Bureau Spectacular is an operation of architectural affairs founded and led by Jimenez Lai since 2008. It is based in Chicago and closely affiliated to the Midwest Mafia of Architecture Schools.

Bureau Spectacular imagines other worlds and engages the design of architecture through telling stories. Beautiful stories about character development, relationships, curiosities and attitudes; absurd stories about fake realities that invite enticing possibilities. The stories conflate design, representation, theory, criticism, history and taste into cartoon pages. These cartoon narratives swerve into the physical world through architectural installations, models and small buildings


ABOVE: The White Elephant project: “What is a building that can tumble freely without gravity or fixed orientations, hard on the outside but soft on the inside, and obstructs the continuity of interior spaces like an elephant in a room? This installation is a freestanding micro building / macro furniture that questions projection, inside/outside, rigidity/fluidity and size/scale“.

“Jimenez Lai was chosen for the originality and range of his body of work, whose uncompromising and thought-provoking approach to formalism lends it an exploratory vein that, in the words of the jury is crucial to the future of architecture” commented the jury, who narrowed the more than 180 entries of outstanding quality from around the world to a shortlist of ten finalists whose “Range and originality, substance and quality are testament of a vibrant new generation of practitioners shaping the discipline”.


“The Award 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” comments Beatrice Galilee, chief curator of Close, Closer, the third Lisbon Architecture Triennale.

The international jury was formed by Eva Franch I Gilabert (Spain), founder of OOAA and Director of Storefront for Art and ArchitectureOu Ning (China), activist, curator, editor, artist and urban researcher, Tatiana Bilbao (Mexico), founder of studio Tatiana Bilbao S.C.Beatrice Galilee (UK), chief curator of Close, Closer and Diogo Seixa Lopes (Portugal), founder of studio Barbas Lopes, Arquitectos.


Photo: @Bureau Spectacular