New Taipei: Wandering Around the UFO Village of Wanli
What happened here? Why it’s all abandoned? What a waste! These are the things we asked to our tour guide Carol when she brought us here. It is as if covered by a mystery on why these futuristic “UFO” houses in the Wanli district of Taiwan was left abandoned.
It is not far from Yehliu Geopark but compared to the former, it is not very much visited by tourists, hence it was almost void of people. It is so quiet, save for the sea waves, that makes the atmosphere eerie.
This semi-abandoned resort was built with Futuro pods. Futuro architecture flourished during the 1960s, showing the creativity with the futuristic touch that entices to buy one of the units. Primarily made of reinforced fiberglass plastic, its lightweight feature helps in maintaining a constant temperature in its interior.
We went inside and most of them have a living room, bedroom, dining room and kitchen crammed inside a 50-square meter house. Some of these houses even have a pool in their yard.
They are all prefabricated, and their base didn’t require deep excavation, making it suitable to be built on any topography. Unfortunately, the skyrocketing oil price and raw materials needed for its construction during the 1970s drove development costs to stratospheric levels.
Aside from Futuro houses, there are also Venturo houses, also made of prefabricated materials and designed by the same architect. Similar to the Futuro houses, it never caught public interest. There are more than ten Venturo houses built, and a few of them were occupied up to this day.
Witnessing such view, we were caught with mixed emotions – we’re disappointed to see it abandoned. But at the same time feeling lucky, for we had an opportunity to see it especially that we learned that it is doomed for demolition. It’s good that we had a glimpse on it: it is said to be Instagrammable, but behind it is a bitter past.
A Futuro house is a round, prefabricated house designed by Matti Suuronen, of which fewer than 100 were built during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The shape, reminiscent of a flying saucer, and the structure’s airplane hatch entrance has made the houses sought after by collectors. The Futuro is composed of fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic, polyester-polyurethane, and poly(methyl methacrylate), measuring 4 meters (13 feet) high and 8 meters (26 feet) in diameter.
More about Futuro House here
For in-depth reading about Wanli UFO Village, we recommend Josh Ellis Blog
PART OF OUR TAIWAN GETAWAY
- NORTH COAST: Yehliu Geopark | Pingxi Sky Lantern | Shifen Waterfalls | Golden Waterfalls | Jiufen Old Street | Wanli Abandon UFO Houses
- TAIPEI: Ximendeng | Taipei 101 | Maokong Gondola | Elephant Mountain | Taipei Peace Park | Taipei Zoo | Chiang Kai Shek Memorial | Shilin Night Market | The Red House
- TAICHUNG: Zhongshe Flower Farm | Xinshe Castle | Rainbow Village | Gaomei Wetland Park