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Beetle's House

  • Object:

    Architectural model

  • Place of origin:

    Tokyo (made)

  • Date:

    2009 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Terunobu Fujimori (architect)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Charred cypress, lead, bamboo, paint, plastic

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Terinobu Fujimori

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case CUP, shelf 2

Using the landscape of the Museum as a test site, the V&A invited nineteen architects to submit proposals for structures that examine notions of refuge and retreat. Responding to specific locations in the Museum, the architects explored themes such as study, work, play, performance and contemplation. Seven of the proposals were then selected for construction at full-scale.

These projects promoted an attitude to architecture where to 'dwell' meant something more than simply to find shelter. Each building invited the participation of the viewer. These immersive environments reawakened people's ability to inhabit architectural space on both a physical and an emotional level.

Much of Terunobu Fujimori’s architecture aims to reconfigure our view of the natural landscape around us. Reaching this ‘floating’ teahouse via a ladder, visitors are rewarded with an elevated view of the surrounding galleries. The charred, blackened timber exterior, with its textured and tactile surface, represents an extreme of materiality. The process of burning the wood also acts to preserve the building material, thus increasing the structure’s lifespan.

Physical description

A model of a house with walls made of charred cypress and a sloping wooden roof covered with sheets of lead and a sculpted, cylindrical lead chimney. Windows have been painted on the front and back facades of the house using white paint, there are three green plastic trees along the ridge of the roof, and a bamboo ladder descends from the bottom of the house. The model of the house is suspended in a Perspex box using four strands of clear fishing wire attached to the roof.

Place of Origin

Tokyo (made)


2009 (made)


Terunobu Fujimori (architect)

Materials and Techniques

Charred cypress, lead, bamboo, paint, plastic


Height: 410 mm, Width: 250 mm, Depth: 240 mm

Descriptive line

Model designed by Terinobu Fujimori for the 'Beetle's House,' built for the '1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces' exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, charred cypress, lead, bamboo, paint and plastic, 2009

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Abraham Thomas, 1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces (London: V&A publications, 2010)


Cypress; Lead; Bamboo; Paint; Plastic; Material

Subjects depicted

Teahouse; Architectural model


Architecture; Designs


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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