The design of the Futuro House originates from Finland, a northern European country, which borders Sweden, Norway and Russia. It has historically been part of both Sweden and Russia at times in its history.
A beautiful but sparsely populated country, it has a unique geography of many small lakes and islands. forest covers about 86% of its surface area. It has warm summers and freezing snowy winters.
Repovesi National Park. Photo: M. Passinen
Architecturally speaking, it’s most famous son is probably Alvar Aalto, who practiced a uniquely Nordic take on Modernism. One could argue that this involved a gentler take on modernist ideals, one that took greater heed of the landscape around.
Paimio Sanatorium, Designed Alvo Aalto, completed 1932. © Gustaf Welin / Alvar Aalto Museum
Finnish architect Matti Suuronen was born in 1933 in Lammi. He graduated from the Finish Institute of Technology in 1961 with a Diploma in Architecture. Having worked at several practices whilst studying between 1955 and 1961 he established his own architectural bureau upon graduation.
Photo: Unknown / MFA
Building his practice through predominantly small to medium scale projects, knowledge gained working with fibreglass reinforced plastic in the design of a dome for a grain silo came in handy when a friend, Dr. Jaakko Hiidenkari, asked Suuronen to design him a ski cabin that would be quick to heat and easy to construct in difficult mountainside terrain.
Photo: Suuronen archive / MFA
Suuronen played with various ideas based around domes before finally settling on a perfect elliptical form. The contract for production with given to a Helsinki based company called Polykem, and the first prototype was built in early 1968 although only when the third one was manufactured was the name Futuro born.
Futuro purchased from Polykem by the Soviet youth travel agency Sputnik to serve as a ski cabin in Dombay Mountains. Photo: Jelle Brandt Corstius
Comprised of 16 segments that bolt together, it was designed to be constructed on site by hand in two days, or if desired delivered fully assembled by helicopter onto site. The only requirement for foundations were four concrete piers onto which the steel frame ‘egg cup’ would be placed to receive the ‘egg’ that is the Futuro.
The Futuro airlifted in Sweden on October 22, 1969 Photo: Lehtikuva/Pressens Bild
Interior specifications varied as each one could be purchased either as just a shell, or with various modular interior elements. The most commonly accepted interior specification is of an entrance hall, bathroom, kitchenette, living area with open fireplace and six seat-bed’s, and a bedroom/dressing room.
Original blueprint of an early Polykem produced Futuro House.