Posts tagged with "BIG":

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Bjarke Ingels, WSJ Architecture Innovator of the Year

If Bjarke Ingelsascension into starchitecture hasn't been dramatic enough, the Danish architect is again moving up in the world. On Friday, Ingels' firm BIG threw a party to christen their new office space in Manhattan. BIG has expanded its Chelsea presence, moving up from the third to the twelfth floor of the Starrett-Lehigh Building. A press preview of the new space preceded the party a couple floors above. Among those in attendance were Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, who earlier this month awarded Ingels the $90,000 Culture Prize—the MacArthur of Scandinavia—for his emerging work in architecture. Now it looks like Ingels' October has just been getting started. The Wall Street Journal Magazine will declare the Danish architect among its inaugural Innovators of the Year. Bjarke, seemingly by-passing starchitect status directly to super-starchitect, wins in the architecture category for "his wildly expressive structures, including the radical re-imagining of the New York high-rise apartment building, his commitment to sustainability and his philosophy of 'pragmatic utopianism.'" Richard Wurman, architect, author, and founder of the TED conferences (at which Bjarke has spoken) will present the trailblazing award to Ingels this Thursday at the Museum of Modern Art. No word yet on whether royalty will be in attendance. Ai Weiwei took the innovator award for art, Katie Grand for fashion, Elon Musk for technology, Steve Ells for food, Joris Laarman for design, and Bill Gates' and Warren Buffett's The Giving Pledge for philanthropy. Profiles of each of these Innovators of the Year will be featured in the October 29 issue of WSJ Magazine.
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Galloping Gallatin: NYU Exhibition is Out There

It happened suddenly, as if out of nowhere: NYU’s Gallatin opened Global Design/Elsewhere Envisioned, an exhibition that comes with two symposia, is described as an initiative, and some hope might just morph into a new school of architecture. A large crowd was on hand for Jesse Reiser of Reiser/Umemoto’s keynote about four far-afield projects. At the reception afterwards, the crowd milled around an installation of some 20 models sitting atop a pile of cleverly laser-cut white poly-foam pieces stacked in interlocking massifs shaped as Manhattan; the bio-paisley pieces can be unlocked and used as package peanuts when the models are shipped on to NYU satellites around the world. Open through June 15, the diverse display included BIG’s 57th Street condo; Reiser Uemototo’s 0-14 in Dubai, mercury-colored droplets by Evan Douglis; 3D-printed green mystery blocks from Urban Future’s The VeryMany, video demonstrations of Decker Yeadon’s Homeostatic Façade System enabled by artificial muscles, WORKac's infrastructure-containing Plug-Out housing proposal, and others, all requiring more focus than possible with a glass of wine in hand. The show was variously referred to as a marvelous and all-too-rare look at assorted contemporary efforts or as the friends-of-Mitch collection. Mitch being Mitchell Joachim, co-fonder of Planetary One who was appointed in the past year together with Louise Harpman of Specht Harpman in New York and Texas and Peder Anker, historian of ecology to get “leading-edge architects, designers, and theorists to address design issues that affect global ecology and the environment.”  (More professorship appointments are expected. Hopeful contenders were in the crowd.) Joachim contributed several pieces to the show including a myco-model of the New Museum made from a mushroom grown in seven days under Plexiglas. Stay tuned for Symposium 2 on June 10 when BIG’s Bjarke Ingels is supposed to talk about individual responsibility in the face of climate crisis, presumably against a backdrop of slides of his work.
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QUICK CLICKS> Human Helicopter, Enchanted Mosque, Getty Leads, Suburbia

60 Seconds Helicopter. The Sikorsky Prize is legendary, for it has not yet been awarded--it's still awaiting its first winner, whose human-powered helicopter will reach an altitude of 3 meters (10 feet) during a flight lasting at least 60 seconds, while remaining in a 10 meter square (32.8 foot square). But Inhabitat reports that if things go as planned, a team of students from the University of Maryland may be taking home the prize with their human-powered flying machine, the Gamera. BIG's beautified universe. Metropolis deconstructs the renderings of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)'s latest project: a mosque complex in Tirana, Albania. While the thoughtful octagonal design (an overlap of the Mecca orientation and Tirana's urban grid) may have put BIG in front of the competition, one can't help wonder if the seductive juxtaposition of photo-realism and and benign atmospheric glow in BIG's renderings may be the secret to the firm's running marathon of competition wins. More Getty Trust. Christopher Knight at  The Los Angeles Times raises a good point regarding the J. Paul Getty Trust's appointment of James Cuno, currently director of the Art Institute of Chicago, as Trust president and chief executive: It might be a brilliant idea to appoint him to the directorship for the Getty Museum, finally merging the two positions. Suburbia Objectified? Allison Arieff of The New York Times comments on the recently launched Open House, a collaborative project in which the Dutch design collective Droog and Diller Scofidio + Renfro architects imagined "future suburbia." She laments that the project missed the point-- by treating a real place (Levittown) as a "perfect blank canvas" and dodging "the real issues."    
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A really BIG mosque

