The Greek Flying Saucer

The Greek Flying Saucer

In 2009, the Greek group Errands presented a sort of found object at the 2nd Athens Biennial.  (Errands describes themselfves as  a group of architects, artists, and sociologists.)  It was a fiberglass “flying saucer” type house, designed and manufactured by Greek architect Nikolaos Xasteros. It was found in a state of disrepair, abandoned among trees in the seaside area of Loutraki. Errands cleaned out the old mattresses, etc, disassembled the shell into 7 pieces, and brought to the seaside in Faliro, where it was reassembled and “presented” for the Biennial.

According to Errands’ blog, the Xasteros House was patented the house in 1968 in the name of the ALTA company (with whom he was in partnership), and in his own name in a later patent filing in 1973. The concept was a lightweight, self-contained unit that could be set on a small plot almost anywhere. It would enable autonomous living, away from the cities.

He garnered interest from prospective buyers, and set up his own manufacturing plant in Komotini in 1978. On the day he first exhibited the new house, a law was passed in Greece requiring a minimum lot of 4000 m2 for erection of a prefabricated house. This effectively killed Xasteros’ business. The factory produced only 10 units.

This makes the Xasteros house considerably more rare than the Suuronen Futuro House, of which about 100 are known to survive.

The two bear a significant physical resemblance. They both have a distinctive flying saucer look in overall shape. Futuro’s array of little oval windows is much more spaceship-reminiscent than the picture window in Xasteros’ living module.

It is hard to tell, from the available photos of the interior, if the Xasteros House was as extensively designed as the Futuro. In some shots, there appears to be nothing but the outer shell, others seems to show an interior wall and a built-in bench seat of some sort. The  photos  do not suggest anything like Futuro’s molded furniture.

Early this year, a Xasteros House was offered on Ebay for about €13,300.  It appears to be a different one than the house exhibited in Faliro.  In the photos from the eBay listing, the translucency of the shell can be seen clearly.

Both houses look like that have been severely neglected for decades.  The state of the interior walls in Errand’s unit, with the peeling wallpaper, give some indication of the degree of exposure the house was subjected to.  The fiberglass shell, al;though very dirty, seems utterly unaffected by time or the elements.

Images via Errands and eBay.com, as noted.