Michael Walch

First Tea House Model

Posted in Digital Tea House Project by michaelwalch on 13 July, 2010

Here are photos of my first model study for the Digital Tea House project.  My major interests were in sitting space and controlling views and air and light penetration and registration through the space.  I started with a traditional 4.5-tatami mat square plan.  Slats wrapping around the exterior volume rotate at an even increment to provide direct horizontal views and ventilation, and opacity in between.  The floor would have a grooving pattern akin to zen rock gardens to define seating and circulation spaces and thresholds.  This would be reflected on the ceiling as a three-dimensional field of hanging strings, which would move in response to people entering and moving around the space as well as breezes which would flow through the upper reaches of the space.  The space registers presence and movement of the tea participants as well as the light and air.

Further investigations, coming soon:

Breaking the box/tatami module.  I’m definitely interested in having the form respond more to the seated tea ceremony and differentiating it better to the program.

Considering postures, a la Galen CranzThe Chair.  I honestly hate 90-degree seating and would love to think of a way that people are in some respects ‘bowing’ throughout the ceremony by providing a way to kneel or perch while enjoying the tea.

Providing for adjust-ability/field-modification.  The model I made can only accommodate one configuration and must be worked out in advance.  Smaller and more variable components would allow for both of these.

The air space below.  Brigette and Toru asked (typical GSAPP!) what happened if I turned my model on its side.  I’m curious too… maybe there’s a way to give a sense of floating, or at least activate the space below the traditional raised floor of the tea house, incorporating it into the space and ceremony.

More to come soon!


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