BIG news for downtown Pittsburgh: New York–based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), West 8 Landscape Architects, and Atelier Ten were tapped by private developers McCormack Baron Salazar and the Pittsburgh Penguins to create a master plan for 28 acres in Pittsburgh's Lower Hill District. Today, those plans were unveiled. The plan will redevelop public space around the erstwhile Civic Arena, build a new public space across from the Consol Energy Center, and dialogue with the city's vertiginous topography to create bike and pedestrian paths that connect the Hill District with Uptown and Downtown. In all, the New Lower Hill Master Plan calls for 1.2 million square feet of residential construction as well as 1.25 million square feet of retail and commercial space. The project is expected to break ground in 2016 and cost an estimated $500 million. “The master plan for the Lower Hill District is created by supplementing the existing street grid with a new network of parks and paths shaped to optimize the sloping hill side for human accessibility for all generations," Bjarke Ingels, BIG's founding partner, explained in a statement. "The paths are turned and twisted to always find a gentle sloping path leading pedestrians and bicyclists comfortably up and down the hillside. The resulting urban fabric combines a green network of effortless circulation with a quirky character reminiscent of a historical downtown. Topography and accessibility merging to create a unique new part of Pittsburgh." Landscape architects West 8 designed terraced parks and walkways informed by granite outcroppings characteristic of the surrounding Allegheny Mountains. Engineers and environmental design consultants at Atelier Ten developed sustainability guidelines that will encourage district heating and cooling, as well a stormwater retention for on-site irrigation. See the gallery for more master plan images and schematic diagrams.
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In Lego's hometown of Billund, Denmark, 3,000 residents came together to celebrate the topping out of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) Lego House. Devoted to the international company, the buildings modular aesthetic is derived from the signature Lego toy bricks. The 3,000 were invited on a tour of the Lego House construction site that, when finished, will be comprised of 21 enormous Lego bricks built on top of each other. So far, the structure has been a year in the making, and, despite dancing with a potentially cliché typology, BIG has artfully avoided designing a brick built "duck" of a building. The building features what Ingels calls a "keystone"—its topmost mass—in the form of a oversized standard 2x4 Lego brick. This space will act as a social hub and experience center for the local community. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTWdjqp-MoQ Rising just over 75 feet high and occupying a 2.9 acres, the predominantly white concrete structure will make use of many colorful terrace spaces, some of which feature green roofs as well as housing a central public square. The main feature of the Lego House will be four "play zones" for paying visitors. These zones, Lego said, "will offer guests unique Lego experiences, inviting them to use their minds as well as their hands." Within these spaces, users can engage and build with the Lego bricks, telling stories and expressing themselves through the block-based medium. In another zone, visitors will view the story of the Lego family, showcasing the development of the company and its products. The Lego House is also one of the company's contributions to the goal of making Billund the "Capital of Children." (More info on that goal can be seen here.) The last brick is due to be laid in mid-2017.
Bjarke Ingels receives LafargeHolcim Global Bronze Prize for his work to make a more resilient Manhattan
The LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction has recognized New York City's commitment to progressive and resilient solutions by awarding Danish architect Bjarke Ingels of his eponymous firm BIG the Global Bronze Prize. AN was on hand as Ingels and company accepted the award. https://vimeo.com/117303273 Having been extensively covered by AN, it has become common knowledge that BIG’s plan to wrap Lower Manhattan in a landscape berm, known as "The BIG U" keeping floodwaters at bay has been accoladed left, right, and center. As a response to the Rebuild By Design competition organized by the federal Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), BIG's winning scheme called for a piece of what Ingels called "resiliency infrastructure" to give the project a strong social context. The Rebuild competition offered incentives to develop urban protection strategies in post–Hurricane Sandy world. Ingels touched on this at the ceremony when he talked about questions the BIG team asked themselves when developing the project. "Could we imagine a way that this resilience infrastructure wouldn't create a see wall that would segregate the life of the city from the water around it?" Ingels asked the crowd. Speaking about when Sandy hit in 2012, Ingels recalled: "Even my office was without power for two weeks, and we were the lucky ones!" The scheme has also been dubbed The Dry Line, referencing the High Line linear park in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. "Maybe we can learn from the High Line...which has become one of the most popular promenades in the city," Ingels said. He noted that in the case of the High Line, the infrastructure itself had been decommissioned and has since manifested its way into city life. "What if [we] don't have to wait for the infrastructure to be decommissioned?" He continued. "What if we can design the resiliency infrastructure of Manhattan so it comes with intended social and environmental side effects that are positive?" Ingels has attempted to answer these questions in his scheme for Lower Manhattan. Despite being in the process of realization, the project will take a lot of extensive collaboration and planning to be a success. If realized, here's what we can expect life on the Dry Line to be like: https://vimeo.com/90759287
https://vimeo.com/137783144 Communications firm Darkhorse deployed a drone with a camera to create a stunning video of VIA 57 West, Bjarke Ingels Group's first New York City building. At 467 feet tall, the building has been dubbed a "courtscraper" for combining elements of a Manhattan high rise with a perimeter block program. The building is expected to be complete later this year.
