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Real Estate

Jenga House0


Most of us have played Jenga.  If you’re not familiar with it, the rules are quite simple.  You start with a tower made of wooden blocks.  On each turn, a player has to remove a block from somewhere in the tower and replace it on the top of the tower.  The first person to tip the tower loses.It’s easy to see how this game has become so popular;  it’s  pretty much a no-brainer—and subsequently adapts easily into a drinking game at parties! 

I love Jenga, but I suspect that Sou Fujimoto, head of  Sou Fujimoto Architects  in Japan, loves the game even more than I do.  He has designed and built this wooden house:


He calls the style “primitive future”—a combination of cave-like design with a futuristic feel.  I’m not sure how likely it is that this style of housing will catch on;  I’d like my future to be  a little more comfortable than this:


I guess you could spread carpets, hang pictures, and put some cushions around.  But still… it sort’a makes me think of how hippies would design a prison cell: in tune with nature, but still confining.

The design does makes sense, though.  The blocks are  made of 350mm square cedar.  One shape has multiple uses, creating the ceiling, floors, walls, countertops, and nooks.  It truly highlights the use of the lumber over any artificial building materials, merging form with function.


Sou Fujimoto’s book, Primitive Future explores his themes in greater detail.  Would you want to live here?  Even if none of the Jenga blocks slide out?   

Pictures via

by John Barker

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