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Located inside a warehouse loft of 1400 sf with no partition, this project is a house within a house.
The design engages two architectural issues: inside/outside and S/XL. It compacts the material possessions of the subject into one oversized briefcase - so large that the subject sleeps inside of it. The residual gap outside of the Briefcase House to the limits of the warehouse loft can be considered a super wall-cavity and rendered as blackened thick wall in an architectural plan. Conversely, when the subject occupies the wall-cavity for other activities, the house can be considered a solid obstruction. 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.
The project pays homage to Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and the paintings of Lucio Fontana and Robert Motherwell. The core of the Farnsworth House is key in producing the four architectural programs without erecting one single wall. Similar to the Farnsworth House, 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. The paintings of Fontana and Motherwell heighten the awareness of negative spaces. As an obstruction, the Briefcase House is a permanent cut on the canvas that gives birth to a new healthy body.
Story: The Obsession Accelerator
Jimenez Lai is currently clinical assistant professor at University of Illinois at Chicago. He graduated with a Master of Architecture from University of Toronto.
Previously, Lai has lived and worked in a desert shelter at Taliesin, AZ, and resided in a shipping container at Atelier Van Lieshout on the piers of Rotterdam.
Lai has received mentions in competitions in Japan, Europe and the US.
Professionally, Lai has worked for MOS, AVL, RE X, OMA /Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam and New York.
In February 2006, his drawings Noah’s Ark, in space was featured on Archinect and in 2007 he was the recipient of the LeFevre Fellowship. In April 2008, his project Phalanstery Module opened at Materials & Applications in Los Angeles. The installation by Lai, Point Clouds, opened at the Extension Gallery in Chicago in January 2009.
Lai has been involved as a participant in group-exhibitions in New York, Boston, Athens, and Toronto. His drawings have been published in 306090, Conditions, Fresh Meat, Beyond and Candide.
Lai is principal of Chicago-based Bureau Spectacular.