Wanli District, Taiwan

Wanli UFO Village

A rare pod of derelict midcentury Futuro and Venturo houses lines a semi-abandoned beachfront resort outside Taipei. 

Mystery surrounds this semi-abandoned holiday resort, which represents the last pod of Futuro—a.k.a “UFO”—houses in Taiwan, as well as what may be the largest pod of Venturo houses in the world.

The eerie streets of this abandoned beachside paradise still echo with the cries of surfers fighting against the strong coastal waves, from the village’s bygone days as a hub of midcentury futurism.

The Futuro houses, designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, resemble whimsical flying saucers descended to Earth. The pre-fabricated plastic oddities were designed originally as ski chalets light enough to be airlifted onto any terrain, although the ones at Wanli have substituted the adjustable UFO-style legs with tacky ’70s-era pebble-concrete staircases.

The UFO-shaped house close to the entrance of the park boasts a fully functioning airplane-style door and windows; inside the small circular space are a sitting area, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. (Other Futuros farther into the park have been less well-preserved, although one nearly hidden example seems to be in continuous occupation as part of a much larger building.)

This particular pod, comprising about six Futuros, is scattered throughout a large complex of Venturo Houses, another retrofuturistic pre-fab house model by the same architect. Unlike the Futuro, the Venturo never really took off in its own era, and hasn’t experienced the same resurgence of popular interest.

Reportedly less than 10 “true” Venturos exist in the world—but there are more than 10 in this park alone! That’s where the mystery comes in: These dwellings do not appear to have been sanctioned by Suuronen himself, and there doesn’t seem to be any publicly accessible information as to where they came from, or even exactly when they were built.

Know Before You Go

From Taipei City Hall Bus Station, take the 1815 bus to the 翡翠灣 stop (just before Yehliu Geopark.) Pass the still-occupied Howard Greenbay Resort Hotel and you'll see the pod on the right.

By car, it's about a 36 minute drive on the highway; for motorbikes, it's around an hour with two viable routes- out toward Keelung on mostly built-up roadways, or up through the outskirts of Yangmingshan. The Yangmingshan route is a tranquil and lush drive but can become treacherous in rain or fog, so make sure to check the weather before setting out.

The location is popular with photographers, so don't be surprised if you see another figure darting through the abandoned houses. Also, despite the initial appearance of complete dilapidation and abandonment, some parts of the neighborhood seem to still be occupied, so be respectful of the residents.

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