The Futuro House was conceived by Matti Suuronen in 1968 as a "portable" ski chalet. It is an iconic piece of architecture and this site is devoted to documenting the history of the Futuro and the current status and whereabouts of the remaining examples.
Florida based daily morning paper the Pensacola News Journal traces its heritage back to 1889 according to Wikipedia. The 072871 issue includes an interesting article on this Futuro House.
The article provides general Futuro background and information along with a little interesting history in respect of this particular Futuro.
First the article confirms that the Futuro arrived on Panferio Drive prior to 072871. We have previously thought that it was likely this Futuro had always been located at its current location; given its arrival so early that now seems all but certain.
The article goes on to tell us that the Futuro was owned by one Dr. William R. Rundles who was "the franchised dealer for Futuro Homes in Northeast Florida". We had not previously heard of Dr. Rundles as a "player" in the early 70's "Futuro world".
Finally the article provides some reasons for the Futuro being mounted atop another structure indicating that local authority requirements dictated that the Futuro be "tied" to another structure. The contractor responsible for bolting and then sealing together the two halves of the Futuro (that had arrived on flat bed trucks) and then raising the unit by crane (see this photo) to its current position described the block foundation as a:
"sort of family room and extra sleeping space ... in this case we had to meet space requirements of the Santa Rosa Island Authority but in some areas they are putting the vacation houses directly on the ground."
Dr. Rundles adds:
"It's true that you have to have 900 square feet of living space but we really wanted to put this up where it would be shown off to best advantage and where we would have a view of the gulf and the sound."
The article ends by informing the reader that there would be an "open house" the following weekend; presumably Dr. Rundles was using his Futuro as a "marketing tool".
On another, unrelated, note we recently added this 8" by 10" print of a pen and ink drawing of this Futuro by Mike Shisler to our collection of "Things Futuro"; it will look great once we get around to having it framed and hung.
Florida based daily morning newspaper the Pensacola News Journal traces its heritage back to 1889 according to Wikipedia. The 120205 issue includes an article on this Futuro and its owner Victoria Clarkin.
The article reports that once hurricane related repairs were completed Clarkin would be converting the Futuro into a museum for the Pensacola Beach Preservation and Historic Society (the Futuro survived Hurricane Ivan in 2004 among others over the years).
The article indicates that the Futuro had been in Pensacola Beach for over 30 years (this is likely the only location this Futuro has ever occupied) and that Clarkin had purchased it in 1998. It also provides a quirky "historical anecdote" when it quotes Mark Clarkin as stating that the ramp leading up to the Futuro was modeled after the one seen in the 1951 sci-fi classic film "The Day The Earth Stood Still" but perhaps the most interesting aspect of the article is the inclusion of the two interior photos of the Futuro seen below.
This 3½" square photo that we recently added to our collection of "Things Futuro" shows the interior of this unit. Though the photo is clearly of some age there is no indication of when it was taken (or who the folks in the photo are).
These two vintage "Polaroids", added to our collection of "Things Futuro" recently, show this Futuro "back in the day". Though undated they almost certainly show the Futuro early in its life as both of the photos show a lot of aging and are clearly many years old.
Though both have the marking "Polaroid" it is unclear if that refers to Polaroid film or to them actually being shot using a Polaroid camera; they do not look like the images we recall shooting with a Polaroid camera in our youth but maybe there were different versions of such cameras.
The first photo is 4¼" x 2¼" and is mounted to a piece of cardboard. The second is 6¼" x 4½" and is mounted in a 8½" x 7¾" "presentation folder".
As evidenced by this photo posted to Instagram by downtownpensacola it seems that you can purchase souvenir cups featuring an image of this Futuro; presumably a souvenir shop in the area.
If anyone happens to know the name and address of this establishment (or any other that might sell these cups) we would really appreciate it if you would let us know; be nice to add one to our collection of "Things Futuro". We can be contacted directly by email or via our Contact Form
Ting Na Wang, who has made several contributions to these pages, sent us a link to the photo below. The photo was posted to Instagram by stroutsy. The photo is undated but is clearly of some age as it shows the Futuro being placed at its current location (and in addition, to us at least, it looks mighty like an old Polaroid photo).
At the time the Futuro was a different color (an orange color very reminiscent of Idyllwild and old photos of Futuro #001 in Hirvensalmi) to the off white the unit currently sports.
The Instagram posting indicates that the photo came from a Facebook page called Mid Century Modern. There seem to be several such pages and so far we have not been able to find where this photo was posted. If you happen to know please let us know so we can provide proper attribution.
We came across this video the other day. It was uploaded to Youtube by Kyle Owens 092014. The video is a time lapse that condenses the eight hours of construction of a model of this Futuro using cardboard and cans into a little over 4 minutes.
"Artel is excited to once again be a part of Canstruction! Hardworking members from area architecture firms and Manna Food Pantries have teamed up to create this fun design competition to raise funds and collect cans for Manna."
Ken Ratcliff recently posted the two photographs below to Flickr (here and here). The photographs are published under CC 2.0 and Ken has also kindly agreed to let us use them here - thanks Ken. The photos were taken 110813 and for us there are two interesting observations to be made.
The first is that the close up shot shows that the condition of this unit is not quite as perfect as it appears in some shots. While some older shots do show this to some extent we have not before seen a shot that so clearly provides photographic evidence of "bubbling" and degradation in the units "paint job."
The second involves the color. We have often seen in our own very amateur attempts at photography that photographs do not always accurately reflect color; lighting, weather conditions, camera settings and all manner of factors affect the end result.