Just when you thought  architecture juggernaut Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG couldn't win YET another commission in YET another country... the firm announced yesterday that it had beat out competitors including Zaha Hadid to lead the construction of a new cultural center in Albania's capital, Tirana. The complex will consist of a mosque, an Islamic Centre, and a Museum of Religious Harmony. The design team is made up of BIG, Martha Schwartz Landscape, Buro Happold, Speirs & Major lighting, Lutzenberger & Lutzenberger, and Global Cultural Asset Management. A triangular site plan is divided into the three main components, all carved away to form a central plaza oriented toward Mecca. The public plaza, among other things, is meant to make the religion more "inclusive and inviting," the firm said in a statement. And since it's located next to the city's newly-completed Orthodox and Catholic Cathedrals, it makes Tirana "an example for the rest of the world as a global capital of religious harmony." Nobody said BIG didn't aim high... If you'd like a closer look the team has (of course) put together a video of their proposal, with music by The XX.  
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BIG’s First Step into the Final Frontier

BIG won’t let its ambitions be impeded by the laws of physics--namely, gravity. For a competition to plan and design the area around the Hjulsta Intersection, a massive highway infrastructure project just north of Stockholm, BIG teamed up with firms Grontji and Spacescape to create “Energy Valley,” and their winning master plan addresses not only the area around the highway interchange but also above it. The plan's surreal defining feature is “a reflective, self‐sustaining hovering sphere mirroring Stockholm as it is, new and old, creating a 180 degree view of the area for the drivers on their way in or out of the city.” Covered with photovoltaic film and tethered to the ground, this mysterious giant orb would supposedly generate enough solar and wind power to keep itself aloft while also providing power for over 200 surrounding houses. The orb floats above a man-made valley that incorporates a variety of natural environments, from forests to wetlands. “The Energy Valley is a cross‐over between urbanism, landscape, architecture, art, and infrastructure into a new neighborhood of Stockholm. Harnessing the momentum of the massive investment in tunnels and highways and putting the excess excavation to use as a man‐made valley, we create an interdisciplinary hybrid of logistic, economic, environmental and social infrastructure,” said BIG founder Bjarke Ingels. Oh, yes, there's a bike path, too. In the invited competition BIG beat out the Norwegian landscape firm Snøhetta, Danish landscape architect Kristine Jensen, and the Swedish firm Erik Giudice Architects. The scheme certainly fits Ingels' “hedonistic sustainability” approach, but if this fantastical idea actually comes to pass, we’re betting his future work will leave earth behind altogether for the final frontier.
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Ride Bjarke Ride

Last night we enjoyed a sold-out lecture at LACMA by the force that is Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. At age 36 the founder of BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has accomplished more than most architects do in their lifetimes. How does he do it? We're still trying to figure that out. Here are a few theories: 1.) He acts on every smart and/or crazy impulse and actually follows through. 2.) He marries utopian ideas with pragmatism 3.) He's an amazing speaker and marketer. 4.) He seems to have more energy than just about anyone. Take for example, the video (after the jump) of Ingels riding a bike through his spiral-shaped Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo. What better way to show off his architecture and his boundless energy. Genius. Stay tuned for our interview with Ingels, coming soon...
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Community Board 4 Welcomes Bjarke to New York

