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The Graham Foundation is pleased to present Treatise: Why Write Alone?—an exhibition and publication project that brings together fourteen young design offices to consider the architectural treatise as a site for theoretical inquiry, experimentation, and debate. Organized by Chicago and Los Angeles-based designer Jimenez Lai, the project grows out of a recent Graham Foundation grant to Lai, whose interest in discursive practices and non-conformist approaches to architecture led him to ask his peers working in the realm of conceptual architecture: Why write? And, why write alone? In response to these questions, Treatise presents an exhibition of works by this core group of designers as well as an individual treatise from each office. Together, the exhibition and publications provide a platform to investigate the collective and individual stakes that emerge from this temporary alliance of designers as they explore architecture’s representational limits and possibilities.


Opening January 23, 2015, the exhibition features over 200 works, from drawings and models to multi-media installations, by design offices that utilize diverse—and often unexpected—strategies, forms, and materials. The participants include: Bittertang (New York); Bureau Spectacular (Chicago); CAMES/gibson (Chicago); Design With Company (Chicago); Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York); First Office (Los Angeles); is-office (Chicago); Andrew Kovacs (Los Angeles); Alex Maymind (Los Angeles); Norman Kelley (Chicago and New York); Point Supreme (Athens, Greece); Softlab (New York); SPEEDISM (Brussels, Belgium); and Young & Ayata (New York).



The Treatise series will be published in March 2015 and will be accompanied by a launch event at the Graham Foundation. Both the complete set and individual volumes (116-pages each; $20) will be available for purchase online and in the Graham Foundation bookshop.


The Graham Foundation is grateful to Pentagram, New York and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning for their generous support of this project and to the American Academy in Rome; TeamTank, Brussels; the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning; the University of California, Los Angeles Architecture & Urban Design; the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; and Volume Gallery, Chicago for their support of the works in the exhibition.



Bittertang is a New York–based design farm founded by Michael Loverich and Antonio Torres. Bittertang has built three inflatable pavilions, a pregnant sugar-oozing piñata, a plush toy collection, a sagging birdcage, and edible environments. They have won numerous awards, including the 2010 Architectural League Prize and the 2014 AIA New Practices New York Award. Michael Loverich received his MArch from the University of California, Los Angeles. He lives in Manhattan and currently teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. Antonio Torres graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with an MArch before moving to New York to work for Neil Denari. He lives in Guadalajara and Manhattan and teaches at ITESO and CCAU in Mexico.

Jimenez Lai is the founder and leader of the design firm Bureau Spectacular. He holds an MArch from the University of Toronto. In the last several years, Lai has built numerous installations, has exhibited his work internationally, and has published widely. Lai’s first manifesto, Citizens of No Place, was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2012, with a grant from the Graham Foundation. Lai is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects (2012) and the inaugural Millennium BCP Lisbon Triennale Début Award (2013), among others. In 2014, he was the curator and designer of the Taiwan Pavilion at the 14th Venice Architectural Biennale. Lai currently teaches in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Grant Gibson is a Chicago-based educator, registered architect, and founding principal of CAMES/gibson, Inc.,an architecture and design practice committed to creating environments and objects that are cross-pollinated with common social, political, and economic interests, as well as individual experiences and desires. Gibson received his MArch from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and holds degrees from Purdue University in architectural engineering and construction engineering technology. He is currently clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Design With Company (Dw/Co) is the Chicago-based architectural collaborative of Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer. Dw/Co seeks to transform the world through textual and visual narratives, speculative urban scenarios, installations, and small-scale interactive constructions. Stewart Hicks received his MArch from Princeton University and is currently assistant professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a fellow of the MacDowell Artist Colony and a recipient of Architectural Record's Design Vanguard Award and the Young Architect's Forum Prize. Alison Newmeyer is visiting assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and also teaches at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and the Illinois Institute of Technology. She is a fellow of the MacDowell Artist Colony and is the recipient of architectural awards from the Van Alen Institute and Architizer.

Founded by Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (FKAA) is an entity of variable boundaries and questionable taste that provides architectural tools to mediate between citizens and institutions, the public sphere, and disciplinary knowledge. Recent projects include a new national velodrome for the city of Medellin, Colombia; the Superphosphates! master plan for the mining village of Aldea Moret, Spain; and the OE House in Barcelona. In 2014, FKAA won the AIA New York New Practices Prize, and was shortlisted for the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program, the Art-Basel-Miami Design Pavilion, and most recently, the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition.

