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$794 pledged of $45,237 goal
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By Susan O'Hara
$794 pledged of $45,237 goal
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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:

Photo used with permission of Woody McKay
Photo used with permission of Woody McKay

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!).

Photo courtesy of Woody McKay.
Photo courtesy of Woody McKay.

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!

Drawings from the original patent submission.
Drawings from the original patent submission.

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.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    For one dollar you will receive an exclusive digital image of some part of the NewFuturoHouse project, most likely in the molding or manufacturing stages. As much as the pictures of the Futuro House project are coveted, so will images of the renaissance of NewFuturoHouse be coveted. Be the first to get them!

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    Pledge $7 or more About $7

    For just a few more dollars, @okiesue73 (a real person!) will follow you on twitter for one year. You can bombard her with 140 character requests and hopefully talk about the status of your NewFuturoHouse all year long.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    For ten dollars you'll have an all-access pass to my NewFuturoHouse blog, including up to date images and status of work as it progreses. This will be a lot more than the updates that will be posted via Kickstarter. Don't miss out!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    For $25, you will receive two vinyl stickers, large enough for car windows or bumpers, with an artist's rendition of the NewFuturoHouse, based on the new blueprints and design. You get two so you can use one and add one to your Futuro collection. These will only be available to Kickstarter contributors.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    For $50, you will receive a frameable print of the NewFuturoHouse front view, based off of the actual renaissance blueprints. This is going to be highly collectible, and they will be numbered with a limited one-time release. These will only be available to Kickstarter supporters of this campaign. Don't let anyone else have a more complete Futuro collection!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Our $100 club donors will be given a password protected link to a survey, and the opportunity to provide feedback about new features you'd like to see in the NewFuturoHouse, along with the chance to ask for what will be provided in the next round of design and development. Do you want an LED-window kit, a solar HVAC system, or a different kind of furniture created? This is your opportunity to get things created for the NewFuturoHouse that will make using it more fun.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    This is the one you've been waiting for! At the $250 level you will receive a miniature NewFuturoHouse for your desk or shelf. These will be 3-D printed in your choice of several colors (to be determined). Again, this one is only available via this Kickstarter campaign and they will be limited. These are going to be AWESOME!!!!!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The $500 level marks something unique. You will be invited to the Prototype Party in OKC to come and be a part of the prototype assembly (liability waiver will be required). While the travel expense will be on your own, you will be included in a very exclusive group to be a part of history in the making!

    Light refreshments will be served during the installation, and after the prototype is assembled, we will have a focus group discussion with your opinions being considered as we make the final design approvals. Every donor who attends the PP will receive one set of the best blueprints we have to use as you like.

    What a HUGE opportunity to be a part of something so cool!!! This will be well documented and publicized, with media from many different areas invited to witness the great Prototype Party. Don't miss out!!!

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    Pledge $4,999 or more About $4,999

    For $4,999, we will paint the non-obscene wording of your choice in the biggest font possible, atop our assembled prototype NewFuturoHouse and leave it there for at least one month. The hope is that you will find it on satellite imagery or on googlemaps. We will send you an email with your 'paint dates' and the exact GPS coordinates, and we will publish up to 3 satellite images you find with your wording on our NewFuturoHouse.com website. Heck, we'll even include a paragraph about why you chose what you chose, and a link to your site (wording is at our discretion - this is a family show). But hey, wouldn't this be a cool way to ask someone to marry you???

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Funding period

- (42 days)