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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."

Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan, delves into the part-to-whole relationship and political implications of our domestic lives. But Lai also believes that, from this relationship, we can learn something about the way that cities function. See more images from the exhibition and read on for the curator's statement.

House of Social Dining. Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan. Image © Nico Saieh Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan. Image © Nico Saieh House of Alchemy. Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan. Image © Nico Saieh House of Social Dining. Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan. Image © Nico Saieh

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.

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.

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.