Having said that if we look back to say 2007 (this shot from Wikipedia is a good example) we see a color that appears to be like the one reflected in Ken's photos taken a little over a month ago. But then if we look at some of the photographs in between those two dates (check out the photographs below by Barbara Shallue) the unit looks white. Seems unlikely that the unit was one color, then painted white and then returned to the original color but anything is possible. On the other hand perhaps it is all the same color and "photography" is the cause of the apparent change.
We will let you form your own opinions.
R.W. Sinclair snapped the photo below on what looks like a dark and stormy day in Florida confirming this Futuro remains on site as of 070513. The photo was posted to Flickr under CC 2.0.
Clarkin says that after spending her high school graduation weekend at the Futuro she "... knew the spaceship was going to own me one day". Victoria and husband Mark use the Futuro as a beach house and it also serves as headquarters for the Pensacola Beach Preservation & Historical Society.
Perched atop a 1950's era concrete beach house the Futuro has withstood hurricanes Ivan and Dennis; Victoria says "It's round and aerodynamic so when rain and wind hit it it doesn't get too damaged." The house also withstands hordes of tourists on a daily basis; Clarkin tells us that on a busy beach day 500 or more people take photos of the Futuro.
We can place the Futuro on site using Google Earth's historical satellite imagery as far back as 012394; the current imagery is dated 010312. However all of the evidence suggests that this Futuro has only ever been located here. An article on the website Toes In The Sand (dead link removed - see pdf here) informs us that "A helicopter helped it land on it's current launch pad in the early seventies". That same article also references hurricane Ivan telling us that "It even held its ground through Hurricane Ivan which completely immersed it's 'launch pad' in water". We are assuming that the "launch pad" is the building upon which the Futuro is situated.
Another possible indication of age is a really cool old black and white photo of the Futuro. Though we have not been able to find the date this photo was taken the composition and tone along with the car parked out front all suggest a photgraph of some age. The copyright on the photo is held by the Pensacola Beach Preservation and Historical Society and you can check it out here. This photo also appeared in the Toes In The Sand (dead link removed - see pdf here) article referenced above and it is seen on page 95 of Douglas Curran's book In Advance of the Landing. In the book the notes that accompany the photo suggest that the Futuro was 36 feet in diameter; this is not the case and a quick check on Google maps will confirm that this unit is the same size as other Futuros.
A further confirmation of the idea that this Futuro has spent its entire life at this one location can be found on RoadsideAmerica.com where, in an 082808 comment, Connie F. tells us that it "was first lowered onto the launch pad in the late sixties by a helicopter".
Also of interest on the same RoadsideAmerica.com page is the suggestion, in another comment, that the "structure is built like a UFO to lift up and float if the area is ever flooded out". To us clearly an incorrect statement; there is nothing we have ever seen that would suggest that as a design motive on the part of Matti Suuronen and based on the Futuros we have seen in person we are not too sure they would float that well anyway.
This is one of the more photographed Futuros and a selection of photos and videos are below.
This great photo is by C-Monster and displayed under CC 2.0. The photo was taken 090508 and is one of our favorite shots; in particular it provides a great look at the ramp up to the Futuro.
As noted earlier the Pensacola Beach Futuro seems to have been photographed more than many of the other Futuros so there are a great many photos to choose from when thinking about portraying this Futuro. In our opinion the shots below by Barbara Shallue that were posted on 012312 to her blog Confessions Of A Photography Addict are definitely among the best.
We are not by any means photographers, we take snaps like many of us do, but we are no experts for sure; we don't know if these shots were taken in unusual light, if some kind of filters were used or what but there is something about the lighting and the tone of the shots that makes them "stand out from the crowd".
The six photos below also stand out to us for one reason or another (top to bottom, left to right):
A photo by Convict J-man taken 091811. We have always liked black and white photography and this is a great example.
A photo by ChiDN. Great black and white shot taken 102209; looks like the wind is up and serious weather is on the way.
A photo by Gregory Moine shot 122909 [CC 2.0]. This shot is taken at night and features some cool lighting on the Futuro.
A 2007 photo from Wikipedia under CC 3.0 with the Futuro appearing to have a different paint color; maybe just lighting?
A photo by usc_ty taken on 082512. This nice shot provides the latest confirmed date for this Futuro.
For something just a little different check out the three photos below.
The first is by Innisfree Hotels (CC 2.0); a really well composed shot featuring an "alien" and some cool reflections.
The second, by Gigi Elmes features - well we are not entirely sure what it features; you will have to decide for yourself!
The third of the trio is by Stephen Ulman who recently graduated Washington State University with a master's in landscape architecture. The photo is of a 2009 drawing Stephen (along with Ryan Anderson according to the drawing's tag line) did of the Futuro. On his blog Stephen says "I drew this from a photo and added my own improvements to the property." Looks pretty good to us; if we ever manage to buy our own Futuro you might just have a job Stephen!
The Futuro makes a brief appearance in the music video "Even Though I Want To"; a Choice Video Services, Inc. Music Video Production for Pearl Clarkin. Given that the Victoria Clarkin owns the Futuro we are guessing there is a family relationship. The Futuro appears briefly about a minute and ten seconds into the video.
Finally, and appropriately as we are writing just a few days before Halloween, there is one final noteworthy comment on the RoadsideAmerica.com page; Lynne tells us that "At Halloween each year a large orange parachute, probably on loan from the nearby Pensacola Naval Air Station, transforms the UFO into a giant toothy pumpkin." After searching for a while we found this photo using Google Image search; the original page would not load so we are not sure where the photo came from so if you know it's origin please let us know so we can provide appropriate attribution. Thanks