Futuro House [1968]

Matti Suuronen

Imagery: Benjamin Jay Shand

The Futuro was the brainchild of Matti Suuronen, an industrial Finnish architect who was tasked with creating a dynamic alpine chalet and arrived at a fibreglass spheroid prefabricated house, taking cues from silo designs and desiring the form to appear almost entirely intergalactic – as if assembled from a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or an issue of Planet Comics. The analogue developed by Suuronen here is far from incidental: the world was transfixed by the Space Race and so Futuro had to appear as unsituated as the spacecraft in order to suggest an infinite living potential dynamic – or, in short, a better future. The blueprint was simple: a radial diagram that located a fireplace at the core, a mechanised kitchenette and bathroom, with six reclining units to the perimeter. With an aeronautical hatch door as a means of entrance, the fibreglass split into sixteen lightweight panels equipped with a band of elliptical windows. Promotional imagery showed the Futuro cable lifted over mountainous terrain – one had to look twice to confirm it wasn’t the structure, itself, that was flying. Although visionary, it bound itself to the retro-kitsch side of futurism and delivered a commercial disappointment ‘as famous for its otherworldly appearance as for its cult following’ – it failed to achieve even modest architectural commemoration. Nonetheless, of interest here is the way that Suuronen broadly coalesced imagery that typified technological advancement and contextual curiosity into a single cartoonish entity – an entity that was assumed to triumph in a similar manner to that of its source material.

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