Briefcase House + Babel Stories
2010, Chicago, IL
Team: Jimenez Lai, Brady Schneider, Cyrus Penarroyo, David Ruffing, Brady Schneider

Photography: Jasper Reyes and Kamil Krol
Special Thanks: Jonathan MacGillis, Lauren Turner, Jasper Reyes, and Connie Lin
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 a 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 figure and ground and the blackening of the 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. Like the core of the Farnsworth House, the presence of the Briefcase House inside this warehouse 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.
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