Future Village of Formosa

Travelers and photographers around the world are constantly looking for that unique experience. That unique photo of that unique place that receives the respect and admiration of friends and magazine editors. With the ever-expanding tourism industry, these places are increasingly difficult to find every day, especially if you are not friends with a local. Traveling to unknown places, it is easy to get transported to the typical tourist places and charge generously for it. Getting those gems intact out of the way takes research and effort. Most of the time, due to these two requirements, these places are still so beautiful in the first place; and make it that much more rewarding for those who actually get there.

As Taiwan is an undiscovered gem in East Asia, it is full of these unexplored areas, making it a brilliant destination for those seeking a unique experience. This weekend I rediscovered one of these destinations in which I have labeled the ‘Future Village of Formosa’. Below is its colorful history, I hope you enjoy it.


The 1970s were an interesting time for the entire world. New fashion trends, musical styles, and lifestyle perspectives were emerging like never before. People not only had ideals now, but also the money to buy them. Trends were also emerging in the architectural design industry, attempting to satisfy the thirst of those looking for a unique home that would match their new unique views on life. In an era when it was believed that robots and machines would eventually cure all the inconveniences of the humanities, a Finnish architect Matti Suuronen designed a new house that he christened ‘Future’.

This new home was designed to eventually be the world standard for all homes, to allow for travel and living around the world for everyone. Constructed of fiberglass reinforced, this 16-piece ‘pod’ or ‘flying saucer’ shaped home was designed for easy portability and to be sustainable in any environment. The basic idea was to buy a house when you live on the beach in Hawaii, and when you want a change of pace and move to the Swiss Alps to live in a ski town, you just blow up your house piece by piece to be rebuilt. All that was needed were four concrete pillars as a foundation, and the house could be placed on top of them, allowing it to be placed almost anywhere.

In addition to the unique transportable layout of the house, the interior was also designed with maximum comfort in mind. The living room had a series of reclining chairs, on which people could comfortably sit or even pull down and out to make beds for guests. These chairs were along the exterior wall that faced the center of the house, where the kitchen and bar area were located. This would have made a great living and dining area for conversation, all in one compact space. Along the rear of the house, the master bedroom and bathroom were kept hidden with privacy and intimacy. An interesting environmental draw for this home was that, using the electric heating system, it could go from -20 degrees to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in just 30 minutes. Incredibly sustainable.

Sadly, fewer than 100 of these homes were built worldwide, which is commonly attributed to the Exxon Mobile crisis and the dramatic rise in oil prices. The domino effect of the increase made the plastics for these houses more expensive to produce, and naturally people began to lose interest. Matti Suuronen’s dream of a futuristic world with flying saucer houses whizzing through the air under helicopters died from his design in the 1980s.

Business enterprise

However, before the fate of the Future took its course, a skilled Taiwanese businessman shared Matti Suuronen’s dream and took action with him.

Mr. Su Ming was a Taiwanese businessman with a vibrant past in the military during his early years. One of his early ventures was a now popular brand of sarsaparilla soda that is sold throughout Taiwan. In its early days, it wasn’t very popular with local taste buds and got off to a slow start. However, with the American establishment of military bases in Taiwan as an outpost for Greater East Asia, Western tastes for culture and food began to develop in the country. Along with this, Mr. Su Mings’ carbonated beverage sales skyrocketed and he established a new factory, becoming a wealthy new member of high society.

With his new money, Mr. Su Ming was eager to invest and decided to target a larger-scale market of Taiwanese citizens buying vacation homes. He decided that water sports and beach life were the attractions he needed to create a beachside community for upper-class Taiwanese. With this in mind, he chose a beautiful beachfront location along the northeast coast of Taiwan, made a real estate investment, and began building a futuristic housing community filled with Futuro design homes as well as shaped beach villas. square. Their market was for the super-rich in Taiwan, as originally these beach villas were priced at around what is now equivalent to $ 94,000 US dollars.

