When UFO Homes Were Almost Considered Ski Lodge Alternatives

Jumilla, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Jumilla, Flickr // CC BY 2.0 / Jumilla, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When looking for a place to stay during a ski vacation, most people might think of rustic lodges with decor accents inspired by the pioneer days. Finnish architect Matti Suuronen had a different era in mind when he designed the Futuro Home in the 1960s: quirky, futuristic structures that looked like the flying saucers pictured in cartoons. At least 64 of these UFOs for humans can be found scattered across the globe, confusing passersby and intriguing lovers of retrofuturism.

The project to build these Jetsons-esque ski chalets was commissioned by Dr. Jaakko Hiidenkari, who was looking for buildings that could be built in Finland and relocated to rocky, mountainous areas. Taking inspiration from the alien-obsessed culture of the time, Suuronen decided to make round homes with built-in seating and a hatch entrance at the bottom.

Steve Rainwater, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Despite the lack of corners or hard edges, each Futuro Home still has a bedroom, bathroom, fireplace, and living room. And although there's only one bedroom, each home can reasonably fit eight people, if the guests are willing to sleep in the living room. The shape allows for an electric heating system to heat the home from -20°F to 60°F in half an hour, according to Curbed. There's also a fireplace in the living room for extra warmth and ambience.

The small homes may have had some amenities and a space-age aesthetic, but the true selling point was how the design could be mass-produced quickly and cheaply; the first Futuro Home only cost between $12,000 and $14,000 to slap together, which made it an economically appealing alternative to ski lodges. Each structure is made up of 16 prefab pieces that can be transported and assembled on-site, similar to IKEA furniture. Raised legs—another distinct UFO feature—allow the buildings to stand up on all terrain.

Alexander Synaptic, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Unfortunately, the oil crisis of 1973 proved to be a formidable obstacle—it caused a major spike in the cost of plastic, which is a key ingredient in the homes. With an inflated price tag, the homes lost their appeal.

Futuro Home production might have ended a long time ago, but that doesn't mean people have forgotten about the charming lodging. TheFuturoHouse.com documents the locations of these homes. According to their website, at least 80 to 100 of these unusual buildings were created. Though some have been destroyed and others are still hidden, about 64 Futuro Homes are still around, and at least 15 of those are in the United States.

While this architectural wonder might not have taken off, you can see other attempts at capturing alien chic, like with these bauble homes in Holland.

Brent Moore, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

[h/t Curbed]