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.

MichaelWalch.com Launched!

Posted in General Architecture by michaelwalch on 24 May, 2010

My online portfolio is now live at MichaelWalch.com.  Please enjoy it and promote it!

GSAPP End of Year Show

Posted in General Architecture by michaelwalch on 13 May, 2010

Come to the GSAPP End of Year Show, opening this Saturday, May 15th, at 5:00pm.  What I’m involved in: Capacitive Architecture will have an installation on the 3rd floor mezzanine of Avery Hall.  My studio this semester has an awesome exhibit in Buell Hall, East Gallery.  I TA’d for Space Studio which is on the 4th floor of Avery.  The opening is great – busy, and with food and drinks.  You can see the show for the week following the opening.

Hope to see you there!

Final Project & Review Round-Up

Posted in Appitecture, General Architecture, Network City by michaelwalch on 13 May, 2010

My final portfolio is turned in to GSAPP.  I wasn’t able to post in the midst of the last rush to finish, so here is the recap.

Appitecture final review

(May 6)  I produced a working iPhone app!  In the last day or so leading up to the review it came together.  Based on a Wavefront OBJ importer for iPhone SDK that I found online, it loads 3d objects for viewing on the iPhone.  To make a simple augmented reality-type app, I populated a virtual space (a view in OpenGL) with a handful of objects, and overlaid it onto the iPhone camera view.  The last step was to get the compass heading and rotate the objects accordingly so that they stay in place.

Here’s a view of what it would look like:

The review was a standing jury interacting with each of our iPhone apps on working devices (the vast majority of us had working apps, and we had a bunch of iPhones and an iPad to demonstrate them).  The jury included Laura Kurgan and Sarah Williams of the GSAPP Spatial Information Design Lab, and Jeannie Kim and Craig Buckley of GSAPP.  While most of the app’s were map-based, we also had a QRCode-based website, and a team who bought a brain-wave reading headset and used it as input for a visualization in Processing.  Mine was the only AR-type app.  The discussion was really interesting – I called it the PktObjct app, a way to carry virtual objects and environments with you in your pocket – and the most interesting part was thinking through what objects you might want to take in your pocket.

Mark and Toru are interesting in continuing with anyone who wants to work on their apps – I may take them up on that!  I’m also planning on helping Chris Gee with his QRCode installation at the GSAPP End of Year Show.

Curtain Wall final review

(May 10)  Advanced Curtain Walls with Bob Heintges is an amazing class.  I designed and detailed a custom unitized curtain wall system.  The main features are a slumped, tinted (colored frit) IGU on the interior, and a monolithic outer light of glass to give the curtain wall a clean, minimal exterior and provide double-skin functionality.

Network City Final Project – Fiber-Finance Book

(May 11)  Through maps, my own writing, and even transcription of an NPR Planet Money podcast, I traced the NYSE from Wall Street to Weehawken, showing the fiber optic network of New York, the data centers it connects, and the latency in-between.  This really is the face of our economy.  In the research process, I signed up at Digital Realty Trust’s website to view their white papers – they emailed me back (from 111 8th Ave!) to follow-up, presumably to help me set up my data center – awesome!  Book available at LuLu.

Amazon Studio Final Review

Posted in Rates of Exchange: Amazon Studio by michaelwalch on 4 May, 2010

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I presented my final project yesterday from the Leslie Gill/Mike Jacobs Rates of Exchange: Amazon Studio at Columbia GSAPP.  The jury included Sunil Bald of Studio Sumo, David Benjamin of GSAPP & The Living (New York), and Keith Kaseman of KBAS.

I spent the semester analyzing deforestation trends and flows of lumber through the Amazon.  I realized that clear-cut logging was actually a precondition to further deforestation by other notorious forces: agriculture and cattle-ranching.  Also, the current approach of trying to police the forest is doomed to failure – 23 field stations, each with a small team of officers and 125 thousand square kilometers of territory is simply impossible.  Even if we believe that the field station can police the territory assigned to it, there are still huge holes in the coverage.  (See the first few slides mapping this.)

The proposal shifts from a reactionary/policing model to a pro-active/regulatory model.  As an architect, this has very specific geographic and spatial ramifications.  The roads through the Amazon are intense collectors of both people and forest products.  We can use them both to deliver the social services mandated by the government (such as health care and education) but notoriously lacking in these remote areas, as well as support a legitimate, sustainable logging industry.

The architectural challenge is to bring these disparate groups together.  Each of them offers resources to the other – information about the forest, medical services or education, experience in saving habitats, or security.  This is akin to a multicultural space – salad bowl and melting pot must both be facilitated because both are beneficial.  The architecture serves as a screening device which at times (on the ground floor) keeps the groups separate, with carefully orchestrated circulation and views, while also allowing for open dialogue and exchange (on the upper level).

The research and proposal was generally well-received.  Architecturally, it was pointed out that the sectional ideas were much less developed than the plan relationships.

David Benjamin brought up more social and political issues of the funding or organizational structure for the facility, and its relationship to the town of Novo Progresso.  There is a lot of hope in the environmental community that new logging concessions and other extractive uses could provide funding for this kind of project.  Additionally the facilities could be a conduit for investment by NGOs such as the World Wildlife Fund – environmental NGOs in Brazil often have the role of grass-roots enactment of government initiatives, and that could continue in this project.  The relationship to Novo Progresso is interesting – I had thought of the prototypical site as more rural than the site I chose to develop (just a few miles North of the town).  The workshop and small showroom I proposed was meant to work with the scrap materials of the lumber process, but clearly in rural environments there would be other very useful goods to bring in from the outside.  In other words, a 7-11 might be more useful than a craft shop.

Sunil Bald saw my project as an adaptation of the Brazilian highway road stop; a place for waiting, engaged in car-culture and consumption.  One of my goals was to take components of the amazing Brazilian architecture we saw on our trip – the outdoor rooms, attention to shading, rich textures applied to modernist structures.  I’m not much of a road-trip-er myself, but actually have a voyeuristic love of car culture, so I will definitely think about this in future projects.  Taking this advice the project could be more unapologetically a strip mall/truck stop, where people stop along a longer journey.  It could then open up to new modes of transportation along the roads – a Grayhound station, perhaps – alongside the lumber.

Lots of food for thought from the review.  Of course for now I have to get back to finishing up other classes…

P.S.  Thanks Carol for helping with the amazing Portuguese name: CeCim – Centro Comunitário de Certificação da Indústria Madeireira