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.
So, as of today, there will be no further updates to this page; new information and updates relating to the Futuro in Linköping will be found here and for Norrköping here.
Details of the public auction for one of the two Futuros removed from Stråtjära have now been posted on the Fortifikationsverket website.
There are two currently viewing sessions scheduled for 092416 (10:00-12:00) and 092416 (14:00-16:00). The website indicates that these sessions are for "serious bidders" only and registration is required. Interested parties can register here. According to this page on the website online bidding will run 100316 through 101016.
A deposit of 10% of the purchase price is payable "when the purchase contract is signed immediately after the bidding is completed" with the remainder due on the "completion date". Based on Google Translate (not always reliable with the Scandinavian languages) it looks like the buyer would need to remove the Futuro no later than 120116.
Various documents relating to the auction can be downloaded from the Fortifikationsverket website using the links below.
The journey continues; the photo below, taken 072516 by cykloman, shows the Futuros in a field at Norrköping-Bråvalla Airfield following the trip from the Port of Norrsundet waiting for the start of restoration work.
The location of these Futuros has now been changed to Norrköping-Bråvalla Airfield.
These photos were posted to Instagram by Niklas Luks 070616. The first shows one of the Futuros being loaded onto a flatbed for transport from the Port of Norrsundet to Norrköping-Bråvalla Airfield in the early hours of 070616. The other two photos show the Futuros "on the road".
Niklas original photos can be found on Instagram here, here and here.
We came across this photo by cgocgo on the website geocaching.com which was taken 060516. Adding it now takes us a little out of the chronological sequence of the two Futuro's "travels" but it is nice to add it here "for the record".
Fredrik Björkman continues to report on the movement of these Futuros; his latest report, published 062016, can be found on helahalsingland.se. In this report we learned that the barge transport from the Port of Norrsundet to Norrköping started on 062016 and was expected to take two days.
The Futuros will be prepared for the next stage of their journey in Norrköping; one will then go on to the Swedish Air Force Museum in Linköping and the other will be put up for auction.
The article was accompanied by this great video footage.
In addition Fredrik emailed us these photos (copyright Fredrik Björkman). As always our thanks to Fredrik for keeping the "Futuro World" up to date with developments as these Futuros move on to "pastures new".
The end of this river trip was nicely documented by a couple of posts to Instagram by flygvapenmuseum (Air Force Museum) on 062216; one a video of one of the Futuros being lifted from the barge by crane and the other a nice photo.
The arrival of the Futuros in Norrköping was also documented by nt.se 062016 in an article by Elin Holmer that included both video footage and some great photos. The photos, copyright Michael Svensson, can be found below.
Elin reports that the Futuros will initially be placed inside the Bråvalla military area before one is refurbished for use as a conference room at the Swedish Air Force Museum and the other readied for sale. The Futuro moving to the Air Force Museum is expected to move there in the next week or so. The Futuro that will be sold will remain in Norrköping until the sale.
Also this week we received a couple of updates from Fortifikationsverket (Ingela Andersson), the current owners of the Futuros; many thanks to Ingela and Fortifikationsverket for sharing information.
We are told that the auction for the second Futuro will most likely take place in August or September. Details will be published here as they become available so if you have any interest in a possible purchase it would make sense to bookmark this page and check it regularly. Obviously we will add information here also as and when it becomes available.
In addition Fortifikationsverket have now released us to publish a report on the Swedish Futuros that we received some time ago but could not share here until now. The report reviews the general history of the Swedish Futuros, including the two recently removed from Stråtjära, the third Swedish Air Force unit located at Såtenäs Air Force Base and the fourth (non Air Force) unit now located in Örebro.
That said most of the information is not new with much of it being sourced from the book Futuro: Tomorrow's House from Yesterday edited by Marko Home & Mika Taanila. The report also includes quite a number of photographs of the Swedish Futuros but in almost all cases these photos are not "new".
Most interesting perhaps are some included Swedish Air Force documents that relate to the original purchase of the Futuros and the construction projects required to complete their installation (including information about costs and a little about their use and how they were staffed). Though largely just describing the bureaucratic process of purchasing and building the Futuro observation towers there are a few interesting facts mixed in with the boring "red tape". There are also a number of interesting architectural plans included in the document; a sampling of these can be found below.
Marko Home very kindly took the time to read and translate the report; a big thank you Marko. Here, in Marko's own words, is a translation of the most interesting points from the report and the included documents.
"The Swedish Air Force Futuros that served as observation towers at the firing practice areas were equipped with radio TMR-16B (for communication with the airplanes), radio TMR-17 (for communication with the ground personnel), headphones, loudspeaker (for announcements for the audience, in other words the military personnel and possible guests who were following the firing practices), intercom, binoculars, chairs etc., but no running water or toilet. An air conditioner was later added to lower the temperature inside Futuro during the summertime.
