Tokyo Teahouse

Digital Tea House was a design-build workshop during which students from Columbia University GSAPP and the University of Tokyo worked together to design and build three teahouses. The study of the ritual as well as 1:1 construction served as educational tools that challenged the students to draw parallels between a ritual and the act of building its enclosure. Eight students from the Avery Digital Fabrication Laboratory at Columbia, studying under Phillip Anzalone, joined fourteen students studying with the Kengo Kuma Lab at the University of Tokyo. Looking beyond the results that were achieved, it was particularly interesting to note that this global phenomenon of parametric design can also be interpreted through specific, cultural lenses, in the sense that the Japanese sensibility retains its unmistakably unique character even when it is filtered through the use of parametric software and digital fabrication. The success of the collaboration of the two universities points to potential evolutions in the changing field of architectural education where technology has forced a pedagogical shift in attitudes of teaching contractibility.