UFO Futuro Houses of the 1960s-1970s


That has got to be the most impractical shape for a house ever. I grew up in a geodesic dome, and it was rather difficult to hang paintings on the sloped walls. Imagine a bowl-shaped floor! It’s be like that impossible Tetris game that XKCD proposed.

I would imagine hanging anything in a geodesic dome is rather challenging. Did the interior have conventional studs and drywall for hanging shelves, etc? How did you deal with the weird empty diagonal space that would result from pushing conventional, linear bookshelves against the wall as far back as they would go?

I imagine anybody actually living in these homes had to install a false floor to at least give them something level to put their stuff on. Bookshelves might have been modified to sit level if they were up on the lip of the bowl as well.

Either that or the homes came complete with custom furniture that fit the odd shape of the home, and the owners just had to content themselves with their decor being forever stuck in the 60s.

I suspect there are many reasons why these homes are sitting abandoned and decaying now.

These seem closer to RVs than homes to me. There is no apparent space for beds (do the chairs fold down?), no kitchen, and not even any closets. I guess you can do whatever you want in the interior, but the lack of space and the strange shape is going to make anything usable difficult. I couldn’t even tell if there was a full shower in that museum model’s airline bathroom thing.

Ha! Sychronicity - I just visited the Frisco Futuro last week. It’s in terrible shape - I wish somebody would save it, it looks like the current owner is just going to let the Outer Banks highly corrosive weather slowly grind it away.

I suspect it’s already survived far longer than any conventional building would, left uninhabited and unattended on Hatteras Island.

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There was a home built version of the futuro house at Rainbow Valley amusement park in Cavendish Beach Prince Edward Island, Canada. We used to go there as kids. It was pretty lame, fiberglass swan paddle boats and a petting zoo, but the UFO always intrigued me. The Rainbow Valley land was purchased by the Federal Government to add to the National Park but this post suggests that the saucer was sold to another amusement park.

We did have a couple conventional walls with studs, and a loft. The bookshelves were installed against the interior walls. My bedroom was in the loft, with a 45 degree angle ceiling. Our dome was the same diameter as the Futuro-House. It was mighty cramped for 5 people, even with a loft.

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On the subject of ruins: some beautiful ones (rural and urban) here:

There was a whole family of these novel prefabs in this same period that all, sadly, went the same way. There was the Bubble House by Jean Maneval in France, and the Venturo by Matti Suuronen, also from Finland and which seemed to really have a lot going for it with its modular clear-span pavilion form. Both the Futuro and Venturo seem to have become most iconic, turning up in such things as the art of Shag. There was even electronic music composed for the Futuro by the group Ektroverde. Though few of these were ever produced, a large number of mysteriously produced Futuros and Venturos seem to have turned up in a decrepit vacation village in Taiwan, with some still inhabited today.

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We celebrated a friend Justin’s birthday in one of the Futuro houses back in the early 90s. Its on a hill in Covington, KY. Nice view that overlooks Cincy, OH. I heard that it had purchased from a home show in the 70s.
Check it on streetview

or map it


I had an idea after Katrina to build houses based on the Futuros. The house would rest on a cylindrical pedestal with a cable and a auto-retracting spool underneath. When flood waters rise, the house rises of the pedestal and floats. As the water recedes, it’s retracted back onto its base.

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So long as they have enough space between…I’m foreseeing the most horrific “tangled kite strings” or “box of misc. wires” scenario playing out here.

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Is there any legal reason why people can’t just start making these again? Or similar “New Future” styles like Bucky Fuller’s pre-geodesic Dymaxion House?

Copyrights, housing codes having changed, ?

1: I remember reading about how these had access panels in the floor where the plumbing/heating system and some storage was on the bottom, so the floor people walked on was flat. They still had insulation problems though.

/edit: doy, you can see the inside of one (and it’s floor) at 1:25 in

2: There was a semi-isolated geodesic dome house in my area that was abandoned for quite a few years, and became the attractant spot for teens to get drunk and do foolish things. Sadly it was torn down by the time I became a teen

I think expense mostly, but one of the big problems with the futuros was the inefficient use of space and insulation problems.

My favorite part of the vid is 3:35 in with the distorted voice, “There’s a cat!” (hurr hurr)

The big problem is that they just aren’t very good. Tough to build, hard to furnish, inefficient use of space. Other than looking cool they don’t have a lot going for them over a traditional mobile home.

This one (use your imagination as “new users can’t post pictures”, although I’ve been a user for years) has been a local fixture for about 40 years. It’s survived many hurricanes where neighboring houses have not. It’s still in regular use. Google “ufo house pensacola beach” for tons of links.

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