been in Belgium in 1970. perhaps the Futuros were imported from another company manufacturing under license? Based on this I have not made any changes to the CV to account for the Belgian Futuros as I do not think they came from Finland.
So based on the above here is my "customized" version of Matti Suuronen's Futuro Architecture CV. I stress again this is an exercise in theory only to see if things can be made to work while retaining 20 as the number of Futuro's manufactured in Finland so make of it what you will and, if past experience is anything to go by, likely many of you will disagree either in whole or in part. Feel free to contact me by using the site Contact Form or by emailing me directly.



PLEASE NOTE: This is theoretical reworking of Matti Suuronen's Futuro CV and is not intended or represented as fact.

Type Of Building: Futuro
Prototype Design: 11.13.1967, Date Of Manufacture: 04.01.1968


1968
  • Hiidenkari, Janakkala, Transferred 1977 Suuronen, Keitele | Lodge | Now Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Floating Exhibition, London, Transferred Lahnajärvi 1969 | Lodge | Now Matsalu, Estonia
1969
  • Kuusla, Hirvensalmi | Lodge | Now WeeGee Exhibition Center, Espoo, Finland
  • Student Union, Turku | Office | Now Merimasku, Finland
  • 4 -Road Motel, Kuhmoinen | Café | Now Kauhava, Finland
  • Huomo, Luumäki | Café | Now Pöytyä, Finland
  • UIA Congress, Argentina | Lodge | Now Unknown
    UIA Congress, Argentina, Transferred Kulturpark Plänterwald, Berlin | Lodge | Now Berlin, Germany
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
    Ekå, Älvsjö | Office | Now Örebro, Sweden
1970
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
    Unknown | Unknown | Now Unknown
1971
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Tun, Sweden
    Unknown | Unknown | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
    Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
    Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
1972
  • Matsouka Shoji, Japan | Lodge | Now Felica Technical Academy, Maebashi, Japan
  • Matsouka Shoji, Japan | Lodge | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
    Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Firing Range Lookout Tower | Now Tun, Sweden
1974
  • Sundblom, Ahvenanmaa | Lodge | Now Storbroskär, Aland Islands, Finland
1976
  • Intourist, Dombai, NL | Ski Chalet | Now Hotel Tarelka, Dombai, Russia
  • Sputnik, Shotsi, NL | Lodge | Now Krasnodar, Russia
1977
  • Sputnik, Krim, NL | 2nd Floor Café-Bar | Now Hurzuf, Republic Of Crimea
1978
  • Christerensson, Sweden | Office | Now Örebro, Sweden
  • Christerensson, Sweden | Office | Now Unknown


Update 090714 | The "Finnish 21"?

So here's a question; could the "Finnish 20" actually be the "Finnish 21"? We know there is an error in the Futuro Page from Matti Suuronen's Architecture CV relating to the date of manufacture of Hirvensalmi but that is a relatively small error; omitting a Futuro entirely would be much more significant. Could that be possible?

That is the interesting question posed by some text in the 1/2010 issue of the Swedish magazine Riksettan, a photo of a Futuro being transported by helicopter and a photo from the website of a Swedish towing company.

Futuro House - Helicopter Transport Stockholm Area 102269On 092269 a Futuro was transported by Swedish Air Force helicopter from Råsunda [a section of the Solna Municipality] to Älvsjö; in Sweden [on page 31 of the Home & Taanila book Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday we learn that the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter ran a front page story on this event. The Futuro was actually dropped off at the wrong location and had to be moved to the correct location by crane].

The photo at left is a shot of this Stockholm area helicopter transport event. The Swedish Air Force decal is clearly visible on the helicopter and, most importantly, there is a logo on the Futuro itself; ekå [please note this image is watermarked and should not be reproduced - while I purchased copies I do not own the copyright].

Futuro House - EKA CardI had never really considered researching the logo on the Futuro in the helicopter transport photograph though I probably should have. Recently however Yves Buysse sent me a link to the website of Ekå - Ekå Bilbärgning AB where there is another image of a Futuro with this logo [thanks Yves]. The photo can be seen at right. On the webpage in the left section is a description of the photograph; Google Translate tells us this reads:

"Right: Photo Card from Ekå . Scania 110 and the Futuro "flying saucer" which for a time was used as an office."

The photograph to me clearly looks edited but the comment does indicate that the company used a Futuro for a time as an office. It seems reasonable to assume that this Futuro was one and the same as that shown in the helicopter transport shot. The website Larssons Blogg suggests that Ekå at least considered the manufacture and sale of Futuros though it is unknown of anything ever came from that.

Futuro - Buenos Aires 1969On page 27 of Home & Taanila's Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday we learn that in October 1969 a Futuro was accompanied by Matti Suuronen when it was shipped to Buenos Aires, Argentina for the UIA World Congress (Union Internationale des Architectes). The Futuro then remained in Buenos Aires and was showcased at the Exposición Internacional del Confort Hamano exhibition that ran from 102469-111669 [the photo at left, a screenshot from this YouTube video shows the Futuro at this exhibition]. Of the Futuro's listed as manufactured in 1968 and 1969 in Matti Suuronen's Architecture CV this is the only one for which the history remains unknown and clearly this one could not have been in the Stockholm area on 102269 and at the same time in Buenos Aires.

It is possible the helicopter transport shows one of the other 1968 or 1969 Futuros listed on the CV of course; but is it likely - the original locations for each of these units are listed on the CV and their history is well documented? It seems to me to be rather unlikely that one of these units could be the one in the photo.

Add to that the presence of the logo and the fact that Ekå used a Futuro as an office for a time; surely these must be one and the same unit? Is it really likely that a unit would have the Ekå logo applied and then removed only for the Company to buy a Futuro later and add the logo again. I think not which leaves me with only one conclusion; the "Finnish 20" is actually the "Finnish 21" and a unit is missing from Matti Suuronen's CV that was manufactured in 1969.

Of course this is all conjecture, my own Futuro "Conspiracy Theory" if you like, though I would like to think educated and well thought out conjecture. However I could easily be missing a piece of the puzzle and completely wrong so, as always, I would really like to hear from anyone who can add anything whether supporting or disproving this theory. I can be contacted by email directly or by using my Contact Form.

One final note on this relates to the 1/2010 issue of the Swedish magazine Riksettan which I added to my collection of "Things Futuro" this week. The article in the magazine includes the photo of the 102269 helicopter transport and it also includes a comment by the owner of the Orebro Futuro that he believes that the unit shown in the photo is actually the one now in Orebro. That would suggest a possible change to "my version" of the CV since I had listed the last [1978] Futuro as the one now in Orebro. Again if you can add any information please do.

For now I am going to leave "my version" of the CV alone and I am not adding a possible 21st Finnish Futuro to the "Lost Souls" page; I am going to wait to see what else I can find and what information might come in to either refute or prove this theory first.



Original Information 042314

The image below is a photo of a page from Matti Suuronen's Architecture CV and lists, for want of a better description, the "Original 20" Futuros; those that were actually manufactured in Finland by Polykem as opposed to under license at other locations around the world.

My thanks go to Craig Barnes, owner of "Futuro 22", who took the photo during a 2013 visit to Finland and to Marko Home, co-editor of the book Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday who gave me some background on the document.

Suuronen CV - The Original 20 Finnish Manufactured Futuros

Listed below is a translation of the document [courtesy of Google Translate which, at times, struggles with the Finnish language so there are very likely errors in the translation] and an attempt to place these units at their current locations. I would appreciate any corrections to the translations and to the current locations of these units. If you have any updates to this information please use the site Contact Form or email me directly.

