Whether you consider him an eccentric, a genius or both, Terunobu Fujimori is certainly capable of producing some incredibly imaginative and show-stoppping buildings. The sixty-eight year old Japanese architect was relatively unknown in the West until his appearance in the 2006 Venice Biennale, but since then his whimsical but functional houses have been capturing hearts worldwide.
Terunobu’s most recent work is the Soft-Hard Zinc House, a two storey building coated entirely in a shiny metallic layer of padded aluminium. Intended as a textile museum, Zinc House certainly combines its purpose with its appearance.
Some of his earlier buildings seem like they hardly belong in the real world and have been pulled straight from the illustrations of Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle. Terunobu says that much of his practice is characterized by the endless struggle of mankind against the elements, and this is definitely visible in Flying Mud-Boat: a curious little house suspended from wooden pylons that is theoretically capable of enduring floods and earthquakes.
Frankly, whatever the purpose, all of Terunobu’s structures are charming, including his own home, which, although more traditionally shaped, is built from volcanic rock and covered in sprouting plants.
We say: keep designing Terunobu, the more houses on stilts for no reason, the better!