In 1970 Swedish Air Force paid 78,000 Swedish kronor for each Futuro (about USD 15,113.00 in 2016 currency), the building costs were 182,000 Swedish kronor (about USD 35,264.00 in 2016 currency) for each concrete tower on top of which the Futuros were laid and the electricity work cost 8,000 Swedish kronor (about USD 1,550,00 in 2016 currency) per unit.
The air wing 15 (F15) used the firing practice area in Noran mainly for rocket shooting and bombing. The targets were located on a swamp which effectively damped the explosions. The air wing 15 flew Saab 32 Lansen attack-fighter aircraft until 1974 and Saab 37 Viggen attack-fighter aircraft from 1975 until 1996. The Saab 35 Draken fighter aircraft from air wing 1 (F1) and helicopters also occasionally trained in Noran.
During the 1970s and early 1980s a team of nine persons operated the two Futuro observation towers in Noran (four or five persons in each Futuro). Conscripts observed firing practice results with binoculars and marked them down manually while the Chief Observation Officer, a member of the regular air force staff, communicated the information by radio to the pilots who could then correct their aim according to instructions.
By the mid-1980s technical development made it possible to observe the firing practice with camera and count the results by computer program. The conscripts were no longer needed to observe the firing practice results with binoculars and mark them down manually. From mid-1980s the Futuro tower number one was used mainly by Chief Observation Officer Rune Flyrén to control the firing practice and communicate with the pilots, while camera was placed in the Futuro tower number two.
In 1996 Swedish Air Force decided to disband air wing 15 (F15) and the two Futuro observation towers in Noran were shut down."
The Fortifikationsverket report can be downloaded here.
On 060216 these two Futuros began the multi stage journey that will end with one unit going to the Swedish Air Force Museum in Linköping and the other being put up for auction.
Stage one of the journey; a road trip to the Port of Norrsundet where the Futuros will stay for a few days before they are loaded onto a barge for onward transport to Norrköping where they will be restored before moving on.
Swedish journalists Daniel Sjöholm and Fredrik Björkman sent us links this morning to articles they published today about this "road trip" (the articles are on www.larm-soderhamn.se and www.helahalsingland.se respectively).
The articles included some great video footage and also some nice stills from Daniel. These videos and photos can be found below. Our thanks go to Daniel and Fredrik for sharing the links and their video footage and photos and for keeping us up to date as these Futuros begin their journey to "pastures new".
In order to minimize traffic disruption due to road closures the convoy carrying the Futuro set out around 2:00 AM. Along the way crews had to dismantle several road signs and hanging warning signs above a rail crossing had to be raised. The barge trip to Norrköping is expected to take place sometime next week.
This set of photos and the video below accompanied the Daniel Sjöholm article.
Fredrik Björkman was able to provide a little more information on the process of removing the first of the two Futuros from its tower that took place 042116. The lift proved more complicated than first thought due to having to remove the Futuro with a section of the concrete pillar still attached.
This was not the original plan and thus the weight for the lift was much greater than planned for. The Futuro was firmly attached to the concrete and so a concrete saw had to be used to cut through the tower a little below the Futuro. This was the cause of a delay of several hours before the Futuro could be lowered.
The second Futuro will probably be removed from its tower 042616.
Fredrik also tells us that it now looks like the Futuros will have to be moved by truck to a barge in Söderhamn with the military having pulled out of the plan to airlift them using a military helicopter. The intention is still to move them fully assembled if at all possible.
Finally Fredrik was able to provide us with embed code for two videos broadcast by Helahalsingland.se which provide footage of the lowering of the Futuro from the South Tower on 042116 and a video tour of the Futuro on the North Tower from the same day; they can be found below. Our thanks go to Fredrik for sharing his great ongoing coverage of the Stråtjära Futuros as they start their journey to new locations.
As planned Helahalsingland.se broadcast live from Stråtjära on 042116. There were several broadcast periods which included interviews by journalist Fredrik Björkman (that of course we could not understand), a video tour of the interior of the Futuro on the North Tower and live coverage of the lifting of the second Futuro from atop the south tower down to ground level. The actual lift took place somewhat later than initially planned due to some challenges in setting up the lift.
Some stills from this footage can be found below and, at this time, the footage can still be watched online on the Helahalsingland.se website here and here. We were unable to archive the footage and obviously we cannot share it here for copyright reasons and we are not sure how long the videos will remain accessible online so if you are interested check them out sooner than later.
The first broadcast followed Fredrik Björkman as he visited the North Tower; it included some nice footage of the interior of the unit. The last 3 shots show a view of the South Tower from inside the North Tower.
