Three years ago a Port Alfred / Eastern Cape icon disappeared, only to reappear in London, UK 18 months later.
The “Futuro House” previously located at 22 High Street, Port Alfred, was bought by myself, UK artist Craig Barnes whilst on holiday visiting family in the area.
Now restored and named Futuro 22, I want to write a book about this amazing house’s history and is looking for locals to help him tell it’s story.
Having first seen the house when he was 3 years old, I became concerned in 2013 that workers knocking down an adjacent garage were going to sledgehammer the UFO house.
Stood on the same plot for for 40 years, it was showing its age and I wanted to ensure it wasn’t going to be destroyed. So I made contact with the then owner Art Du Randt to find out his intentions for the “spaceship”.
Du Randt wanted to keep the house but he acknowledged the house would need extensive work to made habitable again. It was so bad one set of tenants had taken the front door to the dump when they became unhinged.
I persuaded Du Randt to sell it, and then began the unexpected holiday task of taking the house to pieces over five long days, helped by local Herman Breetze.
Initially hoped to restore the deconstructed house in South Africa, the huge scale of the job required dawned on me, and so I shipped it back to the UK.
The restoration work was featured in the popular TV program George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. In the space of 18 months the house was restored and displayed to the public on a central London rooftop at Matt’s Gallery. The public can now visit it at the college Central Saint Martins, where I once studied.
I am now beginning to trace the full history and stories behind the “spaceship house” that lived in Port Alfred for 30+ years.
I hope to compile any memories, anecdotes, photos, videos or other archive material into a publication to celebrate Futuro 22 in advance of it’s 45th birthday.
I will be visiting South Africa again in the coming weeks, and wants to have coffee with anyone who knows about this local landmark! Contributors will receive a book when it is published and a credit.
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp at +447775532291.
I would gladly welcome any Kowie locals to pop in and say hi if they are in London anytime soon!