Informed by the local property manager, I was told that eventually the investors lost interest and the project ran out of money. He explained that many of the investors could afford to go abroad to other exotic locations and private villas, leaving little desire for a simple vacation at a beach property.

In addition, in an interview with a local dance instructor at the neighboring spa and hotel, I was informed that the climatic conditions in the area were extreme throughout the year; Summers are unbearably hot and winters bring unbearably strong winds and cold waters onto the beach. He explained that it was not an ideal location for vacation homes and that the neighborhood had been empty for more than 20 to 30 years.

The result of the present day is the ruins of a once futuristic, deserted, and haunting beachside villa neighborhood, giving us a small window into what was once a successful businessman’s dream.

Shooting experience

Transportation (travel)

Trying to capture the morning magic hour for the shoot, I left around 5:00 am to catch the first bus to the now abandoned spa. This was only possible because Taipei’s transportation system is rugged, making life easier for those who choose to avoid the danger of riding scooters in busy traffic. Meandering through the mountains and watching as the landscape changed from high-rise apartments to green jungle-covered slopes and temples, I couldn’t help but begin to appreciate how easy it was to get out of trouble in Taiwan. In just an hour, he was already on shore. DSLR and tripod in hand, I got off the coach and saw the first Futuro.


The morning was cloudy, as it often is on the shores of Taiwan, which brought a whole new feeling to the stage. With wavy gray clouds, scattered sunlight, and the Future house closing in, I felt like I was literally about to be kidnapped. The eerie weather and abandoned structures really worked well together, giving me the feeling that I had to go in, shoot, and get out.

As I wandered the lined streets of the planned community, the contrasts of color and random objects in the ruins presented an astonishing window into the past. All Futuro-style homes were dull orange or faded pale yellow, indicating their age and hard past life. There were rust stains running down the sides of each house that resembled bleeding scars caused by years and years of the harsh environment that plagued them. The steel poles of the canopy of each of the square houses on the front porch had been smashed by the intense winds, like pipe cleaners bent by a child.

Most of the overgrown houses had been clearly deserted for a long time. Surprisingly though, there were still some that had rusty padlocks on the doors, televisions inside, and they appeared to still be inhabited. This gave me the feeling that I was in some kind of an abandoned city horror movie and I continually checked the shadows to make sure there was nothing behind me that would put an ax in my back.

I ventured to some of the houses that didn’t have barricades with wooden posts and barbed wire locks to get a better view. I found rooms with Japanese-influenced tatami mats, single beds with sheets still on them, and even toothbrushes along with a bottle of head and shoulder shampoo in one bathroom.

Kitchens with stoves, refrigerators, and air conditioning units still hanging on the wall screamed for the modernity that the whole project was aimed at back then. What I did find quite attractive was that in front of the square beachfront villas, and under many of the Futuro-designed houses, there were tables and seating along with grills and gardens. It was like what I considered a camp, where families could gather and cook outside to enjoy nature and the company of their loved ones. An interesting contrast of feelings and mood for such a place.

Overall, the energy was a strange mix of extreme chills countered by the feeling that it might actually have been a very nice community to live in if it had been successful. The interior design of the villas, coupled with the uniqueness of the community, could have been a very pleasant spot for a camping getaway just a short drive from the capital.

Lessons and enlightenment

The beachside villas established by Mr. Su Ming provide a unique and interesting view of Taiwan’s past and global trends in general. The place is an opportunity not to be missed for any traveler or photographer coming to Taiwan in search of a unique sight. Thankfully, he’s been able to avoid the bulldozer so far, unlike his unfortunate west coast brother, Pod Houses in SanZhi, but it’s impossible to know when his day will finally be counted.

Just a short time outside of Taipei, it’s also a good reminder of how amazing Taiwan is as a travel destination. Being one of the undiscovered gems of the east, Taiwan’s landscape and culture remain rich and unique, yet the modernity of the country makes it all very accessible. The Future Village of Taiwan, undiscovered, is an amazing travel experience and I highly recommend it as a day trip for those who are interested in a place that is off the beaten path, has a unique and rich history, and everything is very photogenic. package.