Taiwan's Ministry of Culture has announced that University of Toronto graduate Jimenez Lai (HBA 2002, MArch 2007) will represent Taiwan at the 2014 Venice Biennale.
Currently a professor at the University of Illinois and Leader of Bureau Spectacular, Lai has had a meteoric rise in the world of architecture. A Taichung City native, he has built numerous installations and has been widely exhibited and published around the world. His piece "White Elephant" is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. And WORKshop gallery in Toronto, has his work "Little Monster" (pictured below and first shown in 2012 at the Architectural League in New York) on permanent display. In 2012, Lai was awarded the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects, which was followed by an appearance on the cover of Architect, the magazine of the American Institute of Architects, in January 2013.
Lai's proposal for the biennale, titled “The Small City Within," echoes the biennale's theme: “Fundamentals”. Lai highlighted the “parts” and “entirety” of a house and analyzed their respective architectural functions. He also studied how Taiwanese people eat, sleep and interact, and organized the exhibit using a summary of the study.
Taiwan has participated in the Venice Biennale since 2000, and selects its representatives through open calls to creative local architectural teams and curators. This year’s open call received six applications. The jury made its decision after considering the biennale’s theme, overall creativity and other aspects of the entries.
The biennale is scheduled to take place between June and November 2014 in Venice. Daniels Faculty Associate Professor Mason White is part of the team representing Canada at the prestigious event.