Bjarke Ingels' star-studded ascendancy to New York architecture fame was checked last night as Community Board 4's land-use committee had its first look at Durst Fettner Residential's planned W57 tower in Hell's Kitchen. Already sobered by a two-hour discussion of planned zoning changes only blocks from BIG's courtyard-skyscraper hybrid, the board quietly sat through Ingels' signature multimedia show detailing the strenuous process that guided the sloping tower's design. A light crowd filled the room, with the Durst contingency of architects and developers huddled in the back corner awaiting their turn in the spotlight. After a quick shuffle to reorient the room to the wall-projected presentation--a move requiring Councilwoman Gale Brewer to reluctantly switch seats--Douglas Durst introduced his starchitect: "We've been getting a lot of media attention lately thanks to our swashbuckling architect." And how! But Durst was clearly impressed with his new building, "After many false starts, I think we've finally found a winner." After a brief review of BIG's built work, a barrage of immaculately detailed renderings, and a slick fly-by video of a traffic-free West Side Highway, the board got down to work dissecting the project in detail, immediately jumping onto the buildings signature form. "Is this thing visible from outer space?" one board member jabbed. "When is it approved for take-off?" chimed another. Such a reaction is what Durst anticipated from the introductory meeting. The night's presentation served as a preemptive discussion to take off the building's edge and move the conversation on to the nuts and bolts of development. The Durst and Ingels team responded to clarify questions about W57, suggesting a 130,000 square foot cultural space could be filled by the International Center for Photography, including a small photography school and showroom. The team said they were looking for a "real" grocery as a 30,000 square foot anchor tenant along the river. The remaining retail space would contain small stores to maximize sidewalk life. "West 57 defines the urban perimeter," Ingels told AN in a telephone interview this week. With its adjacency to the Hudson River greenway, "It's an interesting hybrid between public and private spaces." The central courtyard is elevated two floors, allowing treetops in the courtyard to be seen from the park while providing views of the waterfront. Ingels explained that W57's manipulation of the floor area ratio (FAR) allowed him to insert the courtyard. "We flooded the entire FAR at the base and chose to distribute it differently as the tower rises, shifting the center of gravity to the east." Still, the community board pressed their tripartite concerns of contextual sensitivity, affordable housing, and green space. Board members were unsure that W57 was about Hell's Kitchen. "What can you offer the community besides iconic architecture that could be plopped down in Milwaukee or Sante Fe?" one board member asked. Others disliked a proposed driveway between W57 and Durst's already-built Helena tower next door, worrying it would set the building off from the city like an island. Some took issue with the building's 450-foot pinnacle-height, saying it would overwhelm 58th Street, but Ingels insisted that the steep slope of the building would mitigate the height's impact. Always a sticking point with new residential projects, community members requested that 20 percent of affordable housing proposed by Durst for the 650 to 700 unit tower to remain affordable in perpetuity, a condition the developer has not agreed to. Brewer said the community would fight for increased green space, since the central courtyard is planned for residents only. "The building looks lovely," she said. "But what green can the public get into?" When Ingels and Durst struggled to answer, she replied, "As time goes on, that might be an issue...We're a pain-in-the-neck neighborhood." For the board, adjacency to the Hudson River greenway is not enough. No decisions were made at the introductory meeting and W57 must still undergo a series of approvals including gaining proper zoning to allow a residential tower on the site in the first place.
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Unveiled> BIG Wins Again in Greenland

Bjarke Ingels continues his relentless forward march toward world domination, winning yet another project, this time a gallery in Nuuk, Greenland. With so many recent mountains, it appears BIG has moved on to new iconographies inspired by land art, a barnacle perhaps? The Greenland National Gallery is a low, doughnut-shaped structure hugging a difficult terrain on a dramatic fjord. BIG's entry beat a number of firms including Norwegian Snøhetta, Finnish Heikkinen-Komonen, Islandic Studio Granda and Greenlandic Tegnestuen Nuuk. “The Danish functionalistic architecture in Nuuk is typically square boxes which ignore the unique nature of Greenland. We therefore propose a national gallery which is both physically and visually in harmony with the dramatic nature, just like life in Greenland is a symbiosis of the nature. We have created a simple, functional and symbolic shape, where the perfect circle is supplied by the local topography which creates a unique hybrid between the abstract shape and the specific location”, Bjarke Ingels said in a release. Visitors enter the building under a slight lift in the building's facade facing a panoramic view of the waterfront. The building itself is a perfect circle surrounding an interior sculpture courtyard forming a hybrid focal point of culture and nature. BIG says the layout enables flexible gallery arrangements.
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Video> Amazingly BIG Fly-By at 57th Street Tower

We told you this morning about new details surrounding the Durst Fetner Residential's Bjarke Ingels-designed West 57th Street tower, but now there so much more to share. BIG's Danish office has released additional renderings, detailing Manhattan's surf-and-turf hybrid tower in all it's mountainous glory. And you won't want to miss the fly-by video, either! As Bjarke Ingels has said before, West 57 is all about typological diversity, combining elements through what he calls his Manifesto of Bigamy. Ingels' design language is apparent in his first American design beyond the obvious mountain and sailboat references of its overall form. Equally iconic moves include meticulously crafted views shaped by the central courtyard and a jagged floor plan that creates a highly textured facade. At 467-feet tall, West 57 is slated to contain over 600 residential units, including 20 percent of units marked as affordable. Durst, developer of the LEED-Platinum One Bryant Park Tower, also plans to push for LEED Gold in Hell's Kitchen. “New York is rapidly becoming an increasingly green and livable city. The transformation of the Hudson River waterfront and the Highline into green parks, the ongoing effort to plant a million trees, the pedestrianization of Broadway and the creation of more miles of bicycle lanes than the entire city of my native Copenhagen are all evidence of urban oases appearing all over the city. With West 57th we attempt to continue this transformation into the heart of the city fabric – into the center of a city block,” Bjarke Ingels said in today's release.
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Unveiled> BIG News From Hell′s Kitchen

