Terunobu Fujimori has been called the world’s only “surreal architect.” Obviously this is false, but there is a fantastical quality about his work that isn’t typical among architects, even when they’re trying for the new, strange or sci-fi. Fujimori is interesting because his fantasy has a down-to-earth, muted folktale-like quality without straying into gimmicks or kitsch. He uses wood and other simple, elemental materials that connect the architecture to the ground from which the materials come. He’s not a traditionalist, despite the fact that you can feel much of Japanese architectural history in his work. His references are both high and low, from traditional peasant houses and folk tales to the royal fortresses like those in Ran or Rashomon, but either way there tends to be a sense of the ancient. For more about him see also pushpull. Fujimori curated a celebrated exhibition in the Japanese pavilion at the 2006 Venice Biennale of Architecture that’s worth looking at here. Photos are from Flickr and designboom. Immediately above and below, Fujimori’s Coal House, sheathed in satiny black charred wood that is a traditional method of finishing and preserving wood but that also somehow suggests the fires that destroyed so many of Japan’s wooden castles and houses.
Above, Nemunoki Art Museum by Terunobu Fujimori and Yoshio Uchika. Below, his Leek House, with a lattice roof with chives growing from it.
The building below with the dead trunks growing through and the look of a medieval Japanese wooden fortress is the Akino Fuku Museum.
More information on Fujimori below.