• Also Known As
    Michelle JaJa Chang
    Jesús Vassallo
    MIT Press, 2024
    Michelle JaJa Chang

Michelle JaJa Chang, “Noise pt. 3,” 2019. Digital image. Courtesy Michelle JaJa Chang

In architectural practice, where visual representation typically precedes building, techniques like drawing and imaging do not merely structure appearances. They are schemas, or organizational theories, connecting the abstract to the real. Buildings evidence representation’s ability to show how something is (through description) and how things should be (through projection). Also Known As is a book of six fragments—a collection of written and visual work. Some ideas are examined in depth, in essay form, while others are explored as anecdotal discoveries. Longer essays begin with a description of an object or phenomenon outside of architecture (e.g., a surveillance blimp, ancient bowls, a cartoon) in the manner of medical case reports. Observations on curious objects and events spur new ways of thinking about more complex systems in architecture.

Michelle JaJa Chang directs JaJa Co and teaches at Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). She founded her independent practice in 2014 after working in New York, Boston, and San Francisco offices. Her design work experiments with the overlaps between and among film, installation, music, teaching, and building. Chang holds a MArch from Harvard GSD and a bachelor of arts in international relations from Johns Hopkins University. She is a former MacDowell Colony Fellow, Wortham Fellow, and a recipient of the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers. Her work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada, among other venues. In her research, Chang studies the techniques and histories of architectural representation. Specifically, she investigates how optics, digital media, and modes of cultural production influence translations between design and building. Her recent writing on noise and vagueness examines these topics.