Terunobu Fujimori. Ein Stein Tea House and Other Architectures

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Frank Boehm with Leonhard Panzenböck.
4 September 2020 – 29 November 2020. 5 February 2021 – 11 April 2021.
Venue / Adress
Museum Insel Hombroich. Minkel 2, 41472 Neuss. Germany.

Terunobu Fujimori

Terunobu Fujimori is an Architect and Historian of Japanese architecture, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo, Research Professor of Kogakuin University, Managing Director of Edo-Tokyo Museum. Born in 1946 in Nagano, Japan, he received a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo in 1980.

Whilst writing his thesis in the 1970s Fujimori formed the Architecture Detectives. In this group he and his colleagues searched the city to find and photograph early Western-style buildings. Twelve years of work on this subject resulted in the publication of the book Adventures of an Architectural Detective: Tokyo (1986). In 1986 Fujimori formed the Roadway Observation Society with Genpei Akasegawa, Shinbo Minami, Joji Hayashi, Tetsuo Matsuda. The group records unusual but naturally occurring patterns in the city, for example the pattern left by a tree on a concrete wall or a rubbish bin that has been bent over to form a seat. Their studies have been compared to Venturi and Scott-Brown's Learning from Las Vegas.

In 1991, Fujimori began to practice architecture with his first work, the Jinchōkan Moriya Historical Museum (神長官守矢史料館 Jinchōkan Moriya Shiryōkan) in Chino, Nagano. Architectural influences for his work include Le Corbusier, Claude Nicolas Ledoux, Takamasa Yoshizaka, the Ise Shrine and Callanish Standing Stones. His architecture is characterised by eccentricity and humour, experimental use of natural materials and the subversion of traditional techniques. Although the Jinchōkan Moriya Historical Museum has been criticised for merely wrapping a concrete structure in natural materials, it was praised by architect Kengo Kuma as "generating fond feelings of familiarity in people who had never seen it before".

Well known in Japan as an author, cultural commentator and TV host he was relatively unknown in the West until he represented Japan in the 2006 Venice Biennale. His display in the Japanese pavilion showed houses sprouting leeks and dandelions. As the theme of the Biennale was the "city" Fujimori included a woven rice twine hut housing a slide presentation of the work of ROJO. In 2010 he contributed the Beetle's House to one of seven designs for the V&A's "1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces" exhibition.

His work with ROJO has left an impression on younger architects like Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kajima of Atelier Bow-Wow. Like Fujimori they surveyed the city for "no-good" architecture and published their findings in the book Made in Tokyo.

In 2018 he served as advisor of exhibition Japan in Architecture: Genealogies of Its Transformations curated by Director of Mori Art Museum Fumio Nanjo.



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