TheFuturoHouse.com | Latest Site News & Updates
- Location | University of Canberra, Bldg 5, Bruce ACT 2617, Australia
- Lat/Long | 35°14'20.20"S 149°5'0.32"E
- Previous Location | 8 Hawdon Street, Dickson, ACT, 2602, Australia
- Previous Lat/Long | 35°14'59.29"S 149°8'45.10"E
- Image By Peter Bartlett | 100814
- Google Maps | 101217
- Latest Confirmation | 080522
Information Update History
The previously documented history of this unit (see the 091312 update
to this page) initially placed it at the Building Materials Exhibition Center in Maryborough Street, Fyshwick
around 1972. It then spent time on a private farm in Sutton and later moved to the Macquarie Slide Swimming Center
(possibly painted red at that time). In 1997 it was relocated to the Dickson Canberra Planetarium
site where it would remain until its final move in 2011 to its current location. The whereabouts of the unit between 1991 and 1997 was unknown.
Recently, thanks to Brody Walker, we were able to confirm much of the history and add a little more information, particularly in relation to the 1991 thru 1997 period along with a couple of photos along the way. All of that was courtesy of some press clippings that Brody uncovered and sent us (thank you Brody).
The first of the clippings is a very short article in the 061385 issue of the Canberra Times which notes the arrival of an "unidentified flying object" at the Housing Industry Association's display village in Sweet Place, Chisholm
. The "ufo" was to serve as the Canberra Building Society's Living Space Center at the display village.
There is no mention of the name Futuro House and there is no photograph so based solely on this short mention we would not actually know this was anything to do with a Futuro.
However, an article that was accompanied by photograph in the next days issue of the Canberra Times makes it clear we are talking about a Futuro (and we just love the photo).
Three years or so later in an article from 100788 we learn that the Futuro had been moved to a second location in Chisolm and was to be auctioned.
And finally, an article from 052891 puts all of the pieces together for us in terms of documenting that the Futuro located for a time in Chisolm is indeed this Futuro.
This article tells us that the Futuro had been purchased by the Canberra Tradesmen's Union Club and would be relocated to the Dickson site. It also references it being previously located in Chisolm and then at the Macquarie Slide Swimming Center.
It is perhaps possible that it took 6 years to move the Futuro to Dickson but we think it more likely the 1997 date for the units arrival there is incorrect.
So based on this new evidence we can update the history of this unit to go something like this.
- Building Materials Exhibition Center in Maryborough Street - Fyshwick; arriving around 1972
- Currie Crescent, Kingston (see 122312 update on this page) - dates unknown (interchangeable with Sutton below)
- Private farm in Sutton - dates unknown (interchangeable with Kingston above)
- Sweet Place, Chisolm - installed 061385 to serve as the Canberra Building Society's Living Space Center at the Housing Industry Association's display village
- Second location in Chisolm prior to auction - around October 1988
- Macquarie Slide Swimming Center - specific dates unknown
- Purchased for relocated to Dickson - around May 1991 (actual move date unknown)
- Current location - relocated in 2011
As we have often said on these pages we love black & white photography and we also love to see recent photos of Futuros. In this case we have a "double" with a great back and white shot of this Futuro posted to Instagram 102519 by canberrastreets
; the same day (and the same poster but with a different Instagram account) canberrastreetscolour
posted the second of the two photos below.
We recently received this collection of photos from Peter S.; they were taken in March 2018. The close up shots show a level of structural degradation that is perhaps a little surprising given how recently the unit was restored.
Issue 9 of the Australian publication Her Canberra
included a fashion shoot which featured the Canberra University Futuro as a backdrop. The photos below can be found on the Devojka Models
Facebook page and the video can be found on the Her Canberra website.
This video by Elucidating Conservation
includes some great footage of this Futuro, both exterior and interior; it was added to YouTube 030817.
update to this page included mention of this Futuro appearing at the Building Materials Exhibition Center in Maryborough Street, Fyshwick
The photo below is of an advertisement from The Canberra Times dated 070172 which matches this exact location and timeframe thus confirming the earlier information. We came across this in a comment on a post
on the Futuro House
Facebook page. The original newspaper page can be found on trove.nla.gov.au
Finally got around to updating the address, lat/long and embedded Google Map to reflect the slightly different position of this Futuro on the university campus post its restoration; I believe the saying is "better late than never"!
We recently received an email from Daniel Soma
in which he wrote:
"I am an artist from Sydney and am currently working on an exhibition (opening 041416) which is a case study of the failure of the Futuro home. It is an investigation of relational consequences that have naturally been undocumented which leave us with a clouded perception of "what went wrong". I find the Futuro home to be a wonderful catapult for this idea, and am consequently using its story for the show.
As a part of his preparation Daniel visited this Futuro on 112315 and the photos below were shot during that visit. We am not sure what form the exhibition will take but it relates to Futuro so we are eagerly awaiting more information.
