Futuro House Design: Considerations When Building a Flying Saucer House and 12 UFO Home Designs
Collin Fowler is an architect with extensive experience in both commercial and residential builds. He is the lead Building Product Advisor researcher on the latest and most innovative building products on the market.
The original UFO house--dubbed the “Futuro” upon its introduction in the late 1960’s--was designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen as a solution for an easy-to-erect ski chalet for the mountainous Scandinavian landscape.
Made from 16 prefabricated fiberglass-supported polyester plastic panels, the Futuro was transported into the mountains and assembled onsite using a steel frame that rested on four concrete support pillars. Accessible via a fold-up hatch style staircase, the Futuro was initially a sensation as its cozy, orbital design had onlookers dreaming of a future where everyone lived in a flying saucer.
Due to the oil crisis in the early 1970’s, mass production of the Futuro as a sustainable housing solution quickly dissipated, with the originals mainly serving as collector relics over the ensuing decades.
However, with the cost of housing skyrocketing in recent years and global citizens valuing sustainable, minimalist housing solutions, interest in the original Futuro concept has gained a rekindled following.
Today, “Futuro,” “UFO” or any other type of flying saucer home concept is loosely associated with any type of futuristic home structure that looks to break from the traditional suburban home mold and use materials in new and interesting ways--many of which result in homes that look like they would be in their element in a different galaxy.
For more on Futuro house design, keep reading for some important flying saucer home considerations and 12 innovative UFO home designs.
Considerations With Futuro House Design
Despite the undeniable statement you will make when rocking a UFO home, there are some special considerations you must make prior to putting your plans to acquire a Futuro into action. Some of the most prevalent include:
- Resale potential - the resale market for a Futuro house will be considerably more limited than it will be with a traditional structure. There will be a large percent of potential buyers that simply have no interest in living in a UFO. With that said, because it is a niche market, there will be certain buyers who are willing to pay a premium.
- Space needs - with the advent of tiny homes and nomadic living, more and more people are seeing the value in living in extremely cozy confines. This would definitely be the case in many Futuro designs, as the original Futuro fabricated in the late 1960’s had a floor area of roughly 500 square feet and was a mere 13 feet high.
- Furnishings - most UFO concepts feature far more rounded edges than traditional homes. Therefore, you may have to acquire more custom furniture to adequately furnish a flying saucer home.
- Accessibility - the classic Futuro is elevated off the ground and accessed via a folding staircase, similar to the way that passengers enter small aircraft directly from the tarmac. This may make Futuros a poor choice for people that want to age in place with their home.
- Utilities - due to their smaller size and innovative fabrication, most Futuros are inherently energy efficient. However, the more pressing concern may be actually acquiring energy. Is the home designed to be wired for electricity, and are there the necessary drainage pipes to connect to sewage or a septic system?
While these are real concerns that you should definitely consider prior to acquiring a UFO home, they should not serve as deterrents. Every type of home, from a small backwoods cottage to a sprawling oceanfront mansion, will come with its own pros and cons, so just look at these points as a necessary step in the due diligence process when shopping the Futuro market.
Futuro House Ideas
Now that you know a little bit about the background of Futuro home design and some of the associated considerations when in the market for UFO homes, let’s take a look at 12 interesting Futuro house design ideas around the world in 2023.
1. The Classic
Image source: Futuro House - Designing Buildings
Despite relatively few of the original Futuros remaining, the concept of the true “flying saucer” home remains a source of inspiration today. Composed of a series of prefabricated panels of fiberglass or HDPE, this home sits on a steel frame supported by four concrete pillars and accessed via an airplane-style staircase. There are numerous windows around the structure so you can be on the lookout for extraterrestrial activity.
2. Hobbit Inspired
Tolkien’s Middle-Earth saga has been sparking people’s imaginations for decades, with the mania making its way into the realm of Futuro design. Built with adobe bricks and topped with a living roof, this cozy little abode allows you to capture your slice of The Shire while maintaining a minimalist lifestyle.
3. Grain Silo
Image source: 900+ Beautiful Unique Homes ideas in 2022 | house design, architecture, house styles (pinterest.ph)
This tiny home brings upcycling to the forefront of Futuro design. Using the materials from an old grain silo, this rocket-looking house is mounted on a metal frame that makes it look ready for liftoff at any moment. The sky lights are a nice little touch to improve light flow through the space and serve as a lookout for asteroids.
4. Tile Centric
A color explosion will have onlookers thinking they are traveling through a constellation when they visit this California home. Fabricated from a mixture of Mexican tile, geometric glass, and Perry Hoffman ceramics, this “Vortex in the desert” tile home takes creativity in house design to the next level, providing an escape in which to find yourself.
5. Bird’s Nest
This structure is a combination of both Futuro UFO home design and a bird's nest. The luxury of this small circular home is well camouflage behind a series of branches. Elevated many feet in the air and accessed via ladder, this geodesic marvel gives visitors unprecedented views of the stunning forestry.
One of the trendier shipping container homes you will see, this quaint retreat provides open--albeit cozy--interior dimensions that are well lit by the full-spanning glass front. For the person who loves combining frugal with futuristic, this is definitely the spot to be.
7. Roll Out the Barrel
This concept seamlessly blends the worldwide craft beer phenomenon with futuristic living. Mounted on a wood pallet foundation, this keg serves as a cozy retreat for those looking to maximize the minimalist lifestyle. No pun intended.
The design features multiple cube-shaped buildings each with a domed roof and a circular base. The buildings are arranged in a cluster, with a central open space that appears to be a park or common area. The homes are raised off the ground, with the bottom of the structures visible surrounded by natural setting with trees and vegetation.
9. Concrete Dome
Image source: 26 Houses That Will Make You Think an Extraterrestrial Lives There | Family Handyman
This futuristic concept appears to be taken directly from the mind of an evil genius in a sy-fy movie. Featuring a series of arched doorways and latticed windows, this novel concept creates a striking visual from afar and can leave onlookers feeling like they have arrived at End Times.
10. To The Lighthouse
Image source: I Can’t Believe What These People Did With Grain Silos! | Silo house, Grain bin house, Grain silo (pinterest.ph)
Another tiny home fabricated from upcycled corn silos, this stunning design features a large surface area of windows to allow for natural light transmission. Surrounded by a metal rail porch, this home, when illuminated at night, gives the impression of a tower out at sea beckoning wayward ships--or perhaps UFOs.
11. Fairy Tale Focused
This home conjures up recollections of the old woman who lived in a shoe. Designed with a sprawling “foot” concept, the shoe-like design of this home is more spacious than some of the other UFO homes on this list. Nonetheless, the bold exterior colors and intriguing interior design make you believe that this home came straight from the mind of Dr. Seuss.
12. Subterranean Getaway
Making the most of the insulative properties of subterranean living, this home could be just as much a rabbit’s den as it is human dwelling. With an earthen top and relatively few visual markers, Siri might mistake your home address for The Twilight Zone.
Diversify Design With Futuro House Styles
Originally designed in the late 1960’s as a mobile ski chalet in the Scandinavian mountains, the concept of the flying saucer home has garnered renewed interest in recent years as homeowners aim to live a more sustainable, minimalist lifestyle. Although there are some important points to consider prior to acquiring a Futuro home, the 12 design ideas listed above demonstrate the diverse ways you can maximize materials to create a Futuro home of your dreams.
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