First Office is a Los Angeles–based architecture and design collaborative founded by Andrew Atwood and Anna Neimark. Built projects include a collaboration on the Pinterest office headquarters in San Francisco, a dome stage in Afghanistan, a temporary screening room at the MAK Center for Art in Architecture in Los Angeles, and the rehabilitation of a shotgun house in Lexington, Kentucky. Their work has been exhibited in the United States and abroad, including the Beijing Biennale, the Pacific Design Center, the WUHO Gallery, and the SCI-Arc Gallery in Los Angeles, among others. Andrew Atwood graduated from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and is currently assistant professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. Anna Neimark received her BA in architecture from Princeton University and her MArch from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She is currently a full-time faculty member at the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

is-office is a Chicago-based design firm specializing in objects, interiors, and buildings. Founded by Kyle Reynolds and Jeff Mikolajewski, the firm leverages the unique agency of physical form to engage issues of culture, urbanism, lifestyle, and iconography indigenous to the modern metropolis. Kyle Reynolds is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning. He received an MArch from Princeton University and a BS in architecture with a certificate in urban planning from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His work and writing have been published in On Farming: Bracket 1, The SANAA Studios 2006–2008, and Pidgin Magazine, among others. Jeff Mikolajewski is a project designer at Johnston Marklee in Los Angeles. He has lived previously in Shanghai, Milan, Copenhagen, and Chicago, all while working for firms such as Bjarke Ingels Group, Andrew Zago Architect, UrbanLab, and Gensler. He received his MArch from the University of Illinois at Chicago and he holds a BS in architecture from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Andrew Kovacs is a Los Angeles–based designer. He has exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture; the Architecture and Design Museum, Los Angeles; and the Jai & Jai Gallery, Los Angeles. His work on architecture and urbanism has been published in Pidgin, Project, Clog, Domus, and Fulcrum, among others. Kovacs studied architecture at Syracuse University (BArch), the Architecture Association in London, and Princeton University (MArch). He is currently a visiting assistant professor in architecture and urban design at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Alex Maymind is a Los Angeles–based designer and teacher. He holds an MArch from Yale University where he was awarded the Taylor History and Theory Memorial Prize; he graduated cum laude in architecture from the Ohio State University’s Knowlton School of Architecture. He was the 2012–13 Walter B. Sanders Fellow at the University of Michigan, where his research resulted in the exhibition 100 Drawings. His writing, ranging from a genealogy of the free section to an exploration of globalization’s clichés, have appeared in a number of journals including Log, Pidgin, Thresholds, OFFRAMP, and Clog. He is currently pursuing a PhD in the history and theory of architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Norman Kelley is the architecture and design collaborative of Carrie Norman and Thomas Kelley, based in New York and Chicago. The firm’s work has been published and exhibited widely, most recently in Log 31: New Ancients and the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale. They are the recipients of the 2014 Architecture League of New York Young Architect’s Prize, and their design work is currently represented by Volume Gallery in Chicago. Thomas Kelley received an MArch from Princeton University and a BArch from the University of Virginia. He is the recipient of the Peter Reyner Banham Fellowship from SUNY Buffalo and the Rome Prize in Architecture from the American Academy in Rome. Kelley is currently a clinical assistant professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Carrie Norman received an MArch from Princeton University and a BArch from the University of Virginia. Norman is a licensed architect and a member of the Architecture League of New York’s Young Architects and Designers Committee. She is currently a senior design associate with SHoP Architects in New York.

Athens-based Point Supreme was founded by Konstantinos Pantazis and Marianna Rentzou in 2008, after they had studied and worked in London, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Brussels, and Tokyo. Research and self-initiated proposals for the improvement of Athens inform the heart of their practice. A selection of their Athens Projects was exhibited in the Greek Pavilion of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012. The office has won numerous awards including First Prize in the Europan 10 for a master plan and social housing in Trondheim, Norway; a 2012 competition for the Athens waterfront; and the 2014 Urban Shade Competition in Tel Aviv. They are currently nominated for the 2014 Iakov Chernikhov International Prize for Young Architects.

SOFTlab is a New York–based design studio that operates at the intersection of architecture, art, video, and interactive media design. In 2012, SOFTlab was awarded the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers, and previously, in 2010, the studio was selected for the New Practices New York Award from the AIA New York Chapter. Michael Szivos created SOFTlab shortly after earning his graduate degree in architecture from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Szivos teaches at Yale University and is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Pratt Institute.

Pieterjan Ginckels is a Belgian artist and architect whose work concerns itself with the acceleration of modern life, which he explores through exhibitions and experiences that interweave spatial, artistic, and design practice, as well as everything in between. He studied architecture at KU Leuven, WENK Sint-Lucas Brussels, and the Universität Stuttgart, and he currently teaches at KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture, Brussels. In 2008, Ginckels cofounded (with German artist and architect Julian Friedauer) SPEEDISM, which proposes anti-methods for an increasingly theme-based, spectacular, and accelerated society.

Founded in 2008, Young & Ayata is a New York–based architectural design studio founded by Michael Young and Kutan Ayata. Young & Ayata view the tensions, overlaps, and frictions created through multiple mediations as the conditions for an aesthetic of estranged realism in architecture. Michael Young earned an MArch II from Princeton University and a BArch from the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He is a registered architect in the state of New York, and is an assistant professor at the Cooper Union and a visiting lecturer at Princeton University. Kutan Ayata received a BFA in architecture from the Massachusetts College of Art and an MArch from Princeton University. He is a registered architect in the Chamber of Architects in Turkey, and is currently a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and an adjunct assistant professor at Pratt Institute.


(Left) Bittertang (Michael Loverich & Antonio Torres), "Romulus & Remus: Succulent Piñata (detail)," 2010. 35 x 35 x 16 inches. Courtesy of the artists. (Right) is-office (Kyle Reynolds and Jeff Mikolajewski), “Javits Javits,” 2012. From “New York, New Yo