The other day we came across this .pdf file from (based on the file name) 2011. The document, titled "We Come In Pieces - Conservation Problems Associated With The Futuro House At The University Of Canberra", is an academic paper by John Greenwood which provides a high level overview of the upcoming restoration project.
The document includes a section that provides a little general Futuro history and construction information, a short section on the history of this particular Futuro House (which confirms earlier information
on this page and includes reference to its use as a real estate office and as a feature at a swimming pool) and sections detailing the condition of the Futuro at the time and the plans for its restoration.
The document also includes the photo at right which depicts a rather interesting and innovative access structure incorporating a ramp that was proposed for the project.
The design was by Anthony Durak, Jordan Evans-Tse and Steven Li and was an entry in a design competition held by the university. In the end this feature was not included in the project.
The original document can be found on the web here
This week we received an email from Peter Bartlett with photographs of the restored Canberra University Futuro. Our thanks to Peter for sharing these photographs which can be seen below.
With the choice of exterior color this Futuro now reminds us a little of Futuro #001
located at the WeeGee Exhibition Center
; but that resemblance is only exterior. The interior shots show the choice to create a "new" interior for this Futuro rather than attempt to create an "original" interior.
We think the restored unit looks awesome and we congratulate the project team on completing a wonderful restoration. It is great to see another Futuro in such fantastic condition.
This week we received an update on the Futuro restoration project from Wade who is overseeing the project along with Jon. Thanks Wade - we appreciate it; it is interesting to follow the progress of a Futuro restoration as it happens.
The team is about three months into the project and Wade tells us activity so far includes the following:
- Removal of the water-damaged chipboard structural elements in the lower segments and their replacement with structural grade plywood
- Assembly of the lower half of the Futuro in the workshop
- Construction of a new floor structure
- Restoration of the pulley/spring/cable door/staircase mechanism
- Removal of the windows and rubbers in the upper segments
- Removal of the five layers of paint on the Futuro's upper segments back to its original ochre-yellow color gel-coat
- Application of primer on the upper segments ready for final finishing
Wade also sent us the series of photos below depicting (top to bottom, left to right):
- The arrival of the Futuro at the team's workshop
- The assembly of the lower half of the Futuro
- The completely assembled lower half of the Futuro
- Work on the upper panels of the Futuro which includes their being stripped back to the original ochre-yellow gel-coat and then having primer applied in preparation for final finishing
- Work on restoration of the door/staircase pulley mechanism
- Modifications to the unit by a previous owner that included lowering the base ring by roughly 400mm and cutting a semi-circular hole out above the door (to provide adequate head-room following the lowering of the base ring). Illustrated by a pre-restoration/disassembly photo
- The completed fabrication of a door jamb above the door opening; a part of the ongoing process of reversing the modifications and returning the Futuro to its original state
Wade also sent us these very cool shots of a CAD Model of the Futuro House.
Finally, Wade also mentioned that the team had been contacted by another buyer interested in purchasing and restoring a Futuro House. Wade is aware that the Mallorca
Futuros are currently for sale (the Lorne
Futuro is no longer for sale) but is also interested in hearing about any others that might be for sale. If you own a Futuro that is for sale or know of one on the market please let us know
; we will then pass contact information along to Wade.
Wade & Jon who are overseeing the restoration of this Futuro recently reached out to us and offered to provide updates and photos during the course of their restoration project. We are really looking forward to seeing how things progress. In the meantime the photo below sent to us by Wade will serve as our "before" shot. Thanks Wade & Jon - we are really looking forward to following your progress as you work to return this Futuro to its former glory.
It seems the University of Canberra Futuro is finally going to get its major makeover. After being moved to the university campus and reassembled a couple of years ago the Futuro has remained largely unchanged. However in an article posted today
on the Canberra Times website we learn that things are now moving along on the restoration front.
The Canberra Times article
tells us that:
"After having spent the past two years in a relatively unkempt state at the university, the Futuro has now entered the next phase of its life. It has been pulled apart again and brought to JB Design in Fyshwick where it is being totally refurbished. It will be fitted with a curved desk following the internal circumference and house a wide range of 21st century computing and communications aids ... it will not be taken back to its original colour, a dramatic ochre-yellow that would make it stand out against any background. It will, instead, be finished in a sleek silver livery very similar to the paint scheme it had at the space dome. Regardless of the colour, the structure - which should be reinstalled at the UOC sometime in 2014 - will add a nicely surreal touch to its new home.
We look forward to seeing another Futuro get fully restored and will watch with interest for news of its return to the University campus. The photo below accompanied the article.
A second Tim The Yowie Man
blog post on canberratimes.com.au
, this one dated 122112, recounts a little additional history relating to this Futuro. Our thanks to Yolande Norris who told us about the post.