A couple of points to note:
  • Marko Home tells me that this document was complied in the 1980's by Matti Suuronen. It contains an error in relation to Futuro #001 [Matti Kuusla, Hirvensalmi] which was actually manufactured in 1968 not 1969. The error was either one of memory given that the document was authored long after Futuro manufacturing ceased or a simple "typo"
  • I have listed the 1978 unit that went to Sweden as being the one now in Örebro. My reasoning is that of the 7 units that are identified as going to Sweden 3 were purchased by the Swedish Armed Forces for use as Air Traffic Control facilities, three are listed as being purchased by Bofors and identified as "Shops" and the 1978 unit is "odd man out" with a different purchaser and a different identification [office].
So, courtesy of Google Translate and "yours truly", here is an English version [with US date format; month before day] of the CV with the addition of most likely current locations:



Type Of Building: Futuro
Prototype Design: 11.13.1967, Date Of Manufacture: 04.01.1968


1968
  • Hiidenkari, Janakkala, Transferred 1977 Suuronen, Keitele | Lodge | Now Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Floating Exhibition, London, Transferred Lahnajärvi 1969 | Lodge | Now Matsalu, Estonia
1969
  • Kuusla, Hirvensalmi | Lodge | Now WeeGee Exhibition Center, Espoo, Finland
  • Student Union, Turku | Office | Now Merimasku, Finland
  • 4 -Road Motel, Kuhmoinen | Café | Now Kauhava, Finland
  • Huomo, Luumäki | Café | Now Pöytyä, Finland
  • UIA Congress, Argentina | Lodge | Now Unknown
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
1970
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Stråtjära, Sweden
1971
  • Armed Forces, Sweden | Air Traffic Control Facility | Now Tun, Sweden
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Törnnebro, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
1972
  • Matsouka Shoji, Japan | Lodge | Now Felica Technical Academy, Maebashi, Japan
  • Matsouka Shoji, Japan | Lodge | Now Unknown
  • Bofors, Tidaholm, Sweden | Shop | Now Unknown
1974
  • Sundblom, Ahvenanmaa | Lodge | Now Storbroskär, Aland Islands, Finland
1976
  • Intourist, Dombai, NL | Ski Chalet | Now Hotel Tarelka, Dombai, Russia
  • Sputnik, Shotsi, NL | Lodge | Now Krasnodar, Russia
1977
  • Sputnik, Krim, NL | 2nd Floor Café-Bar | Now Hurzuf, Republic Of Crimea
1978
  • Christerensson, Sweden | Office | Now Örebro, Sweden


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THE "VINCELETTE THEORY" ON THE DEMISE OF THE FUTURO | ADDED 122113

The general consensus is that the Futuro House failed largely, if not completely, because of the Oil Crisis that peaked around 1973. Indeed I contend that is the case on this very page.

Dr. Barney Vincelette is the owner of the Houston Futuro and has actually lived in his Futuro for some 36 years [at the time of writing - since 1977]. Barney Vincelette is a well educated, clearly intelligent and highly opinionated man [that last rings a bell - oh yes it reminds me of me]. In this video Barney proposes an alternative theory for the demise of the Futuro House.

I do not intend to expound on his theory, Barney does that far more eloquently than I could, so check out his video for yourself and form your own opinion. I will say that the world is full of almost as many opinions as there are people and often those diverse opinions spark interesting and sometimes intense debate. I personally think that this alternative theory is probably not what caused Futuro to fail to meet its original promise; I still believe the oil crisis did that. What is interesting though is that having listened to Barney I think that in point of fact had the Futuro actually survived the oil crisis it might then actually have fallen foul of the "Vincelette" theory. I guess I am actually agreeing with Barney [in part at least - I am afraid I live in a "Joe Fart Gas Suburbia" House and, forgive me Barney, while I am clearly an avid Futuro fan - these pages are testament to that - I quite like my house as well] but qualifying that agreement by suggesting that his theory would have caused the Futuro's decline if, in fact, it had actually survived long enough.

Anyway take the time to listen to Barney, form your own opinion and then, if you feel so inclined stop by the forum where I have opened a thread to discuss the "Vincelette" theory - perhaps the forum might actually see a little discussion for once.



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A "NEW BEGINNING" | ADDED 090714

Original Futuro Moulds For Sale
New Futuro House - Reviving The UFO Home Of The Future ***
Futuro House - A Kickstarter Project By Simon Balmford***

*** Latest Updates/Addition



From time to time I have seen various discussions pop up on the web here and there around the subject of remanufacturing Futuro Houses. So far nothing seems to have come of any of these but two developments this week once more offer that possibility. First the owner of the original Finnish Futuro moulds has offered them for sale, and failing a sale, is offering to manufacture new Futuro Houses using those original moulds. On the US front there is a serious project just getting started aiming to "reverse engineer" the Futuro House to produce new moulds from which Futuro Houses could be manufactured.

One of the things that makes the world the fascinating place is its diversity; we all hold different opinions and have different beliefs. I am, and always have been, in two minds about the idea of Futuro's being manufactured again. I love the Futuro and its history and my pursuit of that history is clearly a passion of mine; these web pages speak to that being the case.

That said I am not sure a "new" Futuro holds the same interest for me. In a way it is akin to the classic car enthusiast who cannot find an original model and so builds a new one. For collectors the wish is always for things to be "all original" and that is kind of how I feel about Futuro. I passionately want to own a Futuro [probably will never have the money but there is nothing wrong with a dream or two] but what I want is an original. Perhaps a "new" unit manufactured using original moulds would satisfy me - perhaps - and I am almost certain that a totally new one would not be for me even if I could afford it. Time will tell; who knows what decision I would reach on the day an affordable [for me] Futuro House, "new" or original, was placed in front of me.

In the meantime check out these two interesting developments in the world of "Futuro" and the possibility of "new" Futuros being manufactured. Notwithstanding my own uncertainty about the manufacturing of "new" Futuro Houses I wish everyone the best in their endeavors.

ORIGINAL FINNISH FUTURO HOUSE MOULDS FOR SALE

Once the bottom dropped out of the market for Futuro the finances of Polykem, the original manufacturer went into decline and ultimately the company came close to bankruptcy. Around that time Matti Suuronen became the owner of Polykem and he subsequently sold the company to Exel Oyj, a company founded by Yrjö Aho in 1960 [Wikipedia] and now known as Exel Composites. Along with everything else Polykem owned Exel acquired the original Futuro House moulds.

In 1998 Marko Home visited the Exel Factory in Mäntyharju and saw that the moulds were being stored outside and, while still intact, had suffered some damage from the elements over the years. The moulds are now in the possession of Jyrki Aho, son of the late Yrjö Aho who founded Exel.

Jyrki is offering the moulds for sale foe 150,000 USD ex works in Finland. In addition Jyrki is offering "new" Futuro Houses manufactured using these original moulds starting at 200,000 USD ex works. Delivery time would be negotiated at the time of contract. In both cases if you are interested you should contact Mr. Jyrki Aho, e-mail: jyrki.aho@kwikgroup.com.

The photographs below show three of the moulds; from top to bottom they are the moulds for a body section, stairs and the central table.

