Sold spaceship to take off on journey south

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 12:17 26/05/2014
spaceship house
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ Zoom
OUT OF SITE: Builders dismantle the fibreglass spaceship house in Fifeshire Cres to be carted away into storage.
spaceship house
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ
PREPARING FOR LAUNCH: Nelson’s spaceship home is on the move.

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Nelson's Port Hills are about to lose their distinctive alien landmark. The "spaceship home" which has been a fixture above the city's waterfront since the 1970s has been sold at auction and will be going back to its original launching site in Christchurch.

Bidding for the space pod failed to ignite during an auction last week for the capsule and the land it sits on above the waterfront on Fifeshire Cres. But at a second auction on Friday for the spacecraft house on its own, bidding was supercharged.

At the earlier auction, bidding opened at $450,000 for the pod and site with a rateable value of $610,000 - although the land value made up $600,000 of that.

It was passed in at $595,000.

Agent and auctioneer Jeremy Matthews said the spaceship finally sold to a Christchurch purchaser for $75,000. The winner was among the 10 bidders in the race, and one of five phone bidders.

"We had five bidders in the room and found ourselves in the unusual situation of another five on the phone, and all were fired up.

"I almost ran out of colleagues to help with the phones."

Matthews said two people were bidding from Christchurch, two from Auckland and another bid while on the road between Christchurch and Dunedin.

He said the spirited bidding started at $49,000 and went up to $75,000 at times in $1000 leaps.

Matthews declined to reveal who had bought it, other than to say it was someone associated with an "internationally famous New Zealander", who planned to use it for personal accommodation. He added it would be well looked after and the new owner was pleased to be able to bring it back to Christchurch.

The Scandinavian-designed Futuro House fibreglass spaceship is designed to be dismantled and "carried away in a box". The concept was created in 1968 by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, initially for use as a ski-cabin or holiday home. Because it was designed for a mountain setting, the structure needed to be easy to transport to the site, low maintenance and shed snow easily.

The Futuro home is one of only 65 in the world. It was made under licence in New Zealand and used as a bank in the athletes' village at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch. It arrived in Nelson soon after.

Matthews said the sale price was fairly typical of other good-quality Futuro homes, although one in Raglan which had been "left to sit" sold recently for $35,000 years after the owner had paid $85,000 for it.

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- The Nelson Mail

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