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Bureau Spectacular

How Architects in Chicago Are Making New History

10:20 - 26 September, 2017

"We are at a moment of great cultural transition," Jorge Otero-Pailos argues. "The kinds of objects that we look to to provide some sort of continuity in that transformation is often times architecture, [...] one of the most stable objects in culture." This short film, in which an number of participants of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial reflect on their work and those of others, tackles the theme conceived by artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee: Make New History.

In "Horizontal City," 24 Architects Reconsider Architectural Interiors at 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial

10:20 - 25 September, 2017

Horizontal City is one of two collective exhibitions (the other being Vertical City) at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial. 24 architects were tasked by artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee to "reconsider the status of the architectural interior" by referencing a photograph of a canonical interior from any time period.

Their challenge was in considering the forms and ways that their selection "might extrapolate out from the cropped photographic frame into a spatial and lifestyle construction across a larger, horizontal site" – in this case, a field of plinths, the size and positioning of which is a direct reference to the footprint of Mies van der Rohe's 1947 plan for the IIT Campus in Chicago.

a+u 2017:05 Feature: Emerging Architects in USA

03:00 - 15 August, 2017
a+u 2017:05 Feature: Emerging Architects in USA

The May 2017 issue of a+u uncovers six teams of emerging architects in USA: Andrew Kovacs, Bureau Spectacular (Jimenez Lai & Joanna Grant), The LADG (Andrew Holder & Claus Benjamin Freyinger), Ellie Abrons, Mark Foster Gage, and Young & Ayata (Michael Young & Kutan Ayata).

The Best Architect-Designed Pieces from Design Miami/ Basel 2017

14:00 - 16 June, 2017
The Best Architect-Designed Pieces from Design Miami/ Basel 2017, Table, MAD Martian Collection by MAD Architects. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects
Table, MAD Martian Collection by MAD Architects. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects

With Design Miami/ Basel 2017 well underway (from June 13-18), ArchDaily has compiled a list of the best architect-designed furniture pieces on display at the event. This year, notable items include works by MAD Architects, Christ & Gantenbien, Trix & Robert Haussman, John Lautner, Jonathen Muecke, Jean Prouvé and Sou Fujimoto.

Chicago Architecture Biennial Announces List of 2017 Participants

11:00 - 6 March, 2017
Chicago Architecture Biennial Announces List of 2017 Participants, James Welling, 8183, 2016 from the series Chicago, 2016-2017, Courtesy the Artist and David Zwirner, New York and London. Image Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Biennial
James Welling, 8183, 2016 from the series Chicago, 2016-2017, Courtesy the Artist and David Zwirner, New York and London. Image Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Biennial

The Chicago Architecture Biennial has announced the list of participants invited to contribute to the event’s second edition, which will be held from September 16 to January 7, 2018 in Chicago. More than 100 architecture firms and artists have been selected by 2017 artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, founders of Los Angeles–based Johnston Marklee, to design exhibitions that will be displayed at the Chicago Cultural Center and throughout the city.

“Our goal for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial is to continue to build on the themes and ideas presented in the first edition,” explained Johnston and Lee. “We hope to examine, through the work of the chosen participants, the continuous engagement with questions of history and architecture as an evolutionary practice.”

5 Firms Shortlisted for 2017 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program

16:20 - 17 November, 2016
5 Firms Shortlisted for 2017 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program, Escobedo Soliz Studio's "Weaving the Courtyard" - 2016 winner of MoMA PS1's YAP. Image © Rafael Gamo
Escobedo Soliz Studio's "Weaving the Courtyard" - 2016 winner of MoMA PS1's YAP. Image © Rafael Gamo

MoMA P.S.1 has named five finalists competing in the 2017 Young Architects Program (YAP).

Now in it’s 17th year, the competition was founded to offer emerging architectural talent the opportunity to design a temporary, outdoor installation within the walls of the P.S.1 courtyard for MoMA’s annual summer “Warm-Up” series. Architects are challenged to develop creative designs that provide shade, seating and water, while working within guidelines that address environmental issues, including sustainability and recycling.

Treatise: Why Write Alone?