Futuro House Original Finnish Moulds Body section

Futuro House Original Finnish Moulds Stairs

Futuro House Original Finnish Moulds Centre Table

DISCLAIMER: The FuturoHouse.com is neither the owner nor the seller of these moulds or of Futuro Houses manufactured using these moulds and makes no representations to that effect. While there are clear photographs which give an idea of the condition of the moulds we are talking a significant amount of money here so, if you are interested, contact Jyrki and do your own due diligence in terms of authenticity, completeness and condition.

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NEW FUTURO HOUSE - REVIVING THE UFO HOME OF THE FUTURE

Update 020715

I actually forgot to update this section at the time with the information that, unfortunately, this project failed to reach its funding goals.



Update 092014

My congratulations to Susan; the "Kickstarter" project has been approved and is now active. You can access the "Kickstarter" project here.



In the video above, which can also be found on the "Kickstarter" project page, Susan clearly explains the goals of the project and the "incentives" available at various pledge levels. It seems that I am still finding myself somewhat conflicted about the project; torn between a wish to get involved and a feeling that this is a reproduction and not, for me, the same thing as the original. Of course the intention is not that it be the same as the original; it is the "new" Futuro House and I do seem to be finally coming around to recognizing that - we shall see.

In the meantime the widget above will provide the updated status on the project and its journey towards its goal [and likely continually encourage me to pledge]. Check back here or check back on the "kickstarter" project page to see how things are going and, if you are so inclined, now would be the time to make a pledge.



Original information 090714

Susan O'Hara is a certified Product Manager by the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM), a Project Management Institute (PMI) certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and over the course of a successful career she has acquired experience in creating project schedules, resource contracting, product management, and cost estimation. Susan is now turning her formidable array of skills to a project aimed at "reverse engineering" the Futuro House and then manufacturing "new" Futuro Houses.

Funding for the project is being sought through "Kickstarter", a kind of "crowd funding" platform for serious and well planned creative business projects. "Kickstarter" works on the basis of "pledges" against a "Kickstarter" project. Those who pledge are not actually charged until the project reaches full funding. If a project does reach full funding [the website indicates 44% of projects do] those who pledged are charged at that time. Susan is planning on offering incentives to those who pledge at various levels. These range from digital images and vinyl stickers for low level pledges to a "new" Futuro House for $30,000 for those who pledge $9,999 or more; based on everything I have seen over the years the resulting $40,000 for a Futuro House would be a bargain.

The project is currently in the planning/draft stages. The "Kickstarter" campaign is currently in "draft" status and being reviewed but you can access that draft here. Additionally Susan is using "Elance" to seek architects for the project [the link appears to require a login].

Check it out and if it interests you why not pledge? I will continue my own internal arguments about whether I actually like this idea or not but regardless of that I wish Susan success in her project [and may the good Lord have mercy on me trying to keep up with the Futuro House if another generation of them starts to hit the streets!].

DISCLAIMER: TheFuturoHouse.com is not involved in or associated with this project and makes no representations to that effect. Nothing in this article should be taken as encouraging pledges or making any guarentees as to the success of the project.

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FUTURO HOUSE - A KICKSTARTER PROJECT BY SIMON BALMFORD

Update 031315

Unfortunately, like Susan O'Hara's earlier project, this project failed to reach its funding goals.



Original information 020715

Not too long ago a Kickstarter Project by Susan O'Hara aimed at getting "new" Futuros into production unfortunately failed to meet its funding goals.

Kickstarter is a "crowd funding" website where users can create projects and seek "pledges" of funding to allow those projects to proceed. Kickstarter is "all or nothing" in terms of its funding. Those who wish to do so "pledge" to the project. If by the "due date" the funding goals of the project are reached all "pledges" are "called in" and the project moves forward. If on the other hand the funding goals are not fully met "pledges" are not "called in" and the project, at least as far as Kickstarter is concerned, does not proceed.

Simon Balmford has just created a Kickstarter project titled simply "Futuro House". The pledges being sought are actually "deposits" on Futuros that would be manufactured. Each of the "pledges" would be for a $5000 deposit against a Futuro. Total costs range from $39000 for a kit to $59000 for a fully assembled unit [these would be "introductory and temporary prices - long term pricing would be $59000 and $99000 respectively]. Costs do not include delivery.

There are also a couple of "unique" options, each will be available as a single unit and will not be manufactured after the initial launch. These options are a pink Futuro Kit at $44000, an assembled pink Futuro at $64000 and an assembled chrome Futuro at $89000.

You can access Simon's project on Kickstarter here. For me the costs are prohibitive and I am not sure I would personally have the same excitement at owning a "new" Futuro House as I would at achieving a "dream" and owning an original unit but that is just me. I wish Simon success with his project.

DISCLAIMER: TheFuturoHouse.com is not involved in or associated with this project and makes no representations to that effect. Nothing in this article should be taken as encouraging pledges or making any guarantees as to the success of the project.

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FUTURO II [US] PLANS & DRAWINGS [AUSTIN FUTURO] | ADDED 092014

On 091314 I had the opportunity to visit the Austin Futuro; in addition to seeing and photographing the Futuro I was also able to look through a collection of original papers, drawings and plans associated with the Futuro that Ira, the owner, had kept. I would like to thank Ira, and Terry who also accompanied us, for spending time with me, chatting about Futuros and allowing me to photograph some of the archived papers. For more detail on this visit, the Austin Futuro and the plans and drawings shown below see the Austin Futuro page.

While I discuss these plans and drawings in more detail on the Austin page I thought it appropriate to add this section to this page also as it is directly related to the design and construction of the Futuro House.

My conversation with Ira and the drawings and documents he shared with me made it apparent that the options for customizing a Futuro [at least in the US - Futuro II] were more extensive than I had previously thought.

The document shown below is a Fact Sheet about Futuro II, "Facts On The Futuro II Fiber-Glass House", and it lists some of the items that were available for customization [this document is very similar, but not identical, to this Star Enterprises, Janesville, Wisconsin one which was sent to me some time ago by the Hedberg Public Library in Janesville].

Among the customization options listed are the window configuration, additional or fewer or operable being among the options, differing lengths of support legs and the ability to "cluster" units by the use of interlocking sections.

Futuro, Austin, Texas, USA -   Futuro, Austin, Texas, USA -

Futuro, Austin, Texas, USA -   Futuro, Austin, Texas, USA -

This set of four drawings is a further illustration of the ability to customize; they show various aspects of the interior configuration of the Futuro being constructed for Ira and we can also see notes made by Ira's mother "discussing" further options and requirements.

Austin Futuro Drawings - 1

Austin Futuro Drawings - 2

Austin Futuro Drawings - 3

Austin Futuro Drawings - 4

Ira tells me that the unit as installed matched these drawings very closely. The letter below from the Futuro Corporation of Philadelphia Vice President Stanley H. Blumenthal, dated 042170, details the final delivered configuration of "Ira's Pod".

Futuro, Austin, Texas, USA - Purchase Letter Page 1  Futuro, Austin, Texas, USA - Purchase Letter Page 2  Futuro, Austin, Texas, USA - Purchase Letter Page 3

"Ira's Pod" ended up costing $14,975 as customized. Several modifications are listed in the letter including:
  • Additional electrical outlets
  • Installation of a drawer cabinet instead of a range
  • Installation of four chaises instead of a sofa
  • Manufacture of 8' long legs instead of the standard 3'
  • An extra long Service Tue to match the 8' legs [Typo - Service Tube?]
  • Two upper viewing windows [this option was removed and there are no upper viewing windows]
Ira also shared with me a set of various plans and blueprints. These are listed and displayed below [clicking on the images of the plans will bring up high res versions which are readable].