High-Style Hacks: Bjarke Ingels, Henning Larsen, and Norm Architects tweak an Ikea flat-pack classic
Danish kitchen purveyor Reform has enlisted Bjarke Ingels, Henning Larsen Architects, and Norm Architects to put their spin on a mainstay of Ikea's kitchen designs, the Metod. While the architects' work is confined to surface treatments and small details, the results definitely elevate the kitchen above the generic flat-pack model. Bjarke Ingles and BIG added a loop of seatbelt webbing to the drawers and doors. Henning Larsen Architects accented the cabinets with strips of contrasting or coordinating metal. Norm Architects created a waterfall counter to frame door/drawer panels made of bronzed tombac, fiber-concrete, or smoked or sawn oak. The kitchens will be available in September 2015.
Google trumped (for once) by LinkedIn, leaving Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick swoopy plans in limbo
Mountain View, California's city council has decided that LinkedIn and not Google will be able to develop the majority of its North Bayshore area, leaving Google's ambitious plans by Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick in jeopardy. According to Silicon Valley Business Journal, LinkedIn will be able to develop 1.4 million square feet of the 2.2 million square feet of the area's available commercial space, leaving Google with enough room for only one piece of its four-part plan. “I’m not sure how I make any of this economically viable with one building,” David Radcliffe, vice president of real estate and workplace services for Google, told the council. Google's four structures were to be draped in glass canopies and connected by walking trails. plazas, community gardens and oak groves. Now they may face the same fate as Google's former plans for a new Leed Platinum campus in Mountain View's Charleston East area by Ingenhoven Architects and SHoP Architects, which were proposed in 2012 and 2008, respectively. According to public documents, LinkedIn's plans (left), designed by Studios Architecture (the firm that, ironically, designed the building that currently serves as Google's main headquarters) call for six office buildings, a new theater, health club, and a retail street. LinkedIn's rectilinear site plan is much more conventional than Google's looping, twisting, and intertwining complex would have been. Most of the office buildings would surround a public space called "The Green." According to the Business Journal, the decision does not approve LinkedIn’s project, rather "it merely gives the company the green light to turn in formal plans." So this saga isn't over yet.
Bjarke Ingels might be using his talents to embellish another European power plant. With his ski slope-topped waste-to-energy plant underway in Copenhagen, the Danish designer has unveiled plans for a biomass cogeneration plant in Uppsala, Sweden. DesignBoom reported that city officials asked Ingels to design the facility that would supplement the region's energy infrastructure during the winter. Since the building will not be used during the summer, BIG opted to create a colorful public amenity. That meant topping the plant in a geodesic rainbow dome which gives the whole thing a very funkadelic greenhouse-y feel.
LEGO Architecture has released a new box set—and from the looks of it, this isn't your grandmother’s architectural plaything. The new LEGO set is not the usual plastic-brick model of Rockefeller Center or the Empire State Building. No, this new set is cutting-edge. It goes where no other LEGO box set has gone before: it's a replica of an icon so iconic that it doesn’t even exist yet. It’s a limited-edition replica of the Bjarke Ingels–designed LEGO Museum in the company’s birthplace of Billund, Denmark. Spotted by John Hill at A Daily Dose of Architecture and selling on eBay for well over $100, the set also features what appears to be a shaggy-haired Bjarke Ingels figurine, which would place him in the company of Yoda, the Lone Ranger, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as icons that have also been shrunk to LEGO-sized proportions. Hill described the set as "LEGO imitating architecture imitating LEGO," a reference to BIG's clear inspiration for the LEGO House. A video-rendering of the project (above) might even double as an assembly guide for the LEGO Architecture Series set. The real LEGO House will be a blocky, 82,000-square-foot exhibition space designed to celebrate the toy’s history. BIG's real-life museum isn't projected to open until 2016, so if you buy the set now, you'll probably beat Bjarke to the finish line.
