Terunobu Fujimori (1946-) is a Japanese architect and an architectural historian, known for his eccentric buildings using traditional techniques. As a historian, his main research theme is the early Western-style buildings. He also formed the Tokyo Architectural Detective Agency with his friend as a part of his study. They walked throughout the city, from the commercial arcades of the lower class to the residential areas of the higher class. As a result, Fujimori published his research results under the title Adventures of an Architectural Detective: Tokyo in 1986. Fujimori’s career as an architect started in 1991 with the Jinchokan Moriya Historical Museum in Nagano, Japan. Since then, he has created several unorthodox structures.
Here are some of the most fascinating creations of Terunobu Fujimori.
Mosaic Tile Museum in Tajimi, Gifu, Japan
Opened in 2016, the Mosaic Tile Museum has a modest but intriguing appearance inspired by clay quarries from where the main materials for making mosaic tiles are extracted. The overall design of the museum evokes associations with earth. Accordingly, there are also all sorts of ties embedded in the museum façade. The side part of the structure is covered with roof tiles and two rows of pine trees define the contours.
Takasugi-an ( “A Tea House Built Too High”) Teahouse in Chino, Nagano, Japan
The teahouse concept references the traditional tea masters of Japan who independently built their own tea houses. Likewise, Fujimori built this stilted teahouse for his own use. One should climb up a ladder to reach the house, and take off their shoes on their way. The interior of the teahouse is modest with white-plastered walls and a bamboo mat covering the floor.
Beetle’s House, Created for the “1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces” Exhibition of the Victoria and Albert Museum
The Beetle’s Hosue is a teahouse standing on top of chestnut stilts. Inspired by crafty beetles, the Beetle’s House has a charred pine wood exterior, naturally making the structure waterproof and pest-proof.
Flying Mud Boat
The Flying Mud Boat is a highly unconventional teahouse, suspended from tension cables. The structure’s bottom half made of mud plaster gives it the appearance of a nest made by a bird or insects. The Flying Mud Boat is a great example of how Fujimori incorporates ancient Japanese traditions and nature into his works.
La Collina Omihachiman, Shiga, Japan
Having an intriguing exterior, La Collina Omihachiman is actually the Taneya Club’s flagship store. Its grass-covered roof blends with the surrounding landscape. The interior of the structure also evokes nature. That is, the second floor has a charcoal-dotted ceiling that resembles ants, symbolizing a wish for people to get their way in nature as well as urban places, just like ants.
The Storkhouse was built with the Yaki sugi technique in which the surface of the timber is charred to prevent deterioration. By using this technique, Fujimori has also revived an almost forgotten Japanese building technique. Another interesting aspect of the Storkhouse is the fireplace where Fujimori uses little pieces of charcoal to give a smoke effect.