The first two plans listed are full size architectural "blueprints", the second two are smaller architectural drawings [that do not have the "blue" hue that presumably gives "blueprints" their name] and the remaining 5 are a set of copies of plans on smaller white paper; all are original and from the time the Futuro was purchased and installed.

Futuro II - Plans - Radial Steel Layout - 168 - 031470

Futuro II - Plans - Electrical Plan - E1 - 050870

Futuro II - Plans - Steel Plan - S-1 - 011470

Futuro II - Plans - Pier Details - PD-1 - 011470

Futuro II - Plans - Floor Plan - A-1 - 010170

Futuro II - Plans - Elevation & Section - A-2 - 011470

Futuro II - Plans - Electrical Plan - E1 - 010170

Futuro II - Plans - Heating & Ventilating - HV-1 - 010170

Futuro II - Plans - Plumbing Plan - P-1 - 010170

All in all I had a fascinating visit with Ira and Terry and once again I would like to thank them for spending time and discussing Futuros with me and particularly for sharing with me the various documents and plans seen here.

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FUTURO II-X | ADDED 021515

Update 100116

The 050672 issue of the Asbury Park Evening Press included this article that reported on the transport of the Futuro II-X from the manufacturing plant in Pleasantville, NJ to Harvey Cedars, NJ in May 1972.

Asbury Park Evening Press 050672 Issue Page 1  Asbury Park Evening Press 050672 Issue Page 4

The article reports that the Futuro was moved by road and delivered to Cox Ave, Harvey Cedars on 050572. The journey was somewhat challenging and at one point the truck had to be rerouted due to the lack of about three inches necessary to clear an overpass.

The article does also provide a little additional information not specific to the "transport" reporting that the unit contained two bedrooms and two bathrooms, was fully furnished and air conditioned and cost about $25000. A spokesman for the Futuro Corporation indicated that it complied with all relevant building regulations and added that there were many such homes along the eastern seaboard and as far west as California. Not too sure about how accurate that particular assertion was.

The article was accompanied by the two photos below. Notable in the photo to the left is the "straight" section of the Futuro that was added between two regular halves to provide the "stretch". It is captioned:

"House movers put their backs into the job as they strain to help sign on Garden State Parkway entrance out of way of flying saucer-shaped house being transported from Pleasantville to Harvey Cedars."

The second photo is a rather nice head on shot of the truck which illustrates very well how much wider the Futuro was than the truck that was carrying it.

Harvey Cedars Futuro Transport Photo 1  Harvey Cedars Futuro Transport Photo 1



Update 022115

Jenny Ruess unearthed another, much clearer, photo of this Futuro. Jenny's original photograph can be found on Facebook where she comments:

"here's another [photo] of the spaceship house in Harvey Cedars - this is more than likely a picture I took with my instamatic in '81/'82 from our deck stairs.

If there was previously any doubt this photo, for me at least, definitively confirms that this was indeed an example of the Futuro II-X.

An additional "straight" section of the unit can clearly be seen inserted between two hemispherical sections. The Futuro II-X plans indicate that the additional section was 10' in length. The photo shows that the additional section included two windows per side and this would correlate with the length of the section being 10' [a standard Futuro has a radius of approximately 13' which gives a circumference of just over 80'; with 16 windows that is 2 windows per 10' which is exactly what is seen in the "straight" section in this photo].

Futuro IIX - Vikki Ruess



Original Information 021515

One of the most interesting discoveries I made going through The Charles Cleworth Futuro House Archive [an archive of historical documents and other Futuro related items donated to TheFuturoHouse.com to be catalogued and preserved] was the two architectural drawings of the Futuro II-X seen below. The Futuro II-X was, for want of a better phrase, a "stretched" Futuro with the longer dimension being 36'. There was no evidence in the archive of such a Futuro ever actually being manufactured nor for that matter had I ever come across any such evidence elsewhere; that is - until now!

Architectural Plan - Futuro II-X - Floor Plan  Architectural Plan - Futuro II-X - Elevation & Section

Doug Easterly contacted me and pointed me to a couple of photographs posted to Facebook by Vickie Ruess. My thanks to Doug for contacting me and to Vickie for kindly allowing me to display her photos here. The original photos on Facebook can be found here and here.

I was immediately very interested in the photos because they were of a Futuro located at 3 Cox Ave, Harvey Cedars, New Jersey which was a Futuro location I had not come across before. Based on the comments on the Facebook posts it appears that the Futuro was probably there from the early 70's through the early 80's and, while there is a comment suggesting it was removed, it appears that the majority recollection is that it was demolished.

The first photo is unremarkable but then I had to do a "double take" on the second. The Futuro as seen in the second photograph is, unless there is some something extremely bizarre going on with the photograph, quite simply not round and thus completely unlike any other Futuro I have ever seen.

That said what it does look like is the Futuro II-X seen in the plans; the number of windows appears to be about right [it is a little hard to be absolutely certain given the angle of the shot and the curvature of the Futuro at either end] and the general size and shape, at least to me, appears to match.

The Futuro II-X plans were found in a New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. marketing package; that company was a reseller of Futuros manufactured by the Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia and, based on these photos, I have to conclude that the Philadelphia company did actually manufacture at least one of the "stretched" Futuro II-X models. Unfortunately it also seems that the unit was subsequently demolished. But - if there was one then perhaps there were more!

Futuro IIX - Vikki Ruess

Futuro IIX - Vikki Ruess

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FUTURO ENTERPRISES (CHRISTCHURCH) LTD. | ADDED 060615

Update 091016

Jason Ray recently sent me a link to a post on the "50's 60's 70's & 80's Living in Christchurch" Facebook page that included the two photos below; thanks Jason. The first was posted by Lorina Adkins and the second by Warwick Burke.

The photos show the first two Futuros manufactured, according to Issue #86 [1976] of the publication Designscape, by Futuro Enterprises (Christchurch) Ltd. [though they are more commonly attributed to Futuro Homes (New Zealand) Ltd].

The Futuros were used as bank branches by the Bank Of New Zealand at the 1974 British Commonwealth Games which ran from 012474 through 020274. They were located at the games main venue, Queen Elizabeth II Park in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Futuro - Bank Of New Zealand - Commonwealth games - 1

Futuro - Bank Of New Zealand - Commonwealth games - 2



Update 122415

Spacebug recently emailed me to send me some higher res images of the Designscape article [thanks Spacebug]. In addition these new images were color though only the photo below was actually in color in the article.

The color of this Futuro though is interesting, orange, which means either the theory below that this was the first of the two Huntsbury Futuros is incorrect or that the color of this Futuro was changed at some point.

The hi-res images of the article can be accessed here and here

Designscape Magazine #86 1976 - Photo 1 Color



Original Information 060615

Though Futuro history is relatively recent the Futuros manufacturing period was prior to the "internet age" and so that is history often clouded with misconceptions, errors and contradictory facts. In some cases this is true when it comes to the companies that manufactured and distributed Futuros. The basic model saw Polykem license manufacturing and distribution in a given geographical region to a single company and those "first level" companies further license either manufacturing or distribution or both to other companies.

In the case of New Zealand there are references to several companies that were involved with Futuro. Most commonly the first level licensee is reported to be Futuro Homes (New Zealand) Ltd. [see the Thames Futuro and The Bank Of New Zealand Collection]. Other documentation refers to the Futuro Corporation Pty. Ltd, Albury, NSW. [see The Colquhoun Archive], Orbital Homes Ltd., Peninsular Builders Ltd. and Thames Homes Limited [see the Thames Futuro].