00:00 - 21 January, 2015
Treatise: Why Write Alone?, Alex Maymind, "100 Drawings," 2012-13. Archival inkjet print. 25 x 25 inches. Courtesy of the artist
Alex Maymind, "100 Drawings," 2012-13. Archival inkjet print. 25 x 25 inches. Courtesy of the artist

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. + 5

Jiminez Lai and Bureau Spectacular Present: Flipping Properties

00:00 - 14 August, 2014
Jiminez Lai and Bureau Spectacular Present: Flipping Properties, © Kevin Pazik
© Kevin Pazik

Designed for a laneway inside the Little Portugal neighborhood of Toronto, Flipping Properties tests the boundaries between architecture and furniture. The exhibition, created by Jiminez Lai and his team, Bureau Spectacular, unravels the traditional pentagonal shape of a house to create ‘super-furniture.’ Super-furniture is defined by Lai as “too big to be furniture and too small to be architecture.” The large installation pieces are meant to encourage dialogue on unused urban spaces in Toronto, while creating a novel way to interact with those spaces. Despite their size, the pieces can be rearranged within the laneway, allowing for a variety of assemblages to be created. Flipping Properties opened July 11th, and will be in place until September 14th in the laneway between Sheridan Avenue and Gordon Street in Toronto. Admission is free to the public. See the full gallery of exhibition photos, after the break.

© Kevin Pazik © Kevin Pazik © Kevin Pazik © Kevin Pazik + 17

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

01:00 - 15 June, 2014

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 + 13

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

01:00 - 18 May, 2014
Venice Biennale 2014: Jimenez Lai to Construct Taiwanese "Township of Domestic Parts", Family Portrait . Image © Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan
Family Portrait . Image © Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan

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... 

Seven Architects Shortlisted for $100,000 Wheelwright Prize

00:00 - 15 April, 2014
Seven Architects Shortlisted for $100,000 Wheelwright Prize, Jose Ahedo, Blanca Pyrenees, Education Center  (Els Hostalets de Tost, Spain, 2013). Image Courtesy of Wheelwright Prize
Jose Ahedo, Blanca Pyrenees, Education Center (Els Hostalets de Tost, Spain, 2013). Image Courtesy of Wheelwright Prize

Seven architects have been shortlisted from nearly 200 international applicants for Harvard University Graduate School of Design’s 2014 Wheelwright Prize. The $100,000 grant, which is awarded annually to a single architect to support travel-based architectural research, is “intended to spur innovative research during the early stage of an architect's professional career” and “foster new forms of research informed by cross-cultural engagement.”

Ranging from a Barcelona-based architect whose research proposal focuses on animal farming systems to a Croatian architect who wants to re-imagine the “border-scape” in Mediterranean countries, you can review all seven finalists after the break...

Jimenez Lai Wins Inaugural Lisbon Triennale Millennium BCP Début Award

00:00 - 13 September, 2013
Jimenez Lai Wins Inaugural Lisbon Triennale Millennium BCP Début Award, White Elephant / Jimenez Lai © Magnus Lindqvist, Kyle D, Eberle & Kamil Krol. ImageWhite Elephant / Jimenez Lai
White Elephant / Jimenez Lai © Magnus Lindqvist, Kyle D, Eberle & Kamil Krol. ImageWhite Elephant / Jimenez Lai

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.

Designing the Final Frontier

00:00 - 19 August, 2013
Designing the Final Frontier, © NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
© NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Three months ago, Commander Chris Hadfield captured the attention of millions by recording a cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity - entirely on board the International Space Station. The video was the culmination of five months of social media efforts to raise awareness and interest in current space programs worldwide, and it certainly seems that Hadfield succeeded in piquing the interest of at least a few future astronauts.

But for architects, something else probably stands out in the video: the ISS seems an extremely clinical and uncomfortable environment to live in for five months. The reasons for this are obvious: it is a highly controlled engineered environment; sending luxuries into orbit is expensive; the astronauts are there to work, and after all they are trained to cope in stressful and uncomfortable environments. However, with proposals for longer missions, such as a manned trip to Mars, as well as the continued promise of commercial spaceflight on the horizon, the design of living spaces outside of our own planet may soon become an issue which architects must get involved in.

Read on to find out about the challenges of architecture in space, after the break.

A Bureau Spectacular spectacular, one week from today!

13:00 - 17 June, 2012
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

15:00 - 7 April, 2012

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.