Bjarke Ingels’s design concept for moat-lined Redskins Stadium unveiled on 60 Minutes

Architecture East Unveiled
(Courtesy 60 Minutes)

(Courtesy 60 Minutes)

In a segment on 60 Minutes this weekend, architect Bjarke Ingels provided a glimpse of the football stadium he is designing for the Washington Redskins. A scale model displayed on the CBS news program showed a curvaceous, open-air seating bowl enveloped in some sort of fabric or mesh—and surrounded by a moat.

The model depicts the stadium as a semi-transparent, wave-like structure. The moat is depicted as a space for kayakers, with parks and pedestrian bridges for tailgaters and fans.

“The one thing that everybody is…excited about is that the stadium is designed as much for the tailgating, like the pre-game, as for the game itself,” Ingels told 60 Minutes interviewer Morley Safer in a statement released by CBS News and partially aired during the program. “Tailgating literally becomes a picnic in a park. It can actually make the stadium a more lively destination throughout the year without ruining the turf for the football game.”

On Friday, the NFL team confirmed that it had hired Ingels’ firm, BIG, of Copenhagen and New York, to design its new stadium.

The team has not disclosed a location for the project. It is reportedly considering sites in Prince George’s County, Maryland; Loudoun County, Virginia; and the District of Columbia. The team currently plays at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, but has its headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia.

The stadium is one of many BIG projects featured in the 60 Minutes profile of Ingels, who was described as “the architect of the moment.” Safer referred to him as a starchitect, putting a heavy emphasis on the c-h in starch.

Other BIG projects shown on the program included the Google headquarters in California, the LEGO headquarters in Denmark, Two World Trade Center in New York, and Via 57 West,  the “courtscraper” project in Manhattan that is a combination of a skyscraper and a courtyard building.

Safer, 84, expressed admiration that Ingels, 41, is getting such large commissions even though he is relatively young. “A lot of people are willing to lay down millions of dollars for this kid,” he said.

Ingels told Safer he originally wanted to be a cartoonist but ended up studying architecture and became “smitten.” He said he is aware of the irony of his firm’s name, which stands for Bjarke Ingels Group.

“Denmark,” where he was born and started his firm, “is one of the smallest countries on the planet,” Ingels said. “There was something funny about calling a company BIG. If I started in America, I don’t think I would ever have named it BIG.”

Ingels said he was touched when he learned that a firefighter in New York thought of his stepped-tower design for Two World Trade Center as a “stairway to heaven,” evoking the staircases where first responders lost their lives in the 9/11 terror attacks.

“It’s probably the most watched skyline in the world,” he said of Manhattan. “So it’s a place where you better get it right.”

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