In early April, the ten finalists in the Rebuild By Design competition unveiled their proposals to protect the Tri-state region from the next Sandy. And in the near future, a jury will select a winner—or winners—to receive federal funding to pursue their plans. But before that final announcement is made, AN is taking a closer look at each of the final ten proposals. Here's BIG's "Big U" that could save Lower Manhattan from the next superstorm. Team BIG encased Lower Manhattan in the "Big U," a ring of flood protection measures and community and recreational programming. The 10-mile system is separated into compartments that provide unique storm mitigation strategies and programming for the distinct communities along Manhattan's outer edge. On the East Side, the Bridging Berm protects against future storms and provides access to riverfront parkland when the waters are calm. Underneath the FDR Expressway, BIG would install panels that are decorated by local artists and can be deployed as storm-walls when necessary. A new berm in Battery Park would protect the country's financial center and provide a new pathway through the already popular public space. And an existing Coast Guard building is replaced with a "reverse aquarium," which "enables visitors to observe tidal variations and sea level rise while providing a flood barrier." The team includes One Architecture, Starr Whitehouse, James Lima Planning + Development, Project Projects, Green Shield Ecology, AEA Consulting, Level Agency for Infrastructure, Arcadis, and the Parsons School of Constructed Environments.
Despite winning the Kimball Art Center renovation commission in February of last year, Bjarke Ingels Group’s design proposal is far from beginning construction in Park City, Utah. After a seven-member jury of officials, architects, and a Park City resident chose the BIG museum revamp from a shortlist of designs from several prominent firms, the public made their dissatisfaction clear. The building is on hold and without community approval it will continue to sit in stasis for an indeterminable amount of time. Rendered as a twisted timber box, BIG’s transformed Kimball Art Center is a “highly-evolved log cabin at an unprecedented scale.” Its wood construction alludes to the building materials used by miners, the area’s first settlers, and the proposed 80-foot height is congruent with an iconic heritage monument that once stood near the site. These architectural intentions do not appease nor appeal to Park City residents. Scott Iwasaki of “The Park Record” reported that some neighbors have complained BIG’s design does not fit with its historic locale while others are worried the tall structure will decrease surrounding property values. Concerns have been so severe that the art gallery’s Board of Directors chose not to submit the plan for a city review, the first step in building construction approval, even after the jury spent six months deliberating a design competition winner. The Board did make a pre-application to Park City’s Historic District Design Review, although this will have no effect on the status of the eventual renovation. Their next move, however, is uncertain. Repeating the competition process for a new design is an option, Kimball Art Center Chairman Matt Mullin said but its subsequent timeline extension would not be ideal. The renovation is meant to provide space to expand the Kimball’s art education classes and until the Park City community is content with the design, its present pause will endure.
Something BIG is coming to Harlem. According to the New York Post, Long Island–based Blumenfeld Development has hired the Bjarke Ingels Group to design a proposed residential project on East 125th street. The Danish and American architects have reportedly signed on to build a 200,000 square-foot apartment building on a site between Lexington and Third avenues, known as Gotham Plaza, which currently contains a decade-old DMV building. While renderings have yet to be unleashed, judging from Bjarke’s incoming West 57 project, we can surely expect something exciting from the 200-unit apartment building, 20 percent of which will be affordable.
The Nobel Foundation, the body that administers all activities involved in the delivery of the prestigious Nobel Prize, has shortlisted 12 architecture firms to partake in an international design competition for the new headquarters in Blasieholmen, Stockholm. In addition to providing a global headquarters, the establishment will also include a visitors center where the public can explore the natural sciences, humanities, and peace efforts of the United Nations. One of the key factors for the Foundation in selecting the architects to participate involved "their ability to work in intricate urban environments where historical context and the natural environment must be considered with sensitivity." The 12 selected firms include: - 3XN, Denmark - BIG, Denmark - Herzog & de Meuron, Switzerland - Johan Celsing Arkitektkontor, Sweden - Lacaton & Vassal Architectes, France - Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter, Denmark - Marcel Meili, Markus Peter Architekten, Switzerland - OMA, Netherlands - SANAA, Japan - Snøhetta, Norway - Wingårdhs arkitekter, Sweden. - David Chipperfield Architects, England/Germany. At this stage of the competition, all submitted entries are anonymous, and the renderings are available in a public exhibition at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm. The winning design proposal will be announced during the spring of 2014. The design proposals: