Tangential Fabrications

or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Computer



Jan '12 - Aug '13

  • SummerBuild: Wrap-up

    Aaron Willette
    Aug 20, '13 1:01 PM EST

    The inaugural SummerBuild workshop has come to an end. Over the course of 13 days a group of 4 students got a crash-course in Rhino/Grasshopper; evaluated a demanding site; crafted a response to said site with their newly acquired computer skills; and prototyped, fabricated, and installed that response with a very basic set of tools. The physical artifact says volumes about the success of the workshop, so I'll leave the talking to one of the photos taken on opening night:

    I sat down this evening with the intent of writing something about the workshop and surprisingly find myself at a loss for words. However, looking through these images and thinking back about the workshop as a whole, I'm overwhelmed with a feeling of pride. Not regarding myself and collaborators for pulling off the workshop (although we are admittedly pretty happy about that), but rather for what the students were able to achieve in such a short amount of time. I've worked on several installations over the past couple of years and know how much goes into even the simplest project; its impressive that a team of 4 were able to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time. It was really an honor to work alongside the participants and could not be happier with what they accomplished. Its been a beautiful reminder of why I went back to graduate school and why I have plans to teach, something I'm truly thankful for.

    SummerBuild 2013 participants:
    Samantha Altieri
    Steven Hien
    Valerie Maccarone
    Bao Nguyen

    SummerBuild 2013 organizers:
    Robert Trumbour
    Aaron Willette

    Alexander Cabral
    Stephanie Rogowski
    Anthony Sanchez
    Jared Steinmark

    Special thanks to:
    Carol Burns of Taylor & Burns Architects/Wentworth Institute of Technology

    Brandon Clifford of Matter Design/MIT
    Mariana Ibanez of IK Studio/Harvard GSD
    Simon Kim of IK Studio/UPenn
    Mark Klopfer of KMDG/Wentworth Institute of Technology
    Skylar Tibbets of SJET/MIT

    Super-special thanks to:
    the Trumbour family


    View full entry

  • SummerBuild: (Another) Design Build Workshop

    Aaron Willette
    Jul 29, '13 5:20 PM EST

    Ever since I participated in Ghost Lab back in '08, my business partner Rob Trumbour and I have wanted to do something similar in Massachusetts. At the time the current workshop trend was just starting to emerge so the format was novel, and he and I both felt there was value in taking... View full entry

  • Fabricated at Michigan: Helix

    Aaron Willette
    Jul 13, '13 2:33 PM EST

    Another project from Brandon Clifford and Wes McGee of Matter Design, Helix was designed and fabricated for the BSA Space and pinkcomma's 2013 Design Biennial Boston exhibit. The half-scale precast concrete stair stems from the interest in stereotomy that has informed the duo's... View full entry

  • Apologies, robots, and slow panning shots...

    Aaron Willette
    Jul 8, '13 12:03 PM EST

    So its been a bit since I've upheld my bloggerly duties due to the typically student excuses: academic deadlines, not sleeping, etc. But as of a week ago that's all done with and I'm done with my time as a student here at the University of Michigan. I won't be going too far though as working as a... View full entry

    TCAUP Robot Teaser

  • Shop Talk : Tavs Jørgensen

    Aaron Willette
    Oct 7, '12 11:59 PM EST

    The second interview that I'll be sharing from my research into craftsmanship and digital fabrication took place with Tavs Jøgensen, a permanent research fellow in the Autonomatic Group at University College Falmouth and visiting tutor for the Royal College of Art's Ceramics & Glass... View full entry

    The Making of the One-Liner Glass Bowls

  • A Glass Menagerie

    Aaron Willette
    Sep 21, '12 12:33 AM EST

    I've been really shocked at the positive response I've received to the interview with Rives. It and its accompanying interviews were done more for my own need than anything else and I was unsure if anyone would even be interested in what was said. Clearly it was enjoyed and because of... View full entry

  • Shop Talk : Rives Rash

    Aaron Willette
    Aug 31, '12 10:23 PM EST

    As part of my research over the past year into the nature of craftsmanship in digital fabrication, I've done a handful of interviews with individuals engaging the topic in some manner. Ranging from craft researchers to fabricators, every conversation has yielded amazing insight not only into my... View full entry

  • Fabricated at Michigan: Pongo

    Aaron Willette
    Aug 20, '12 6:40 PM EST

    Another fabrication project from the back catalog here at the UMich FABlab. As with La Voûte de LeFevre this comes from Wes McGee and Brandon Clifford of Matter Design Studio. Pongo is a coat rack that, to me at least, clearly exhibits the strengths that each brings to their work and... View full entry

  • Fabricated at Michigan: La Voûte de LeFevre

    Aaron Willette
    Aug 8, '12 1:25 AM EST

    As I mentioned previous, I'm going to try to get into some of the work thats been goes on here at the University of Michigan FABlab. Truth be told I probably spend more time at my desk in the lab than I do at my apartment, so I see a lot of project come through the doors. Not many people outside... View full entry

    La Voûte de LeFevre Fabrication

  • Long time no blog...

    Aaron Willette
    Jul 16, '12 7:29 PM EST

    I apologize for my horribly long absence. In the end my studies got the best of me and my time to be posting on here was limited. But in the coming days I'll be having some nice and meaty posts on a couple projects I was involved with. So while I dig through my photos and figure out which are... View full entry

  • On Craftsmanship...

    Aaron Willette
    Mar 2, '12 11:20 AM EST

    The focus of my work at the University of Michigan deals with establishing a framework to identify and discuss "craftsmanship" within the subset of contemporary architecture that utilizes computation and digital fabrication. At the scale of the object/artifact there has been... View full entry

    Dick Dale's Misirlou

  • Gazing Upwards at the Ivory Tower

    Aaron Willette
    Jan 31, '12 2:45 AM EST

    "The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery." - Mark Van Doren For reasons still unknown to myself, for the past 5+ years I have worked under the assumption that some sort of academic position would be part of my professional career. Prior to my return to student life I sat... View full entry

  • Whither Installation Symposium Part 4: Photos, etc...

    Aaron Willette
    Jan 24, '12 6:57 AM EST

    My apologies for the delay in this post. The 'final push' for Glass Cast (the Research Through Making project I was a collaborator on, shown above) started at the end of last year during the semester break; upon the project's completion for the exhibit this past weekend I realized that there were... View full entry

  • Whither Installation Symposium Part 3: The Symposium (live)

    Aaron Willette
    Jan 21, '12 9:02 AM EST

    After a great night of viewing some fantastic work, its time for the main event, the Whither Installation Symposium. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a strong showing of students or faculty for the event, but I have an odd feeling thats a combination of the 9am start, last night's snow, and... View full entry

  • Whither Installation Symposium Part 2: Research Through Making Presentations (live)

    Aaron Willette
    Jan 20, '12 5:47 PM EST

    Good evening Archinect! Here comes the 2nd part of the 3-part Whither Installation Symposium coverage from the University of Michigan. I'll do my best to keep my fingers up to speed with the presentations, but no promises. The presentations should be starting in about 15 minutes, so coverage will... View full entry

  • Whither Installation Symposium Part 1: Interview with John McMorrough

    Aaron Willette
    Jan 20, '12 5:01 PM EST

    As mentioned in my previous post on the blog, I sat down with John McMorrough, Chair of the Architecture Program and Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan to briefly talk with him about this weekend's Research Through Making presentations and Whither Installation... View full entry

  • Whither...

    Aaron Willette
    Jan 18, '12 2:18 AM EST

    The use of installations within architecture seem to be on an uptick as of late. The design blogs we all know and love seem to have a continuous stream of commissions, competitions and student projects touting their viability as the latest hope for architectural experimentation in our... View full entry

  • Performance Anxiety

    Aaron Willette
    Jan 17, '12 3:12 AM EST

    The first blog post. As idealized in the mind of the individual behind the keyboard it is a function of area: a mandatory declaration of extents, laying forth the foundation of grandiose fortifications defining one's domain. In reality it is to sally, celebrating the initial conditions from... View full entry

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An in-the-trenches view of digital fabrication, academic research, post-hardcore music and whiskey. Not necessarily in that order and often in combination.

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