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

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... 

Collage. Image © Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan

Take a Stroll in the Township of Domestic Parts 

As an engagement to the theme set up by chief curator Rem Koolhaas, Lai’s proposal departs from the perspective of domesticity. With the understanding that “fundamental” carries the theoretical implications of “being basic” and “of the origin,” Lai has built his proposal using the “domestic diagram” as a fundamental base for architecture and to be used schematically for the analysis and organization of commonplace architectural functions.  

Plan. Image © Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan

In addition to the investigation of the eating, sleeping, and entertainment patterns of the Taiwanese people, the exhibition also probes further at the underlying physiological behaviors, social interactions, spiritual beliefs, and other aspects pertaining to those “domestic functions.” The experience of this exhibition is not dissimilar from the world-to-world journeys of Le Petit Prince, with the private diagram of domesticity inverted as public. As the nine small houses form an “interior urbanism,” an explanation is also provided for the comprehensively developed interpretation for narrow passageways resulting from Taiwan’s growth amid its densely populated environment.

Vignettes. Image © Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan

Extensive research has been conducted by Lai and his design team for the programs incorporated in these nine small houses. In the process of investigating and understanding the functions of domestic architectures, fifty iconic houses were studied, with British painter and collage artist Richard Hamilton’s fictional interior lifestyles used as references; the team then attempted with the construction of twenty collages, allowing for more in-depth free associations on the subjects of lifestyle and function. Their endeavors gradually took on the forms of the following nine architectural programs representing the Taiwan Pavilion: the House of Sleep, the House of Work, the House of Social Dining, the House of Alchemy, the House of Pleasure, the House of Shit, the House of Study, the Altar of Appearance, the Garden of Earthly Delights. Not only are they representative of certain spaces in Taiwan, local cultural practices, such as domestic shrines and round-table banquets, are also very central in the design concepts of these nine little pavilions, with an urban interior of Taiwan created inside the Palazzo della Prigioni.

Frontal. Image © Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan

Taken into consideration the restriction for coming into contact with the interior surfaces of the exhibition site, these nine houses are independent structures and can be assembled on site. As structures not quite big enough to be architecture and too large to be furniture, the nine small houses can be defined as “superfurnitures.”  Lai has condensed each domestic program into its own freestanding superfurniture with character, and the optimistic colorations with the “Easter egg color scheme” are intended to deliver unique Taiwanese characteristics.

The Taiwanese pavilion is presented by the Ministry of Culture, Republic of China (Taiwan) and organized by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA).

Design Team: Joanna Grant, Felipe Oropeza, Shun-Ping Liu, Kevin Pazik, and Jacob Comerci.

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Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "Venice Biennale 2014: Jimenez Lai to Construct Taiwanese "Township of Domestic Parts"" 18 May 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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