The second broadcast followed the South Tower being lifted down from its concrete pillar by a large crane in readiness for transport off site.
Swedish journalist Fredrik Björkman has written several articles on these Futuros that have been published on helahalsingland.se and two more were added recently. Our thanks to Fredrik for alerting us to these articles just as he has done in the past.
In the first of these, published 041416, Fredrik tells us that the Futuros will shortly be removed from their current site. He goes on to report that although the Futuros could, in theory, be disassembled before being moved due to their age and lack of maintenance the owners determined there was too great a risk of damage if an attempt was made to disassemble the units "in situ" and decided that a large crane would be used to remove the units from the towers. Once lowered to ground level they will then be moved, fully assembled, by military helicopter to a barge in Söderhamn for onward transport to Norrköping where they will be refurbished.
In the second article, just published today, Fredrik reports that the Futuros will actually be removed from their towers tomorrow. He adds the exciting news that the website helahalsingland.se plans to stream live footage of the process currently scheduled for 2:00 PM Stockholm time (GMT+2).
2016 will likely see the two Futuros currently located at Stråtjära "on the move" with one going to the Swedish Air Force Museum in Linköping and the other planned for the "auction block".
The Northern Futuro will be relocated to the Swedish Air Force Museum where, according to museum director Michael Parr, it will be refurbished and function as a meeting/conference room. As a part of the museum's conference facilities it is hoped that the Futuro will attract additional clients in addition to those with an and air and/or military interest. The museum is currently in process of sourcing a contractor to remove the Futuro from its 14 meter high mount and then move it by truck to Linköping once winter passes.
The southern Futuro will be removed from its "perch" at the same time but this unit will subsequently be sold. Owners Fortifikationsverket who describe themselves as
"... the largest real estate owner in Sweden."
will auction the Futuro from their website probably no earlier than summer 2016. Project manager for the sale, Johan Rådberg, believes the unit may be up for sale for some time and anticipates a sale price anywhere between 50,000 and 500,000 Swedish Krona (personally we think the higher estimate is far more likely, at today's exchange rates the lower figure equates to around $5900, and we would be stunned to see a Futuro go for such a sum; even we could afford it at that price).
Our thanks to Swedish journalist Fredrik Björkman who sent us this information; Fredrik's original article published 011916 on helahalsingland.se can be found here.
The author of a second related article, Jörgen Bengtson, also contacted us this past week (thanks Jörgen). Jörgen's article, published on the website langvind.com, suggests at least one potential buyer for the second Futuro is already eager to make that purchase. The article reports that (as translated by Google):
"Several politicians in Söderhamn have now committed to the municipality to buy Futuro of Fortifikationsverket, renovate the house / houses and place them in the appropriate place in Söderhamn as a draw."
Based on these two stories it certainly looks like 2016 will see two more Futuros being moved and restored/refurbished and we are always happy to see additional Futuros getting some "love".
A while ago a Swedish journalist named Fredrik Björkman contacted us about contributing to an article he was writing for Helahalsingland.se about these Futuros (and while some of the quotes from me are accurate others, if we are translating correctly, are a little inaccurate). The military base upon which the Futuros sit has been sold and the future of the Futuros is uncertain. Fredrik's August 2014 article can be found online here or as a pdf files here and here.
Between Google Translate and an email from Marko Home we have managed to decipher most of the article. There is some general Futuro history, mention of one or two Futuros in their current location along with photos (Orebro and Saint-Ouen) and a little information about the sale of the military base and what the possibilities might be for the Futuros.
In addition there is a little history specific to these two Futuros. Fredrik writes (English is Google Translate edited by yours truly and may be incorrect):
"Norans firing range was used by the air wing F15 when fighter pilots would practice shooting and bombing. They flew in at low altitude from the sea to the northwest, they flew fast and sighted in on big red-painted plank pyramids out in the mire. In both Futuro towers staff watched and monitored how the pilots performed. The houses are located on opposite pillars of concrete; you reach the top by means of a ladder.
Rune Flyrén was head for the flotilla targets from 1984 to closure in 1995 and spent much time in the towers. He remembers that the work environment was uncomfortable and impractical. The houses are poorly insulated and became terribly hot in summer. In winter, it went well, heating existed. He also remembers that the arched plastic windows worked poorly. The light went out in a weird way so that it was difficult to see the hits properly and it was even worse when the rained. "But it was fun to be there, for it was a different kind of workplace. People who came there and looked so "Oh, is it a spaceship?" And we thought it looked good from the air as well, says Rune Flyrén."
