New Futuro House - Reviving the UFO Home of the Future
New Futuro House - Reviving the UFO Home of the Future
Bringing the groovy Futuro "UFO" House back after 40 years in hibernation. NewFuturoHouse kits will include the stand, shell & floor!
Bringing the groovy Futuro "UFO" House back after 40 years in hibernation. NewFuturoHouse kits will include the stand, shell & floor! Read more
About this project
In the late 1960's an architect named Matti Suuronen invented the Futuro House, a modular, prefabricated home marketed as a ski chalet that could be built anywhere using an easy to assemble kit. The houses also just happened to look like UFO's.
During the time of production, Futuros popped up all over Europe and were even sold in the US and Canada. Sadly, due to the rising price of plastics at the time, the production of these groovy houses stopped.
There are some Futuros in use, like this one:
Recently in the US, a Futuro Renaissance has been happening. Many websites, facebook pages, a couple of books, Yahoo groups and any other method that people can get together to talk about Futuros have popped up. One person in Europe even did her college thesis about the preservation and restoration needs of a Futuro!
It seems like every new image of Futuros that appears from someone's old stash is collected, hoarded and poured over. The exact location of every known Futoro is carefully tracked an monitored. The moment that one, or even the shell of one goes up for sale, numerous bidders and wannabe Futoro owners frenzy for days, trying to get to own their own home of the future.
Some Futuros are in disrepair, but are still tracked and sought (and most are not for sale!).
I did some research on the project, and discovered that he US patent for Futuros is now expired, the company that manufactured and sold them is long gone with no forwarding address. It is fair game to use the patented architecture to build them again. Here is a link to the patent: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=D216,542.PN.&OS=PN/D216,542&RS=PN/D216,542.
Our family wants a kit and we think yours might, too!
This project's goals are to:
• Reverse engineer the Futuro to get exacting specifications using the patent, images from existing futuros, and on-site visits if needed for the purpose of obtaining specific blueprints that can be used to make molds.
• Ensure that the New Futuro design is compatible with the strictest US homebuilding standards, including those that are for load bearing, such as Colorado, so that he home kits will be able to be delivered anywhere in the US.
• Receive a thorough engineering and materials review from current day architects and engineers, ensuring that the most durable, maintainable, and cost-efficient materials available today are being used, without reducing the retro look of the original Futuro house.
• Make usable blueprints available , for enthusiasts to take to the manufacturer of their choice, frame, or just collect.
• Build molds designed for repeated manufacture based on the updated specifications.
• Identify parts for connection and assembly, waterproofing, windows and stand; secure manufacturers to build and deliver to specification.
• Design assembly instructions which will be used to build the prototype, ensuring that the assembly instructions are usable, complete, and easy to understand.
•Build a complete unfurnished proof-of-concept / prototype including the stand, shell components, and floor kit.
• Make the prototype available for review and feedback to 500 Level Kickstarter supporters, with limited time to incorporate changes that are reasonable and that do not impact the overall vision of the original Futuro.
In a nutshell, the vision is to get the Futuro prototype and molds ready to go!
Risks and challenges
I am a certified Product Manager by the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM), and a Project Management Institute (PMI) certified Project Management Professional (PMP). As a big part of my long-time profession, I identify risks, impact, probability of occurrence and proposed, proactive mitigations. Additionally, I have vast experience in creating project schedules, resource contracting, product management, and cost estimation.
Some of the risks I've identified include:
Risk: Design won't exactly match the Vintage US Futuro.
Mitigation: While we will be referring to detailed drawings, numerous photographs, maybe even make a few site visits; and will solicit feedback from current Futuro owners, and open the Prototype Party as an opportunity to correct errors, we may actually make some slight intentional changes to allow for things that Mr. Suuronen didn't incorporate (think cabling for internet). Very slight changes, though...
Risk: Production and shipping costs could be very high. Costs will be unknown until further design meetings with architects, engineers and manufacturer.
Mitigation: I have performed some preliminary research on the price enthusiasts are willing to pay for their own NewFuturoHouse kit on some of the online forums dedicated to the Futuro. Surprisingly, many of my respondents emailed with a willingness to pay up to $75,000 for a kit. While I hope the manufacture of the kits costs much less, I'm comforted by knowing there's such enthusiasm and willingness to support the project!
Risk: Building code or restrictions that are inconsistent across the US, making it difficult to manufacture one set of molds that will work across the country.
Mitigation: Using certified, trained engineers who will research the modular building codes and incorporate the most stringent standard so that the NewFuturoHouse will be usable in all of the continental US without remediation.
Risk: Building materials could be cost prohibitive.
Mitigation: Engineers will do a materials analysis, and make recommendations with pros/cons for each. One of the requirements will be cost effectiveness, weighted less heavily though, than strengh, durability and maintainability.
Risk: Design expenses could be cost prohibitive.
Mitigation: I am interviewing several companies that have certified engineers and architects and geting cost quotes on the engineering, mold, and prototype.
Risk: Availability of manufacturing plants could be limited.
Mitigation: The materials alternatives analysis will give us options for using other methods and manufacturing processes. From the research I've conducted, it appears that there are manufacturing companies in all the states who make items from the original materials (fiberglass), such as boats, etc., so this does not appear to be a highly probably risk at this time.
Risk: Limited interest in kit purchase.
Mitigation: Kits will be built after full payment is received. No warehousing or stock will be involved.
Many thanks to Simon at TheFuturoHouse.com for generously allowing us to use his photos.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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