Past Futures

Past Futures

Finish designer Matti Suuronen was a pioneer in the use of composites. He is perhaps best known for the Futuro house, the flying saucer-like fiberglass pod featured here previously.  The success of the Futuro prompted Suuronen and his company, Casa Finlandia, to offer another FRP modular house design, the Venturo House of 1971. Venturo is a bit more conventional in shape, perhaps, than Futuro, being basically rectangular, but it is equally advanced in its use of composite materials for the majority of the structure.

The walls were a FRP sandwich panel with a 2” polyurethane foam core. The floors were an insulated composite beam using marine grade plywood. It was made in seven major pieces, consisting essentially of two large, round-cornered half-house modules, and a number of flat panels that joined the two major pieces together. One module contained the bathroom, compact kitchen, and sauna. The flat pieces shipped inside the other, more open-space module.

The brochure described Venturo thus:

This is real vacation living–and you get it instantly, maintenance free because Venturo’s exteriors are in fibreglass, anodized aluminum and glass. The Venturo is a modular, easily transportable building system, having excellent insulation, low weight and designed for minimum assembly on site. The spacious living room with its window walls gives you indoor-outdoor living, creating for you a lifestyle of your own.

It is said that Venturo was not a commercial success, and production was discontinued fairly quickly, although there are several reports of them having been used as filling stations by BP.

Venturos and Futuros were apparently scooped up, at some point, as resort accommodations. The website has numerous pictures of abandoned resort parks in Taiwan where these 40+ year-old fiberglass structures are still standing, even as their wood, aluminum, and glass parts gradually deteriorate.