The Briefcase House / Jimenez Lai

© Lai

Jimenez Lai of  Bureau Spectacular shared his residential project for a warehouse loft.  The 1400 sf space is conceived as a house within a house where all the material possessions are compacted into one oversized briefcase, which the subject sleeps inside.  The project focuses on engaging two architectural issues: the inside/outside and S/XL.

More information, including Lai’s illustrated storyboards after the break.

© Lai

The super wall-cavity, rendered as an ultra thick wall, fits between the residual gap outside of the Briefcase House and the limits of the warehouse loft.  This thickened wall provides the opportunity for the subject to occupies the cavity for other activities.  “This project delineates the qualification of conceptual poche by the swerve of the architectural figure-ground and the blackening of thick-wall or the private volume. Furthermore, it blurs the boundary between the definition of XL furniture and S building,” explained Lai.

© Lai

The house takes inspiration from Mies van der Rohe’s core in the Farnsworth House, as it was the key in producing the four architectural programs without erecting one single wall.  Likewise, “the presence of the Briefcase House inside this warehouse also carves out distinct dimensions for appropriate activities.  Sitting on castors, the house can be rolled around to distort program proportions.”   Lai was also inspired by the paintings of Fontana and Motherwell as they heighten the awareness of negative spaces.

Plan © Lai

“As an obstruction, the Briefcase House is a permanent cut on the canvas that gives birth to a new healthy body,” added Lai.

Below are Lai’s illustrated storyboards, entitled The Obsession Accelerator.

Hi Darling. I'm home from my one year long experiment. © Lai
Yes I did recieve all your letters and they are starting to make me very worried. © Lai
This one, for example, you identified all the hours you wasted and blacked them out. © Lai
Were the trainings difficult? What's gotten into you? © Lai
I need you to understand: I want to be exceptional at what I love. © Lai
I figured out how to do it. I will compact only what I truly need and discard everything else in life. © Lai
I will put this box inside another box and devote my entire self working in the space between the two boxes. © Lai
The box on the inside is like a little room with a super thick wall cavity. © Lai
And where would I be in this picture? © Lai
If you loved me you wouldn't want this. © Lai

Briefcase House (2010) , IL
Design:
Story / Illustration: Jimenez Lai
Construction Drawings: Brady Schneider, Cyrus Penarroyo
Construction Leaders: David Ruffing, Brady Schneider, Jimenez Lai
Thank you to the assistance of Jonathan MacGillis, Lauren Turner,
Jasper Reyes and Connie Lin
Photography: Jasper Reyes and Kamil Kroll



Cite: Cilento, Karen. "The Briefcase House / Jimenez Lai" 05 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Dec 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=87318>
  • C_List_Starchitect

    Pretty interesting, I’m not entirely sure that I buy all of his explanations, but at the very least, this kind of project could certainly make trailer parks more interesting.

  • Hejduk

    A lot of BS to explain a simple project…nice cat though

  • jim d

    Play -just play- is enough of a reason to design and build more environments like this one. The over intellectualizing just kills the spirit of this effort. Have fun! Delight and the inviting volumes speak for themselves.

  • andres remy

    GREAT HOUSE!!! see you in Argentina…………….

    Cheers

  • rd

    brilliant, inventive, personal, and fun.

    the space doesnt look half bad either. Is there a way/reason to occupy the tiered exterior of the box?

  • Liam

    very nice, deff plays with my perception of scale.
    well done

  • johnny

    “This project delineates the qualification of conceptual poche by the swerve of the architectural figure-ground and the blackening of thick-wall or the private volume. Furthermore, it blurs the boundary between the definition of XL furniture and S building”

    haha. this makes no sense at all. nice project though. interesting play with scale.