Issue #86 [1976] of the publication Designscape included a detailed article about a different company, Futuro Enterprises (Christchurch) Ltd., that suggests the company was licensed for New Zealand and the Pacific area. The company was incorporated 111174 while Futuro Homes (New Zealand) Ltd. was incorporated 090472. Information included in the article suggests the "Christchurch" company was licensed as a manufacturer by Futuro Homes (New Zealand) Ltd. [both were actually Christchurch based].

To date I have been unable to locate a copy of the magazine but recently Yves Buysse pointed me to a webpage where Spacebug had posted a copy of the article. The article is displayed below - my thanks to Spacebug for preserving this fascinating piece of Futuro history.

Designscape Magazine #86 1976 - Article 1  Designscape Magazine #86 1976 - Article 2  Designscape Magazine #86 1976 - Article 3

The article was published in 1976 and indicates that, at the time of writing, Futuro Enterprises (Christchurch) Ltd. was in its second year of production of two of Matti Suuronen's creations, the Futuro and the CF-45 Venturo.

In 1974 the Bank Of New Zealand used two Futuros as bank branches at the 1974 British Commonwealth Games which ran from 012474 through 020274. The Futuros were located at the games main venue, Queen Elizabeth II Park in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Designscape article mentions the Bank Of New Zealand Futuros though they are more commonly associated with Futuro Homes (New Zealand) Ltd..

Interestingly we are told that the original intention had been to first produce the Venturo rather than the Futuro but that Venturo production was postponed until October 1975 due to the original molds being damaged during shipping from Finland. At the time the article was published the company had produced 11 Venturos and was producing two Venturos and one Futuro a month.

Futuros were priced at $14,600 which included "standard furniture and fittings and servicing for a one-bedroomed house" but did not include the cost of delivery or on site construction. A "shell" only could be purchased for $10,500. Venturos ranged from $11,400 to around $22,800.

General Manager David Hamilton led a team of around 20 employees at the manufacturing plant that included a production manager, a project manager, a secretary, an "erection team" of two and fourteen working on production in the factory. The company was following a policy of slow growth that was being pursued due to a "rather stuttering financial start".

The article also makes mentions one other individual on the development side, Des Walker, who was actually employed by "the development company" Futuro Homes (New Zealand) Ltd. Walker was noted as being responsible for new design and development ans also for the start up of additional factories; a North Island factory was planned for 1977 in order to accelerate sales there [transport of a unit from South to North Island was in the order of $2,000].

The Wainoni Rd, Christchurch factory had both a Futuro and a Venturo demonstration unit on site. The Venturo unit was actually used as office space. The demonstration Futuro had, at the time of the article, been "revamped" internally to represent the company's current outlook and featured shag pile carpet and heavily patterned wallpaper on wooden internal panels. The $14,600 unit came with standard furniture, fittings and servicing with "standard" being described as:

"... entrance foyer with control for the automatic extension stairs to get down to ground level, bedroom with built in double bed, cupboard and wardrobe, kitchen which is not partitioned off from the main living area, bathroom with fiberglass shower floor, lavatory, wash basin, and living area with generous fiberglass shelving around the perimeter, except where standard upholstered seating is mounted."

The article ends with thoughts from David Hamilton on the longevity of fiberglass housing units. As far as Futuro was concerned he believed a Futuro would still be standing in almost mint condition after 30 years, would still be around after 100 years and might well last 150 years. Futuro has now been around 50 years or so and a degree of longevity is already proven but, as several Futuros demonstrate [for example Royse City], they do deteriorate if not maintained; whether any last 150 years other than "museum" restorations/exhibits remains to be seen and I will be long gone by then so others will have to make that historical judgement.

Among other images of Futuro and Venturo the article includes the following three photos showing the demonstration Futuro at the factory, a Futuro being delivered and a Futuro interior. It is unclear whether the interior shot is of the demonstration Futuro or a Futuro elsewhere. 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 the client almost completely unchanged internally.

Designscape Magazine #86 1976 - Photo 1

Designscape Magazine #86 1976 - Photo 2

Designscape Magazine #86 1976 - Huntsbury Interior

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NEW DIMENSIONS OF DELAWARE INC. | ADDED 071115

Update 100516

The Futuro House ran into several problems that ultimately led to its failure to generate widespread acceptance or large scale orders and manufacturing. The primary reason was the 1973 Oil Crisis which saw the cost of oil, and thus of the primary raw material used in the manufacture of Futuro's, triple almost overnight.

That said there were other factors one of which was a struggle to gain acceptance from administrative authorities, in particular planning authorities and building regulators. Often times the planners did not think Futuro matched their vision and the building regulators simply could not figure out Futuro and how to regulate it.

The newspaper articles below are an example of how this would go and relate particularly to Joe Hudson and his attempts to build his Futuro business New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc.

The first two articles, from Willmington, DE publications The Morning News [below left] and the Evening Journal [both now the News Journal], appeared 081071 and report on a decision by the Lewes City Council to classify the Futuro as a "mobile home". Though the articles are the same they were run under different headlines; "Lewes Acts To Bar Homes Of Fiberglass" and "Space Homes Mobile? Lewes Says They Are" respectively.

In the article the local mayor is reported as saying he:

"was dead set against placing the "spaceship-type homes" anywhere in the city and the planning commission is also 100% against it."

As a result he and his colleagues voted [3-1] to classify the Futuro as a "mobile home". This had the effect of denying a request for five building permits from Joe Hudson and thus barring a planned project to place Futuros on land near Roosevelt Inlet since existing regulations already banned the placement of mobile homes on the land in question.

The Morning News 081071  The Evening Journal 081071

A couple of later articles in The Evening Journal of 101571 [below left] and the 103171 issue of Salisbury, MD based The Sunday Times reported that despite the challenges Hudson was starting to make some progress.

In the 101571 Evening Journal a report titled "OK Near on Fiberglass Houses?" informs us that the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission, while not actually approving a development that included Futuros, instructed their attorney to draw up the approval of what, according to the paper, "may be the first Futuro development in the United States". This likely approval for a development along Rt. 88 east of Milton, DE came because the commission felt Hudson had "made an effort to comply with [the commission's] thinking on [Futuros]".

It was noted that the development would contain both Futuros and conventional housing and that most of the "flying saucer" houses would be hidden either by trees or other houses. Futuros that were visible would be sited almost 750 feet from the road. In addition Hudson would be required to get individual approval for the placement of each Futuro.

Hudson, who had distribution rights for Futuro throughout Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, was reported as saying that he had been trying for almost a year to get approval for siting Futuros in various parts of the region. He added that he already had one Futuro in Broadkill Beach and that "many of them are now in Florida"; not too sure about that last statement. Hudson expected that the first Futuro would be on site within a few months of final planning approval.

The 103171 Sunday Times article appeared under the headline "2 Sussex Zoning Bids Are Denied" and was mostly about developments other than Hudson's but the article did note that the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission had recommended the "Flying Saucer" housing development for approval by the County Council.

I have not yet come across anything that confirms whether or not the full council ever approved the project and to my knowledge even if they did it was never actually constructed.

The Evening Journal 101571  The Sunday Times 103171



Original Information 071115

Polykem's business plan for the Futuro House involved the company manufacturing units in Finland and distributing directly and also licensing manufacturing and distribution in other geographical regions to other companies. In the US manufacturing and distribution rights were licensed to The Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia headed up by Leonard Fruchter. One of the companies to which Fruchter licensed distribution was Joe Hudson's New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc.

