The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is currently showing "1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces," an exhibition that involves seven built structures — including the incredible "Beetle's House" (shown above) by Japanese architect and historian Terunobu Fujimori. He's an interesting guy whose work is compact and rich in content.
Terunobu Fujimori got his start as a professor at the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo, where he still works today. Although he taught architectural history, he didn't start designing buildings until the age of 44.
He's interested in "architecture before civilization," a time when people were more exposed to the elements. (Stonehenge is one of his favorite places to visit.) He's especially well known for using charred wood, a material that draws attention to "the spiritual nature of wood," as V&A curator Abraham Thomas describes it. The dark finish on the Beetle's House is achieved by burning the outer layers of the wood, a process that naturally pest-proofs and waterproofs the structure.
Other buildings include treehouses, tea houses, and all kinds of structures on stilts — most of them located in his native Japan. For a broader profile of the architect and his work, Dwell has a great interview and slideshow online.
Photos: Screenshots from Terunobu Fujimori, Tokyo, Japan - Beetle's House from Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo (1-2), Flickr member Rachel Harmon / Japanese Craft Construction used under Creative Commons license (3), Flickr member Bjorn Lundquist / Japanese Craft Construction used under Creative Commons license (4), Flickr member Bjorn Lundquist / Japanese Craft Construction used under Creative Commons license (5)