In 1978, developers in Taiwan started building what became known as the “Sanzhi UFO Pod City.”
The “pods” were intended as a vacation resort property, and plans were made to market them to American military officers coming off East Asian postings. The project was inspired by Matti Suuronen’s “Futuro” housing — prefabricated houses that looked like UFOs.
The project seemed doomed from the start: a huge ceremonial dragon statue was destroyed so that construction vehicles could more easily access the site, and during construction there were numerous fatalities — including mysterious car accidents on an adjoining road, and at least one suicide on the site itself.
There are also rumors that some 20,000 skeletal remains were found on the site, supposedly the remains of 17th century Dutch soldiers.
By 1980, the developers were bankrupt and construction was shut down for good. The strange structures — now a ghost town — became a popular site for urban explorers.
In 1989, the president of a local beer house wanted to complete the project; architects and designers were hired, and a sum of 24 million US dollars was pledged to back it up.
After taking over the project, designers realized that the UFOs consisted of reinforced concrete construction covered by fiber-reinforced plastic. The risk of earthquake damage was too great, and the investment firms didn’t want to take the time or the money to start from scratch.
By the end of 1989, the whole project fell apart again.
Aside from urban explorers, curious tourists, photographers, and film crews, the Sanzhi UFO Pod City remained a ghost town for nearly 20 years.
Demolition began in 2008, despite petitions requesting at least one structure be saved for a museum.
By 2010, all remains of the Pod City were completely removed, and the site is currently being built as a resort destination and water park.