On 062315 CapeGazette.com published an article by Ron MacArthur titled 2015: It's Still A Space Oddity. The article was based on conversations with Joe Hudson who has several ties to the Futuro House and Richard Garrett who currently rents the Milton Futuro.

Joe Hudson's ties to Futuro include not only being the owner and operator of New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc., a Futuro distributor "back in the day" but also owning the Milton Futuro and selling the Houston Futuro to longtime owner and resident Barney Vincelette.

Joe Hudson, perhaps best known for The Villages of Five Points community set up shop as New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc., a five-state Futuro distributor, in the early 70's. MacArthur's article reports that after a while Hudson had three model homes displayed in the area one of which served as Hudson's first office.

Of the model homes the one that attracted the most attention was located at Five Points on the site now occupied by the Coastal Club Lighthouse. MacArthur quotes Hudson:

"We had long lines of people wanting to see inside, especially on weekends. Sometimes it was so crowded inside people couldn't move. We had a lot of orders, but we also had delivery-date issues."

Hudson had orders for at least 17 units but he was only able to get delivery on three or four Futuros. Hudson recalled that he had several Rehoboth Beach residents wanting to buy a Futuro as a guest house and adds that:

"I thought this could have been a great business."

Hudson was not alone in having issues with getting delivery of Futuros from Leonard Fruchter's Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia. Charles Cleworth's Futuro Corporation Of Colorado had similar issues. Cleworth's company interested May-Daniels & Fisher, at the time Denver's largest department store in the Futuro House. The store wanted to display a Futuro in front of their main downtown store in late summer 1969. Though a Futuro House was expected to be delivered in time for this display to take place it never came [though a deposit on the unit had been paid].

Cleworth tried again when he was invited to display a Futuro at the Colorado Garden & Home Show in Denver in February 1970 [there is an original Press Photo relating to this event in my collection of "Things Futuro"]. The Futuro Corporation of Philadelphia agreed to deliver a Futuro for the event but again they failed to deliver and a small model was displayed at the show instead [see the 020870 edition of the Denver Post].

Though the 70's oil crisis was likely a big part of the Futuro's eventual demise it is also clear that Fruchter's business practices did not help. Cleworth's Colorado company severed relations with the Philadelphia company [see this late 1970's Stock Prospectus for the Colorado company] and Hudson's relationship with Fruchter's company came to end when the Philadelphia company went bankrupt.

Hudson himself liked the Futuro so much that he had one constructed in Broadkill Beach and he and his wife live in it for a couple of years. As we know that Futuro was eventually torn down and scrapped; MacArthur tells us that was not before the house was used as a backdrop for a photographer who did a photo shoot with nude models.

A couple of Hudson's Futuros are still alive and kicking. One of New Dimension's earliest developments saw a model home displayed in Cave Colony, Delaware along Cave Neck Road and that Futuro, owned by Hudson to this day, is the one currently located in Milton, Delaware and rented by contract worked Richard Garrett. A second was purchased in 1977 by Barney Vincelette who, nearly 40 years later, still lives in his Futuro in Houston, Delaware.

MacArthur in his article tells us that:

"Another one of Hudson's models ended up near Washington, D.C., not far from the Watergate Complex. While there, it was used as the set for a national Cremora television ad campaign. Hudson said the flying saucer home was lifted up by a huge crane and placed down on the ground as if it had landed there."

Hudson adds:

"Then when the electric door opened, the camera peeked in and there were actors inside dressed in space suits putting Cremora in their coffee, ... There were thousands of people there watching this."

Futuro Materials - New Dimensions Of Delaware - Blue Plate Diner in Lewes, DE - Phot By kaszetaThe whereabouts of this Futuro or whether it even still exists is not known and so far I have been unable to track down any other reference to this television commercial.

Several interesting examples of marketing materials hailing from New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. can still be found. The photo at left is of a brochure found framed on the wall of the Blue Plate Diner in Lewes, DE just a short distance from the Milton Futuro. The photo is by kaszeta and is displayed here with permission.

The photos below are of an original Futuro brochure from TheFuturoHouse.com's collection of "Things Futuro". The brochure was originally from the Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia [this is printed on the front] but it was actually distributed by New Dimensions [the brochure carries a "stamp" on the front, very faint and impossible to read in the photograph, that reads "New Dimensions Inc. Distributors For Futuro Fiberglass Homes, Route 1 Box 272, Milton, Delaware 19968"].

Futuro Brochure [DE] Front  Futuro Brochure [DE] Back

Futuro Brochure [DE] Inside

The most interesting of the New Dimensions materials I have come across was a package of marketing materials found in The Charles Cleworth Futuro House Archive, a collection of documents, photos, plans and press items donated to TheFuturoHouse.com for cataloguing and safekeeping by the family of the late Charles Cleworth back in 2014. Cleworth was president and founder of The Futuro Corporation Of Colorado but the archive contains all manner of Futuro related materials not specific to his company.

New Dimensions Sales Mailer - Cover LetterThe marketing package included the letter shown left [pdf] that was addressed to "Future Futuro Homeowners" signed by Joe Hudson.

What is particularly interesting about this letter is a paragraph stating that Futuro II was available in three models with square footage ranging from 600 to 820. How this additional floor space could be achieved in a Futuro House is explained by the architectural plans for the Futuro II-X seen below.

The letter is undated but it likely dates from 1971 since the Futuro II-X plans included in the marketing package are dated April and May 1971.

The letter appears to have been the "cover sheet" to the marketing package which included several other documents and may have been something sent to individuals or groups that had expressed interest in Futuro or it may have been sent to a "mailing list". The package could also have included a customized set of documents depending on who it was being mailed to.

In this particular case the documents were in an envelope addressed to an individual located in Ohio that carries the following hand written note:

"Chuck - file for future reference"

In addition to this "cover letter" the marketing package also included the following documents.

A two page document [pdf] on New Dimensions letterhead titled "Estimate Of Income Potential Of Futuro Units" which details some scenarios for the use of Futuros as either Rental Units in a resort area setting or Motel Units. In the case of the Motel Unit scenario each unit is noted as having "2 rental units".

There is no indication of which size floor plan the estimates are based on though the listed unit price, $17,000 [including water and sewer], and the suggestion that Motel Units would actually contain two rental units might suggest the estimates were based on the Futuro II-X.

Sales Package - New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. - Earnings Estimate - Page 1  Sales Package - New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. - Earnings Estimate - Page 2

A four page "fact sheet" [pdf] titled "Facts On The Futuro II Fiber-Glass House" from the Futuro Corporation, PA. This is the same "fact sheet" as I saw when visiting the Austin Futuro on 091314 though in this case the document is "scaled down" to 7¼" by 9". The last page of the "fact sheet" carries a New Dimensions "stamp" which reads:

"New Dimensions Inc., Distributors For Futuro Fiberglass Homes, Route 1, Box 272, Milton, Delaware, 19968, Phone 302-645-8675"

Sales Package - New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. - Four Page fact Sheet - Page 1  Sales Package - New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. - Four Page fact Sheet - Page 2

Sales Package - New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. - Four Page fact Sheet - Page 3  Sales Package - New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. - Four Page fact Sheet - Page 4

A four page brochure [pdf] from the Futuro Corporation, PA which describes Futuro II as "An Advanced Living Concept Of Reinforced Fiberglass". The brochure features an exterior photo of a Futuro on the front, shots of a Futuro interior on pages two and three and an elevation and floor plan on the back. The back of the brochure carries the same New Dimensions stamp as the "fact sheet" described above.

