Terunobu Fujimori Flying Mud Boat

Flying Mud Boat, a tea house that seems to hover in mid-air, is another surreal creation by Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori (images by Kazumasa Onishi). The tiny home is suspended from tension cables strung between two wooden supports, and can only be accessed by ladder.

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Terunobu Fujimori Flying Mud Boat tea house

Flying Mud Boat consists of a bowl-shaped bottom half made of mud plaster and roof tiles with edges that curl up slightly, which come together to produce an effect of an object that might have grown from a tree or been created by insects.

Terunobu Fujimori Flying Mud Boat entrance
Terunobu Fujimori Flying Mud Boat interior wood stove

The handmade, imperfect qualities of the tea house give it a quirky character that fits right in with Fujimori’s previous structures, which include shacks on stilts, grass-roofed pyramid-shaped structures, and spherical tree houses.  Fujimori’s meticulously detailed architecture is inspired by ancient Japanese traditions and a seamless marriage of nature and human habitation.

While the size of this little hut makes it impractical to actually live in, the concept of suspended homes is an intriguing one, especially for locales that are susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis, like Japan. Structures that can sway and absorb shock have proven to survive the impact of a major quake much better than conventional buildings.

Terunobu Fujimori Flying Mud Boat hanging tree house
Terunobu Fujimori Flying Mud Boat plaster

About the architect, Terunobu Fujimori:

“This practice is run by a Japanese architect and architectural historian who was born in 1946. During the 1970s and 80s he made studies of the city about early Western buildings and unusual occurrences and did not turn to architecture until he was in his forties. His work is considered by many to be eccentric but is characterised by his use of natural materials.”

Terunobu Fujimori Flying Mud Boat view

“Although he is well known in Japan as a cultural commentator he was not widely known in the West until he represented Japan at the 2006 Venice Biennale. 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.”