The other charismatic building here is Terunobu Fujimori's tea house (built in conjunction with London-based architect Takeshi Hayatsu), an eccentric, seemingly half-timbered house raised on thick wooden stakes. Fujimori is, in many ways, the diametric opposite of Nishizawa and his ethereal technical perfection. He never trained as an architect but is rather a historian, fascinated by the eccentricities of the vernacular, who believes the history of architecture reaches way beyond that designed by architects.
His houses, often raised in the trees or on columns, are very visibly handcrafted, irregular, slightly clumsy and almost childish. They often look wrong, taking wabi-sabi to an extreme, yet they are also seductively inviting with womblike, intimate interiors. Tiny windows and wonky lines make them look like manifestations of children's drawings and this little tea house, with its two egg-shaped windows like slightly sad eyes and its charred timbering, is no different. Deliberately cramped and difficult to access (via a step ladder), the intent is to make you think about space, about the tea ceremony and about how you engage with the building, which is imbued with a kind of spirit. It is an idea that reaches back to animist traditions. If it looks familiar, it is probably because Fujimori often worked with Studio Ghibli, the producers of the dreamlike, sometimes hyper-kitschy anime that pervades Japan's contemporary culture.
Film is a constant presence here. There are clips from Yasujiro Ozu's intimate domestic dramas, in which the house is as much a character as the protagonists. There is also the blue-neon glow of Sogo Ishii's psychotic (and very funny) post-punk The Crazy Family. The range of architectural expression is breathtaking. There are the calm hybrids of history and modernity such as Kiyoshi Seike's House for Professor K Saito (1952), Czech American émigré Antonin Raymond's own beautiful house (1951) and Makoto Masuzawa's Minimum House (1952), a tiny yet seemingly generous timber structure.
There are the prefab experiments of the 1970s, embodying the idea that a house could be manufactured like a car and there are the Brutalist-era concrete houses including Junzo Yoshimura's gorgeous Mountain Lodge at Karuizawa (1963) and Takamitsu Azuma's fiercely raw Tower House (1966) in which every internal surface is cast in heavily board-marked concrete.