Sales Package - New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. - Four Page Color Brochure - Page 1  Sales Package - New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. - Four Page Color Brochure - Page 2

Sales Package - New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. - Four Page Color Brochure - Page 3  Sales Package - New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc. - Four Page Color Brochure - Page 4

And finally a set of two architectural plans [pdf] for the Futuro II-X which appears to be an "oversized" Futuro model that featured two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a centrally located island kitchen area.

Architectural Plan - Futuro II-X - Floor Plan  Architectural Plan - Futuro II-X - Elevation & Section

The increase in size over a conventional Futuro involved the insertion of a ten foot straight sided section between the two halves of a round unit; the Futuro II-X measured 26' in one direction and 36' in the other.

At the time the Charles Cleworth Futuro House Archive was received there was no indication that the Futuro II-X had ever been manufactured but some time later photographs of one [fate unknown] surfaced; more information on this can be found here.

There do not appear to be any administrative records for New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc., at least not that I can find. There are records for a company by the name of New Dimensions Corporation Of Delaware but this company was registed with the NYS Department of State in 1961 and listed as a "Foreign Business Corporation". Furthermore a listing on the website ishcc.org for this company records contact information as being New Dimensions Corporation Of Delaware, 18 E. 41st St., New York, NY 10017. Finally these records from the 123rd Delaware General Assembly which ran 010565 through 010367 indicate that the charter for New Dimensions Corporation of Delaware had been repealed for non payment of taxes.

So, despite the similarity in names, I am of the opinion that this was a different company [though it is of course possible that it was a forerunner of the Futuro distibution company New Dimensions Of Delaware Inc.].

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FUTURO FIBERGLASS HOMES LTD. DE MONTREAL | ADDED 082016

The October 1972 issue [Volume 47 #10] of Montreal based French Canadian publication Bâtiment included an interesting article on Canadian Futuro manufacturing. Len over at futurohouse.com found and shared this .pdf article; thanks Len.

Batiment October 1972 - Cover  Batiment October 1972 - Page 24

Batiment October 1972 - Page 25  Batiment October 1972 - Page 30

The basic "model" used outside of Finland for Futuro manufacturing and distribution rights was for a company to enter into a licensing agreement with Polykem covering a defined geographical area. That company would often enter into further agreements within their defined "territory" for other companies to take on marketing and distribution in "sub-territories".

In the Bâtiment article we learn that in the case of Canada it was Futuro Fiberglass Homes Ltd de Montreal, a company founded by founded by Richard Shain, that entered into a licensing agreement with Polykem. This agreement dated from September 1969 and was for exclusive manufacturing and distribution rights to the Futuro House in Canada.

In the article we learn that Shain [as was the case with others involved in the early days of Futuro] was very enthusiastic about Futuro and had "big plans". Benefits of the Futuro included its ease of movement, the very limited site preparation needed prior to installing a unit and its aerodynamic design and weatherproofing offering good resistance to adverse conditions such as high winds or snowy conditions. It was seen as affordable and very possibly a "mass market" product with huge potential for those who got in early. As we know this proved not to be the case largely due to the 1973 Oil Crisis and its impact on the cost of the oil based raw materials used in the manufacture of Futuros.

Shain also emphasized the flexibility of the Futuro and its "modular" design and how that could offer the ability to create larger structures using multiple units; Shain used a school as an example of one such possible use. The document futurohousecanadadoc.pdf [also courtesy of Len at futurohouse.com] illustrates this flexibility and "modular" functionality. The document is not identified as originating from Shain's company but it is not unreasonable to think it did.

I am only aware of two Canadian Futuros, those previously located in Quebec near Lake Memphremagog and on a ski slope on Mont Blanc, though as with other manufacturers information is scarce so there may have been more. That said as with all manufacturing around the world the extensive business plans and hopes for large scale manufacturing did not come to fruition and, according to ic.gc.ca Shain's company was dissolved in 1980.

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FUTURO OF MICHIGAN | ADDED 100516

The Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia was licensed by Oy Polykem Ab for the manufacture and distribution of Futuros in the US and other territories. Though the company retained sole US manufacturing rights and, with the possible exception of one or more units manufactured by the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado [see The Charles Cleworth Archive], manufactured all US Futuros in their Pleasantville, NJ plant many other companies negotiated agreements with the Philadelphia company for marketing and distribution of the Futuro in specific areas.

On 042972 the Detroit Free Press published an article about the Futuro under the headline:

"A Spaceship from Mars? No - It's a Vacation Home"

More specifically the article was about Futuro of Michigan, a company based in Chelsea, MI that owned the Michigan distribution rights for Futuro.

Detroit Free Press 042972 - Page 5b  Detroit Free Press 042972 - Page 7b

Prior to coming across this article I had not heard of this particular company, a business venture started by William C. Weber and George A. Staffan, which, according to the article, was marketing Futuros "for use as vacation homes, sales offices or whatever a fertile imagination might envision."

The article describes the Futuro as a flattened oblate spheroid manufactured in two halves with each hemisphere, upper and lower, being comprised of two sections which were then joined and mechanically sealed.

The interior is described as including a living room, kitchen, bedroom and bath all of which were furnished "down to a roll of tissue in the bathroom." The living room incorporated a 23-foot curved sofa, two cocktail tables that could be joined to the sofa to convert them to a double bed, a fireplace and a curved dining table with four chairs. Features of the kitchen included sink, waste disposal, electric range with oven and rotisserie, refrigerator/freezer, cabinets and a water heater. The bedroom included a built in double bed, vanity desk and closet and the bath had a fiberglass shower, water closet, vanity and basin, mirror with make-up lights and an exhaust fan. The Futuro included carpeting throughout and was highly secure with the ability to retract the entry stairs at the flip of a switch.

Weber was quoted as saying that the Futuro offered some extremely attractive advantages over traditional structures; among them the fact that it had an estimated minimum life of 30 years. All it would take to maintain it was to hose it down or, if an owner wanted to "baby it", the application of a coat of silicon wax. In addition the joint sealing system made it virtually impenetrable to air, dust or moisture making life easy as far as housekeeping was concerned.

The Futuro would cost $15,600 and Weber noted that financing could be an issue with buyers in the area likely needing to make a 50% down payment.

Weber and Staffan apparently first became interested in the Futuro after seeing the September 1969 issue of Playboy which featured an article on Futuro titled "Portable Playhouse" [the newspaper article incorrectly reports this as the March 1969 issue]. Three years later at the time of publication of the article they were about to open their "model Futuro" to the public; that Futuro was located on North Conway Road off US 31 between Conway and Oden. The photo below accompanied the article and was captioned:

"Model of Futuro II vacation home erected northeast of Petosky has gleaming gold exterior. Color and shape have attracted curious passers-by from US 31. Photo shows fiberglass stairway in position but, once inside, residents can retract stairs by flipping a switch.

I am not sure that the photo actually shows the Futuro on North Conway Road; though the photo quality is poor it looks to me like there are mountains in the background and as far as I can tell based on a quick trip to Google Earth that would not be the case at the reported location. As for the gold color I do not recall ever seeing a Futuro finished in gold though of course there are many examples of Futuros being repainted in a different color. The nearest to gold I have seen is the Futuro once located in Virginia Beach, VA; though dilapidated and faded the color of that Futuro does at least remind me of gold.

