The “Futura” transportable home was designed to look and act like a spaceship; landing and taking off from a site with ease.
Matti Suuronen, an architect from Finland designed the UFO-like pre-fabricated homes to be easily constructed and deconstructed, or even flown whole by helicopter or plane from one destination to the next as the ultimate holiday home for the space age generation.
The flying saucer pods could be easily mass-produced from fibreglass-reinforced polymer plastic yet fewer than 100 were made in the 1960’s and ‘70’s and those remaining have become rare collector items.
The oil crisis of the 1970s and subsequent price rise of manufacture put an end to the UFO dream homes and it’s estimated that only around 50 of the original Futuro homes survive.
Taiwan was one of the countries intrigued by the space-age Futura design. During the peak of the Taiwan Miracle era – named for Taiwan’s massive post-war economic growth that culminated in the 1970s and ‘80s expansion in electronics manufacturing – futuristic beachside resorts were created.
In Sanzhi District, New Taipei City, the idea to build a UFO village came from a plastics manufacturer, Yu-chou Co and was based on the Futuro design. Construction started in 1978, but ended in 1980 when Yu-chou went bankrupt and the project was never finalised.
Another investor was found to resurrect the project, but he discovered the UFOs were not earthquake-proof and in 1989 the concrete and plastic pods were abandoned for over 30 years until their demolition was ordered in 2010.
Another wealthyTaiwanese business man who reportedly built his fortune by creating a popular Sasparilla soda, also looked to create a futuristic Suuronen beachside resort for the super-rich at Wanli in New Tapai City on the Northern coast of Taiwan where there a number of Futuros still survive.
It is believed that the climate of the Wanli site, although located by the sea, was too extreme all year round and again the project ran out of investor interest and money. By the 1980s the pods were abandoned – although they haven’t yet been demolished like their Sanjhih counterparts.