Futuro Homes: the future that never was

It still kinda bums me out that we’re living in a future that does not involve us living in Futuro houses. I grew up down the road from one on the corner of Karel Avenue/Leach Highway in Willetton in Western Australia and as a kid I was convinced it was the home of an extraterritorial tourist. My parents fuelled my imagination on drives past the “spaceship,” regaling me with tales of a little alien who was living comfortably within its walls. I am certain that my love of all things retro began with my childhood fascination with this unlikely suburban dwelling.

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The Karel Avenue/Leach Highway Futuro (Photo by Brett Holland via Lost Perth)

Futuro houses had their detractors when they were first built in the late 1960s/early ’70s. Many people considered the homes — which were designed by the Finnish architect Matti Suuronen and intended as mobile homes and holiday houses– unpleasant to look at and at odds with their surroundings.

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Belgian promotional brochure, late 1960s (via futurohouse.com)

But I (and many others who grew up in Willetton and its surrounds) always thought the Karel Avenue/Leach Highway Futuro home was beautiful. It stood out from the uniform housing developments, the mundanity of suburban surrounds, and allowed us to dream. To the Spielbergian child of the ’80s, this addition to the neighbourhood was such a delight, and to this day the memory of the “spaceship” brings with it a palpable sense of joyous nostalgia to those who were lucky to have seen it. Sadly, in 1996 the Futuro home was sold off, never to return. 

I still think of the Karel Ave. spaceship from time to time, and it always makes me smile. I now live in Melbourne and have recently learnt that there is an old Futuro* home a little north of where I live. Methinks I’ll have to give it a visit real soon, I owe it to my past and future self.

*”Old Futuro”? An oxymoron if there ever was one!

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