Futuro of Michigan - Model Home - North Conway Road Off Rt 31 Between Conway & Oden

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21st Century Corporation | ADDED 100516

Update 122416

An article published in the October 1982 issue of D Magazine informs us that the 21st Century Corporation exhibited a Futuro at the 1970 State Fair Of Texas. Specifically the article reports as follows:

"The 1970 fair featured Futuro II, a baby-blue oval-shaped Fiberglas structure with oval windows and a 26-foot curved sofa that opened into a 33-foot bed. The 21st Century Corp. of Nashville, Tennessee, promised to mass produce these giant eggs, which were a sure bet to take over the housing market by 1980, for the nominal sum of $20,000 each."

I think the math got a little out of whack somewhere along the way; the 26 foot curved sofa certainly did not expand into a 33 foot bed! Interesting Futuro reference nonetheless. Though I live in Dallas I have only been here since the late 90's; would love to hear from anyone who has or knows of a photo of the Futuro at the State Fair.

Original Information 100516

The 051770 issue of Nashville, TN based The Tennessean included this two page article about the Futuro House under the headline "The Space Place".

The Tennessean 051770 - Page 163  The Tennessean 051770 - Page 164

The article includes descriptions of the Futuro along with comments and opinions from Jerry Free, president of the 21st Century Corporation. The article describes Free as:

"... a Nashville based marketer of structures like the ... Futuro II, which looks something like a styrofoam bagel"

Personally the Futuro has never put me in mind of a bagel but it is an amusing and colorful description of the Futuro.

Presumably Free's company was one of those that negotiated marketing and distribution rights for specific territories, in this case likely Tennessee though the article does not specify, with The Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia, the primary licensee in the US for the manufacture and distribution of the Futuro.

Free is quoted as saying that there were several "Futuro Projects" in the works including a plan by a Nashville music publisher to combine several Futuros into a Music Row office complex, a rather scary plan to suspend one from a cliff "like a fish on a line" for a local doctor, a local schools plan to use several Futuros as classrooms and a Kansas City hotel that was planning to use several units as Penthouse "VIP" suites. Free added that other potential uses included ski chalet, beach house, guest house or motel unit.

The description of the standard fixtures and fittings follow much the same lines as others I have seen with the reporter adding that a standard Futuro would cost $14,000 plus shipping.

Free however also commented that there were multiple accessories that could be added such as a Microwave [an extra $1100 - that must have been some Microwave], a built in vacuum that cleaned the floors at the push of a button [$700] or even, for an extra $1500, a watertight unit that could be floated on a lake. Though the remaining options were not listed there must have been many more as Free indicated that it would total around $40,000 for all the options.

The 21st Century Corporation had a Futuro on show and open to the public at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville for a few hours a day [photo below]. Free was reported as saying this Futuro was the first one assembled in the US; no way of knowing if that was really the case or not; there were certainly others in the US prior to 1970 [this one in Philadelphia for example] but at least in some cases these had the characteristics of the Futuros manufactured in Finland rather than those constructed in the US and Free did not say it was the first Futuro seen in the US, he said it was the first one assembled in the US so perhaps this was true. In the end there is no way to know for sure.

Futuro Nashville - From The Tennessean 051770 - Page 163

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Mod Pod Inc., Iowa City, Iowa | ADDED 101516

I first came across Mod Pod Inc. some time ago when I added this Advertising Trade Card to my collection of "Things Futuro" [though I later traded it for some different Futuro related items] and until now that was the only mention of Mod Pod Inc. I had ever come across.

Futuro Advertising Trade Card - Illinois State Fair - Mod Pod Inc - Front  Futuro Advertising Trade Card - Illinois State Fair - Mod Pod Inc - Back

The undated card features a photo of a Futuro that was displayed at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Illinois.

This "trade card" was clearly designed as a tool for would be purchasers to indicate their interest to the dealer by marking their specific area of interest and returning the card to the dealer. Interestingly while the printed reverse side of the trade card included check boxes to indicate area of interest, the address of the dealer and space for a postage stamp it did not actually include an area for the interested party to provide a means of contact; something of an oversight to say the least.

The reverse of the trade card is titled:

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF FUTURO
(As Displayed - Illinois State Fair - Springfield)


and the dealer is listed as:

Mod Pod Inc.
221½ East Washington
Iowa City, Iowa 52240


The check boxes for the interested party to indicate a particular area or areas of interest include the following [they clearly had some ambitious plans]:
  • Futuro II (As displayed)
  • Futuro III (Enlarged BR)
  • Futuro II X (2 Br - 2 Bath)
  • Futuro II (Shell)
  • Futuro IV (Motel)
  • Futuro II O (Office)
  • Futuro II NS (Nursery School)
  • Dealership
  • Other
Two newspaper articles I recently came across provide a little more information about Mod Pod Inc. and also date the display of the Futuro at the Illinois State Fair to 1970. The articles appeared in the Bloomington, IL based publication The Pantagraph on 080270 [left] and the 080870 issue of The Decatur Daily Review published in Decatur, IL.

The Tennessean 051770 - Page 163  The Tennessean 051770 - Page 164

In the first of the two articles, titled "Home Of The Future In State Fair Debut" and found in the 080270 issue of The Pantagraph, we learn that Mod Pod Inc. of Iowa City, IA, a Futuro distributor, would have a Futuro on display at the Illinois State Fair from 081370 through 082370. Presumably the company, like others, had negotiated an agreement with The Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia, primary licensee in the US for the manufacture and distribution of Futuro, to market and distribute the Futuro in a defined geographical territory.

The article described the Futuro as being constructed from 8 primary sections joined to form the shell along with an additional 704 parts that comprised all of the fixtures and fittings. The Futuro could be shipped disassembled by truck, rail or barge but the writer suggests a Futuro could be most easily flown into a site by helicopter fully assembled. The "completely self contained" Futuro came with appliances and utility hookups that then allowed it to be simply "plugged in" like any household appliance.

The Futuro featured a 23' curved sofa and two cocktail tables which, with the addition of a mattress, could be "converted" into a double bed when joined to the sofa; a central table held a barbeque and fireplace with a hood above and storage space below. Also included was a curved dining table with four chairs and [very sixties/seventies] "deep shag carpet" throughout.

The kitchen was likened to a "ship's galley" and included an 11 foot freezer and refrigerator, stainless steel sink, electric oven and range, "ample" cupboard space, a 20 gallon water heater and waste disposal. A double bed with storage above and below along with a vanity unit, shelves, two clothes rods and lighting units fitted out the bedroom while the bathroom included shower, vanity, wall cabinet, counter with built in porcelain bowl and fittings, commode, towel bars, mirror with make-up lights and an exhaust fan.

The Futuro, which cost $14,000, was described as a versatile housing unit which could serve many functions including "vacation and resort housing, retirement homes, penthouses, ski lodges, classrooms, hunting and fishing lodges, dormitory units, guest houses, sales offices, studios etc., etc., etc." Truck delivery and assembly on a prepared site would add around $2,500 to the cost of a standard Futuro.

The second of the two articles, from the 080870 issue of The Decatur Daily Review included an article under the headline "State Fairground To Come Alive On Thursday". The article was actually a report on preparations for the state fair but it did mention the construction of the Futuro House briefly and it was accompanied by the photo below which was captioned:

"Workmen get Futuro, a new housing design, ready for the fair. Futuro is located near the main gate."

Futuro Illinois State Fair 1970 - From The Decatur Daily Review 080870

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