The post is titled "Truth Is Out There
" and in it John "Cooka" Campbell tells of a Futuro that could be found at 14 Currie Crescent, Kingston, ACT in the early 1970's. Campbell is quoted in the article as follows:
"The white flying saucer was there when I moved into 14 Currie Crescent, Kingston, in the early 1970s and still there when I left some six years or so later ...
"Just before I moved in it was used as a real estate office to help sell new developments in the area ...
The article has this to say about the possible relationship between this unit and the one now located at Canberra University:
"Cooka and fellow housemate Walter Shafron believe "their" flying saucer is the very same futuro that ended up at the Dickson Planetarium and ultimately on the University of Canberra campus ...
This is not inconsistent with the somewhat spotty history we have of this unit and actually very likely given the geographic proximity of the various locations. We know it was in Fyshwick around 1972 and that it later spent time in Sutton and at the Macquarie Slide Swimming Center
but we do not have any dates to go with those locations so it is entirely possible, and in our view probable, that this unit was indeed the one that spent several years on Currie Crescent most likely during the period between Fyshwick and later locations.
If anyone can fill in any of the many gaps that still remain in the history of this unit please let us know
The photo below, of the Futuro during its time on Currie Crescent, accompanied the blog post.
We have updated the embedded Google Map for this Futuro since the Futuro now shows in Google Maps. Interestingly that imagery does not appear to show yet in Google Earth so we do not know the imagery date and Google has obviously not yet done another pass by with the camera van for "Street View" since the Futuro does not yet show up there either.
An 090712 blog post titled "Beam me up, UC
" by Tim The Yowie Man
that includes a couple of cool photos (below) also included some additional history on the Futuro based on research conducted by UC student Erika Ceeney.
Erica's research places the Futuro initially at the Building Materials Exhibition Center in Maryborough Street, Fyshwick
around 1972. It seems that the unit subsequently spent time on a private farm in Sutton and later moved to the Macquarie Slide Swimming Center
(possibly painted red at that time).
It seems the whereabouts of the unit between 1991 and 1997 are unknown. In 1997 it arrived at the Dickson Canberra Planetarium
Sadly it seems clear from the post and the photos that our assumption that the Futuro would be restored might have been in error as its condition does not appear that good. Perhaps a refurbishment is still in the plans - we can only hope so. It would be a shame if it were "rescued" only to then be abandoned.
If anyone has any photos of the Futuro pre 1991 we would love to see them and also if anyone can shed any light on the 1991 to 1997 period during which the Futuro was "MIA" that would be great.
The first three photos below acompanied the article mentioned above. The fourth photo by The Shopping Sherpa
, reproduced here under CC 2.0
license, shows the Furturo as it appeared 012112.
Original Information 091211
Ok - so the observant ones among you will note that the Google Map does NOT show the Futuro - what's the deal - is this project not supposed to be providing accurate data? Well we are unfortunately limited by the date of satellite imagery available in Google which currently shows this Futuro at its old location at the Canberra Planetarium - the Dickson Futuro
. The date of imagery returned when looking up either location is 022908 - since the Futuro was relocated early 2011 the Google Map data shows no Futuro here even though there is one (and conversely it still shows a Futuro in Dickson that is actually no longer there).
We believe we have the correct location in Google Maps based on a University of Canberra Media Center article
that indicates that the Futuro will be located "adjacent to buildings 10 and 11".
The same Media Center article quoted the University Vice-Chancellor Stephen Parker discussing the Futuro restoration project:
"The University of Canberra has expertise in teaching and research in cultural heritage and heritage conservation through its Donald Horne Institute ... The arrival of the Futuro building enables us to offer a unique practical conservation exercise for our students and staff in conservation. It provides a wonderful case study for our students in architecture, design and planning ... It also enables us to use our expertise in the heritage field to benefit the wider community by ensuring continued access to an iconic piece of design ... Plus I believe we are now the only university in the world to have its own flying saucer.
Parker also blogged
about the Futuro.
There appears to be a spirit of camaraderie and co-operation between individuals and institutions interested in the preservation of Suuronen's legacy; this is of course a positive for all those who are fascinated by Futuro. A great example of that is this email
from Lydia Beerkens, Senior conservator of Modern Art
who oversaw the Prototype #000
restoration in the Netherlands to the Canberra University team offering support, assistance and information.
The closure of the Canberra Planetarium and the subsequent move of the Futuro to the university campus was the subject of an interesting radio segment April 20th 2011; the audio from 666 ABC Canberra's "Mornings with Alex Sloan"
can be downloaded from here
(4.54 MB MP3).
This video includes footage of and interviews related to the University Of Canberra's restoration of the Futuro previously located at the Canberra Planetarium - the Dickson Futuro
This photograph by chewyloops
The original photograph can be seen on Instagram here