Surf-and-turf sure is delicious! We've been eagerly awaiting news from Bjarke Ingels' New York debut on 57th Street in Hell's Kitchen, and today, the Durst Organization, project developer, has released new details of New York's mountain-to-be. New York magazine got the exclusive, this weekend revealing a new rendering of the 450-foot-tall apartment tower poised to redefine the architecture of the stodgy box. Last month, Ingels was guarded in discussing his ambitious plans for New York, but he wasn't kidding when he told AN of his intention to wed the traditional European courtyard block with an American skyscraper. And appropriate to Ingels' emerging philosophy of "bigamy," exemplified by the classic American surf-and-turf, the new tower simultaneously resembles a snow-capped mountain peak and a white-sailed vessel docked on Manhattan's west side. 57th Street's form responds to disparate site conditions with requisite thought and artistry of any BIG project. Ingels told NY magazine that the building's form pushes for a "blatant" connection to the Hudson River greenway while responding to multiple challenges on a site clinging to its industrial past, including adjacency to an elevated highway and a parking garage for garbage trucks. The tower slopes and twists to avoid blocking views while also reducing traffic noise. Just as Ingels promised, the tower features a lush, landscaped courtyard sliced into the middle of the rising mountainside, forming a sort of soft, green oasis along the building's sharp ascent. Balconies have also been pierced into the facade in a similar manner. The design still faces a series of regulatory hurdles in coming months, beginning with a community board meeting this Wednesday. We'll be watching Ingels closely, so stay tuned for a mountain of updates!
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Unveiled> BIG Designs a Power Plant That Loves You

Where one architect might see an incinerator, Bjarke Ingels, principal at Dutch firm BIG, envisions a ski slope. Ingels has been fond of the mountain typology and he hasn't been all that subtle about it, giving projects names like Mountain Dwellings and emblazoning Mount Everest on the side. In his latest competition-winning proposal for Copenhagen, BIG takes the concept one step further, with a mountain you can actually ski down. Perhaps more accurately, the $645 million waste-to-energy facility is a volcano, periodically spewing smoke rings from its summit every time one ton of CO2 has been released into the atmosphere. BIG (with realities:united, AKT, Topotek 1, and Man Made Land) clad the building with a modular grid of planters and windows resembling oversize bricks. The rooftop "snow" will actually be made of a synthetic granular material that “The new plant is an example of what we at BIG call Hedonistic Sustainability – the idea that sustainability is not a burden, but that a sustainable city in fact can improve our quality of life," said Bjarke Ingels in a statement. "The Waste-to-Energy plant with a ski slope is the best example of a city and a building which is both ecologically, economically and socially sustainable.” While the sheer industrial scale of power plants often captures the imagination of many architects, the notion that a power plant might invite its city to approach and interact, even ski on top of it, is so new it borders on absurd, but we have to agree with David Zahle, partner at BIG, who said in a statement, "I can’t wait to ski on a base of clean and green energy with a view over the city in 2016.”
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Report: World Architecture Festival

The World Architecture Festival in Barcelona is in its second day and it's great seeing New Yorkers doing so well in this international competition. Marion and Michael (Weiss/Manfredi) won for their spectacular Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle and Snohetta (OK via Norway) for their Oslo Opera House. I was on the housing jury and we were presented with 13 strong projects: high rise towers, smaller garden apartments (some with a mix of market rate flats) and a ten unit housing scheme in the shape of a slithering garden snake. Except for the bizarre snake these were all different types of public housing. I am not sure why an American would be selected for this jury but seeing these 'social' projects was inspiring. It gives one hope we can do decent housing in this country for someone other than just the rich (Come on Barack, pull this thing out!). We gave our award to Mountain Dwellings in Denmark by the Bjarke Ingels Group (top). It's a great project but also have a look Adelaide Wharf by Allford Hall Monaghen Morris in Hackney, London (above). And what can I say about the snake??