Citizens of No Place is a collection of short stories on architecture and urbanism, graphically represented using manga-style storyboards. Fiction is used as a strategy to unpack thoughts about architecture. Modeled as a proto-manifesto, it is a candid chronicle of a highly critical thought process in the tradition of paper architecture (especially that of architect John Hejduk and Bernard Tschumi's Manhattan Transcript). The short stories explore many architectural problems through the unique language of the graphic novel, helping usher the next generation of architectural theory and criticism.
About the author
Jimenez Lai graduated with a Master of Architecture from University of Toronto. He is currently an assistant professor at University of Illinois at Chicago and the leader of Bureau Spectacular, the office that realizes the ideas explored in his graphic short stories. 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's work has been exhibited in many cities worldwide, and his short stories / drawings have been published in various esteemed journals.
"By distilling architectural discourse through cartooning in Citizens, Lai has developed an accessible and lively platform from which he can entertain weighty architectural, planning, and policy concepts about utopias; subjective perception; alternative spatial dimensions; and human interaction with design. His deft illustration--whose palette includes manga, DC comics, and OMA-infused photographic collage--weaves a magical experience. Filled with humor and polemic, the vignettes combine the energy of Hayao Miyazaki's 2001 film Spirited Away with the knitted lines of Daniel Libeskind's The Space of Encounter from the same year" -- Blueprint
"Follows in the tradition of Rem Koolhaas's Content, but makes the page come alive for a generation raised on This American Life and manga.... Intensely beautiful, whimsical, and profound.... It's as if the Little Prince grew up to become an architect." -- Metropolis
"Blends the ethos of urbanism with the sensibility of manga to deliver a stunning black-and-white manifesto for place, public space, and the function of the imaginary and the implausible in architectural theory and criticism." -- Brain Pickings