It is interesting to note that the Futuros were actually used as late as 1995. In addition there is also this very interesting photo showing the aforementioned Rune Flyrén along with Ture Lindberg in one of the Futuros. The photo dates from the 1980's and it is interesting not only as a shot of the interior of the Futuro but also because it shows that the military personnel were already equipped with CCTV and computers at a time when they might have been expected to be still using radios and binoculars.
As for what the future might hold in store for the Futuros Fredrik writes that (English is Google Translate edited by yours truly and may be incorrect):
".. cultural heritage specialist Ingela Andersson will visit in September to look at the houses cultural value and document them in order to judge whether they should be preserved ... then there would be a discussion with the National Heritage Board"
In a follow up article that can be found here here Fredrik tells us that the assessment visit has now taken place. He writes (English is Google Translate edited by yours truly and may be incorrect):
"... cultural heritage specialist Ingela Andersson was one of those who climbed the South Tower. It was in poor condition. Birds had come in through a skylight and there was littering. It felt very unhealthy to be there, says Ingela Andersson. Before the end of the year the towers heritage value will be assessed and a report written about it. Since there may be talk of a sale, according to Ingela Andersson "It is perhaps doubtful that the towers will be preserved in place, as they stand in a field with a lot of unexploded ordnance. In this case, rather they must be dismantled."
Hopefully the Futuros can be preserved as being of cultural value or perhaps as a result of some as yet unknown buyer stepping forward for them. Time will tell.
Blogger Tobbe Arnesson visited Stråtjära on 122812 and posted about his visit on his blog Trotylbild (Swedish | Google translation to English here). The photos below, displayed hereb courtesy of Tobbe, accompanied his post. Our thanks to Mattias Andersson who sent us a message telling us about the blog post and to Tobbe for allowing us to display his photos..
We received an email from Patrik Eriksson today; thanks to Patrik who provided us with the location and a little additional information we now know that the third Swedish Air Force Futuro is located at Såtenäs Air Force Base.
Patrik was also able to provide a brief update regarding the Stråtjära Futuros including confirmation that they are still on site. Patrik had visited them this past summer and one of his friends visited as recently as 110212; Patrik tells us that the doors to the towers have been welded shut so while we can confirm their continued presence on site there is no new information as to their condition.
Original Information 081212
The book Futuro - Tomorrow's House From Yesterday tells us that between the years 1969 and 1971 the Swedish Air Force purchased three Futuro's which were to serve as observation towers at a practice firing range north of Gävle, Sweden. The Futuro's were pre-assembled and then lifted onto concrete pillars rising above the trees in the area (the bottom photo below shows one of the Futuro's at ground level before being lifted to the top of its tower).
These Futuro's were modified to enhance fire safety and improve the exit. The book quotes Peter Stude, the project supervisor:
"Back then, the Swedish Air Force enjoyed a generous budget, and no expense was spared on comforts like heating and air conditioning. Before the Futuro's were installed, the lookout tower consisted of a crude two-by-two meter open platform."
Two of the Futuro's are visible in Google Maps satellite imagery dated 123107 and they can be placed on site as late as 041409 by
a photo by Ruin T. In the commentary that goes along with that photo RuinT indicates that the military area now appears to be unused and confirms that two Futuro's remain.
To date we have not been able to locate the third Futuro so if you have information on that or are able to confirm that the Futuro's remained on site post 2009 please let us know.
One interesting thing should be noted in the last photo that may relate to the "missing" third Futuro. Take a look through the other photos below; while you cannot see front and back of a unit in the same picture they do appear to have windows all around. In particular if you look at the second image of the North Tower Futuro and at the left panel of the last photo you will in each case observe that you can see the windows at the rear of the Futuro through the front ones which seems to confirm "all around windows".
Now look at the last photo and in particular at the top right panel of that photo; there we see a Futuro that appears to be even further modified in that it appears not to have windows all around the circumference of the unit. Perhaps that was the "missing" third Futuro and perhaps it was destined for a slightly different use. Obviously we do not know - if you do we would love to hear from you.
Obviously there is no "Street View" at this location in Google Earth/Maps but we do get one interesting perspective; checkout this screen shot from Google Earth of the South Tower and in partciular notice the shadow the tower casts.
futuroincanada posted an awesome set of photos in the Yahoo Group futurohouse. Looks like the photos were posted January 2012 though we do not know when they were taken or if they were all taken at the same time. These first two photos are of the North tower.
This next set of photos provides views of the South Tower.
Here we get a look inside the South Tower unit.
These three photos feature an awesome model of the area and the Futuro towers.
The photo series also included this set of maps of the area.
Finally this shot, that includes a view of one of the Futuro's at down at ground level pre-assembled and ready to be lifted to the top of the concrete pillar along with two other shots, is from our copy of the book "Futuro - Tomorrow's House From Yesterday".