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Treatise: Why Write Alone?

Drawing inspiration from Steven Holl and William Stout’s brainchild Pamphlet Architecture, a new collaborative project, Treatise: Why Write Alone?, unifies fourteen design firms to examine the architectural treatise as a method of exploring theoretical questions and sparking discussion. The project was developed by designer Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular in response to receiving a grant from the Graham Foundation. His unconventional ideas on the architectural process made him wonder, "Why write? And, why write alone?" The resultant collection of publications delves into these questions, both collectively and individually, with a collaborative piece as well as submissions from each firm.

Andrew Kovacs, "Guggenheim Helsinki Model," 2014. Found objects. 48 x 96 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist Design With Company (Stewart Hicks & Allison Newmeyer), "Midwest Culture Sampler (Department of Quantity, Scale, Image)," 2014. Three archival inkjet prints. 26 x 11 1/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artists. is-office (Kyle Reynolds and Jeff Mikolajewski), “Javits, Javits,” 2012. Archival inkjet print. 56 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the artists. SOFTlab (Michael Szivos), "Shizuku," 2009. Plywood. 72 x 24 x 36 inches. Courtesy of Jessika Creedon.

The "Urban Interior" of Jimenez Lai's Biennale Pavilion for Taiwan

UPDATE: We've added our interview with Jimenez Lai.

Jimenez Lai
, leader of Bureau Spectacular and curator of Taiwan's Pavilion for the 2014 Venice Biennale, claims that "domesticity is possibly one of the origins of architecture" and that "the standardization of the domestic program was...a very modern development." Thus, Lai built nine single-program houses within the Palazzo della Prigioni, each dedicated to one specific domestic act--such as sleeping, eating, etc. The result is a vibrant, colorful response to Rem Koolhaas' unifying theme: "Absorbing Modernity."

Venice Biennale 2014: Jimenez Lai to Construct Taiwanese "Township of Domestic Parts"

Taiwan-born architect Jimenez Lai’s proposal Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan has been selected to represent Taiwan in the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Scattered throughout the Palazzo delle Prigioni, the installation will be comprised of nine small house, each with a single program, that will make up an “interior township of misfit parts.” 

Read on for the complete curatorial statement... 

Jimenez Lai Wins Inaugural Lisbon Triennale Millennium BCP Début Award

Jimenez Lai, founder of Chicago-based Bureau Spectacular has been selected as winner of the first Lisbon Triennale Millennium BCP Début Award. The award, presented by Millennium BCP president Fernando Nogueira, distinguishes a young architect or studio under 35 on outstanding work, development of original design thinking and the pursuit of critical ideas with a monetary prize of €5,000.

Citizens of No Place / Jimenez Lai

Architecture has become an increasingly interdisciplinary profession, and the language with which architects envision and articulate their ideas has radically diversified in recent years. Architect Jimenez Lai has pioneered an unexpected and wholly unique approach that moves beyond contemporary architectural renderings and models. Citizens of No Place is a groundbreaking graphic novel on architecture and urbanism.

A Bureau Spectacular spectacular, one week from today!

Cartoonish Metropolis - Courtesy Jimenez Lai
Cartoonish Metropolis - Courtesy Jimenez Lai

One week from today, Chicago-based architecture practice Bureau Spectacular will transforms The Architecture Foundation’s Project Space into an inhabitable installation and a graphic sequence of imaginary worlds, through the studio’s trademark mixture of built structure and cartoon. Founded by emerging architect Jimenez Lai in 2008, Bureau Spectacular is a studio of architectural affairs, who describe their strategy as one of making “absurd stories about fake realities that invite enticing possibilities”. Fascinated by the interplay between storytelling and building, absurdity and speculation, Bureau Spectacular weave architectural design and theory into comic strips that pop from the page into the real world as installations and small buildings. Jimenez Lai: “This installation – Three Little Worlds – is a cartoonish blow up of a fragment inside the Cartoonish Metropolis. It is a comic book someone can walk into, a window into another reality.” Continue after the break to learn more.

Only 6 hours left to help fund Jimenez Lai’s Hefner/Beuys House!

Last month we shared with you Jimenez Lai’s vision to transform the Architecture Foundation’s Project Space in London with a cartoonish architectural installation of Super Furniture inspired by the exhibitionism of Hugh Hefner with the live-art of Joseph Beuys. As his first solo exhibition outside of North America, the Chicago-based architect plans to inhabit the Hefner/Beuys House for a few weeks, acting as a 1:1 comic book that people can literally become a part of. You may remember his past projects of the Super-Furniture Series, including the Briefcase House, which he has continued to live in for the past three years, and White Elephant (Privately Soft).

Kickstarter: Hefner/Beuys House / Jimenez Lai

Saturday, we shared with you Bureau Spectacular founder Jimenez Lai’s contribution to the University of Michigan’s Taubman College lecture series, focusing on what the genre of installation can offer architectural practice. Fascinated by experimental architecture, storytelling, cartoons and the pursuit of alternate realities, Lai’s latest performance-based architectural installation has made it to Kickstarter. It is up to you whether or not Lai will get the chance to transform the Architecture Foundation’s Project Space in London with a cartoonish architectural installation of Super Furniture – “a building that is slightly too small and a furniture that is kind of too big” – inspired by the exhibitionism of Hugh Hefner with the live-art of Joseph Beuys.

As his first solo exhibition outside of North America, the Chicago-based architect will inhabit the Hefner/Beuys House for a few weeks, acting as a 1:1 comic book that people can literally become a part of. You may remember his past projects of the Super-Furniture Series, including the Briefcase House, which he has continued to live in for the past three years, and White Elephant (Privately Soft). His previous installations have been wildly popular, stimulating the imagination of those from across the globe, and there is no doubt the Hefner/Beuys House will do the same.

All funds will go towards construction of the installation, which includes labor, material and transportation. Find more information and donate here on Kickstarter!

Courtesy of Jimenez Lai Courtesy of Jimenez Lai Courtesy of Jimenez Lai Courtesy of Jimenez Lai

Lecture: Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular

Known as an architect, artist and cartoonist, Jimenez Lai has lectured on and exhibited his work nationally and internationally. He is known for his imaginative cartoon narratives and architectural installations. He is the founder of Bureau Spectacular and currently an assistant professor at University of Illinois at Chicago. His graphic novel, Citizens of No Place, will be published by the Princeton Architectural Press with a grant from the Graham Foundation this year.

The Briefcase House / Jimenez Lai

 © 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.