The Visitor

A Futuro House, looking like a flying saucer on the roof of a building

If you are familiar with the roof tops around Kings Cross, London, you may have noticed the recent arrival of a visitor. In September 2015 a light blue flying saucer appeared on the roof of Central Saint Martins, just to the North of Kings Cross. This mysterious craft is actually a “Futuro House”, designed by the Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in the 1960s. There were less than a hundred built, and only 57 now survive – most in the USA, South Africa and Australia, a couple in Antartica, and just this one in the UK.

This Futuro house, dubbed “Futuro 22” is owned by artist Craig Barnes. He first saw a Futuro as a child in South Africa and he dreamed of owning one. In 2013 an unexpected chain of events led to Barnes buying that specific Futuro that had first inspired him. It was shipped to the UK and was stored in a former World War II bomb factory before being restored and installed in an art gallery in Mile End for the “Revolver II” exhibition. Nine months later it was rebuilt at Kings Cross for a year’s visit at the University of the Arts London college.

That visit has been extended until the Summer of 2017 and once a month Craig Barnes gives a guided tour – which always quickly sell out. Visit the “Futuro 22” website for a look at the amazing 1960s sci-fi interior and to book the tour. It is also worth visiting the Futuro House website which has details and photos of nearly all the remaining Futuro Houses.

There is also an excellent Channel 4 documentary about the restoration of Futuro 22 and its installation at Mile End available online.