Michael Walch

Digital Tea House in January issue of Domus

Posted in Digital Tea House Project by michaelwalch on 16 February, 2011

More publication!  Thank you very much to Salvator-John Liotta and Kaon Ko for orchestrating this!

The Digital Tea House projects were featured in a two-page spread and article in the January issue of Domus.

You can read the article at Domus’ website, or of course the magazine.


Digital Tea House article on Domus Web

Posted in Digital Tea House Project by michaelwalch on 27 October, 2010

First, we at GSAPP are trying to get more creative with our project name.  I proposed calling it the Field House/Tea House in reference to the ways the programmatic attractors in Grasshopper work as weights within a field of influence, the focus within the project on the detailed treatment of various surfaces and deviations from regular components, as well as the more literal space and the way it is connected to the outdoors.  So, Field House/Tea House by GSAPP.

Now the continued exciting news: the tea house project has been written up in Domus online!  It includes lots of photos along individual descriptions of all three projects.  The text of the article is attributed to Kaon Ko (of Noiz Architects) and Salvator-John Liotta (Postdoc at University of Tokyo Department of Architecture) – both were integral to organizing the project.  Many thanks to them!  There are rumors of an article in an upcoming print issue of Domus… we’ll see!

Digital Tea House Exhibition

Posted in Digital Tea House Project by michaelwalch on 19 October, 2010

If you happen to be in Tokyo, come by the UTDA+GSAPP Digital Tea House exhibit at the Ozone Gallery in Shinjuku!  Models and photos of all three tea houses will be displayed, and two of them will be fully rebuilt in the gallery space!

See more of the GSAPP Digital Tea House project, including the exhibition portfolio, here.

GSAPP + UTDA Digital Tea House Published in Shinkenchiku Journal

Posted in Digital Tea House Project by michaelwalch on 1 October, 2010

The UTDA + GSAPP Digital Tea House project is the cover story of the October issue of Shinkenchiku (published in Japan, related to A+U).  The three projects have an eight-page article including lots of photos, screen shots from Rhino with Grasshopper, and drawings by the student teams.  Truly amazing coverage of the project – congratulations to everyone!  See the table of contents of the October issue of Shinkenchiku, or buy a copy at the Shinkenchiku online store.

Digital Tea House Final Review/Tea Ceremonies

Posted in Digital Tea House Project by michaelwalch on 4 September, 2010

These photos are from the final installation and tea ceremonies of the GSAPP/UTDA Digital Tea House project, held Aug 25, 2010 on the University of Tokyo campus.

See the entire set of photos on flickr.

Digital Tea House Process

Posted in Digital Tea House Project by michaelwalch on 4 September, 2010

These photos are from the charette part of the GSAPP/UTDA Digital Tea House project.  See the entire set of photos on flickr.

Digital Tea House Models Round-Up

Posted in Digital Tea House Project by michaelwalch on 29 July, 2010

Here are pretty much all the models that we’ve produced as a group for the Digital Tea House project.  We gathered them all together to get insight and criticism from two tea masters/practitioners.  They were very receptive to new ideas about the space for the ceremony, and of course endlessly helpful in helping us adapt our proposals to the rituals.

These models are by various individuals of the group (just to be clear that this is not solely my own work).

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Digital Tea House – Another Model

Posted in Digital Tea House Project by michaelwalch on 25 July, 2010

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Photos coming, but here is the idea and the laser-cutter files.  I’m interested in exploring an idea of ‘weaving,’ translated into a structural idea which could register on the interior surfaces of the tea house.  The model I’m working on (this post is in-progress in part because the laser cutter queue at school is out of control at the moment – so hopefully I’ll get my pieces back tomorrow) is a test of a simple diagonal-grid or waffle-rib type system that could be expanded, accordion-style, to create the tea house space, and deform linear elements of the floor (see the grooves cut into the top edges of the pieces in the laser cutter file) distorting the grid system of the tatami ‘rows’ in traditional tea houses to each deployment of the system.

I think a similar approach could work its way up and over through the walls and ceiling of the tea house, defining points of connection within the structure.  The test is to see the variability of the system, and the proportion of space that I get with two (of many possible) units.  Stay tuned for the complete model and more updates.

Digital Tea House Model 2.1 – Contours and Renders

Posted in Digital Tea House Project by michaelwalch on 19 July, 2010

Here are some Rhino ‘renderings’ of the sitting/posture ideas, and, to start to suggest a fabrication method, sectional contours:

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Digital Tea House Model 2 – Sitting

Posted in Digital Tea House Project by michaelwalch on 18 July, 2010

I don’t take sitting for granted.  Although I regularly use chairs for work, I haven’t owned one in five years or more.  In my San Francisco apartment, I had a fantastic bay window in front of which I laid some window-seat cushions, and I ate and worked at a coffee table.  It was great.  I love sitting on Swiss exercise balls.  Just not chairs, please.

As the next step in my design proposal for the Digital Tea House, I’m very interested in challenging conventional posture, or to put it another way, finding a medium between the chair-sitting West and the floor-sitting Japanese culture.  I’ve found online a succinct evolution of kneeling chairs page which I encourage everyone to check out, and which I’m intending to incorporate into the next phase of my design work.  Here are some initial sketches:

With regard to posture, all these designs hope to divide the weight of the body between the sit-bones in your butt with the shins, and put your spine in an obtuse angle (usually targeted at 135 degrees) from your upper legs.  I’d like to propose this as a re-interpretation of a bow or other gesture of respect – as a variation of kneeling, performed continuously during the tea ceremony.  An important variable which I intend to explore through a few iterations in Rhino is the relationship of the leg space to the floor height.  Using my proposal of slats from last week, the floor could potentially be quite porous and the legs could dangle through, giving the body a feeling of floating and preserving the tea ceremony on the floor surface.  Alternatively, the height of the leg space could be placed above the floor, which would introduce some form of table-like element.  This could be achieved either through a built-in undulation of the floor, where everyone essentially kneels into the table, or through something as simple as the Tibetan ‘Seiza bench’ where very small pieces of furniture are provided.

More to come…