The UFO Buildings of Sanzhi Pod City In Taiwan Created A Futuristic Ghost Town

Samantha Franco
Photo Credit: Siegfy / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Northern Taiwan was once going to be the home of a futuristic beach resort that consisted of UFO-inspired housing pods. The project began with confident support and backing, and the site even neared completion. Unfortunately, financial struggles, fatal accidents, and local lore caused the project to become abandoned, and for years the futuristic resort became a ghost town.

A futuristic pod beach resort

Landscape photo of Sanzhi
The UFO resort of Sanzhi. (Photo Credit: Noelas / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Abandoned building on Sanzhi
An abandoned, decaying pod structure at the UFO resort of Sanzhi. (Photo Credit: Noelas / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The purpose of the UFO buildings was to provide American soldiers and wealthy Taiwanese people futuristic and modern “homes away from home.” The modular designs came from Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, who was well known for his Futuro and Venturo homes in the Casa Finlandia series. The buildings themselves were prefabricated concrete structures with fiber-reinforced plastic coverings.

Construction by the Hung Kuo Group began in 1978 near Tamsui on the northern coast of Taiwan. With support from the Taiwan government, the project was fully underway and neared completion before the investment capital was depleted.

Construction was brought to a halt

Yellow UFO Sanzhi building structure
A direct view of the futuristic pod located at the Sanzhi resort. (Photo Credit: Siegfy / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
Shattered windows on the pod
Windows were shattered on the round pod housing structures at the Sanzhi beach resort in Taiwan. (Photo Credit: Noelas / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
A decaying pod
The panelling that covers the pods began to peel from the concrete structure at the abandoned Sanzhi resort. (Photo Credit: Noelas / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By 1980, construction of the pod resort came to a complete halt. Without any money, the project could not continue and the Hung Kuo Group ultimately went bankrupt. Additionally, a high number of fatalities occurred during construction that caused repeated delays.

The extended length of time it took for the project to progress, as well as the increasing number of fatalities, caused the government to pull their support from the Sanzhi resort, and local superstition surrounding the site only fueled the resort’s abandonment.

The president of a local beer house expressed interest in restarting construction on the UFO pods in 1989, but the project was abandoned once again within the year. It was found that the pods weren’t actually structurally sound and could not be made so. In the event of an earthquake, a common occurrence in the highly seismic area where they are situated, the pods would not be safe.

Is the land cursed?

A concrete structure at Sanzhi
The resort structures were nearly completed before they were ultimately abandoned. (Photo Credit: Siegfy / Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Broken windows on the Sanzhi pods
The windows were eventually shattered after the Sanzhi beach resort was abandoned. (Photo Credit: Noelas / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
A pod structure at Sanzhi
The vibrant colors of the Sanzhi UFO pods remained surprisingly bold after years of abandonment. (Photo Credit: Noelas / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

There were many stories in circulation that suggested that the site of the Sanzhi UFO resort was cursed. Some people believe that the spirits of those who lost their lives in the fatal construction accidents roamed the site after construction stopped. Supposedly, the Hung Kuo Group destroyed all records of construction and on-site accidents, so the ghosts who wander the site go unnamed.

Some think that the land is actually an ancient burial ground, while others believe that 20,000 skeletal remains of 17th-century Dutch soldiers were found on the site, adding to the lore. To add to the creepy factor, some locals are convinced that the destruction of a Chinese dragon statue that once stood at the entrance of the resort property, demolished to widen the road, led to the site being cursed and the subsequent fatal accidents.

The ghost town of the future is demolished

UFO pods at Sanzhi
Pods sat one atop the other in the futuristic design from the late 1970s. (Photo Credit: Siefgy / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
View from inside a Sanzhi UFO pod
The view from inside one of the pods located on the Sanzhi resort. The edges of the structure have decayed and rusted to create a jagged edge that adds to the eerie feeling of the abandoned Sanzhi resort. (Photo Credit: Siefgy / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

For a long time, about 30 years, the Sanzhi UFO resort sat abandoned. The government did not have rights to the land for decades, as it was still under the ownership of the Hung Kuo Group, and the site sat the same way it had been left. The area became a tourist hotspot, although the location was technically off-limits.

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Many people vied for the resort to become a museum, and a petition went around in the hopes that the structures would remain as they were in their half-finished state. Unfortunately, this effort was a failure, and the site was demolished in the 2010s. All that is left of the Sanzhi UFO resort are photos taken by curious tourists who wanted to catch a glimpse of the abandoned futuristic pod resort.