Posts tagged with "BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group":

BIG’s Bronx police station breaks ground as crime rate spikes in area

The New York City Mayor’s Office canceled the scheduled public groundbreaking of the already-in-construction 40th Precinct Station and instead held a press conference addressing the recent spike in crime in the Bronx and how the new building might help create a more secure and equitable borough. “While crime is at a record low in New York City, there is still more work to do to ensure that every New Yorker feels safe in their neighborhood,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “This new precinct will strengthen the bond between community and police, which will ultimately help make the South Bronx and our City safer.” According to newly released crime statistics from the New York Police Department (NYPD), murders have nearly doubled in the borough in the first half of 2018. Already 51 people have been killed compared to 26 reported homicides in the first half of 2017. Eight of the recent homicides occurred in the 40th Precinct, whereas two happened in the district in 2017. Officials hope the new facility, which will serve the South Bronx neighborhoods of Mott Haven, Port Morris, and Melrose, will encourage local residents and the police to work together to bring down such crime in the community. The new Bjarke Ingels Group-designed station will sit at the corner of St. Ann’s Avenue at 547 East 148th Street, just two blocks from one of the most heavily foot-trafficked sites in the city. It will replace the precinct’s current home, a Renaissance Revival structure built in 1922, and move the squad closer to the center of activity in the South Bronx. During this morning’s press hearing, City Council member Rafael Salamanca Jr. noted that the location of the new facility will enhance police presence and oversight near The Hub, the aforementioned busy intersection stocked with retail, restaurants, and mass transit. “I’m thrilled that the new 40th Precinct will be housed in my district,” he said, “and that it will be a much-needed resource near The Hub, which is ground zero for the opioid crisis happening in our city.” The 42,000-square-foot station will feature three levels of space dedicated to officer training, physical fitness, storage, maintenance of gear and vehicles, and the first-ever community events space built in an NYPD facility. This addition to the structure is expected to enhance transparency and communication between the police and the local residents. “Our message to New York going forward is that this is your station house,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. “We were working in a century-old building that was designed for century-old policing methods. Now we're changing that with a modern facility made for modern, neighborhood policing. Everyone should take pride in not only the jobs they do but where they do them.” Initial plans to design the new building began 10 years ago when the city first tapped Alexander Gorlin Architects to envision the station. After BIG took over the project through the New York Department of Design and Construction's Design Excellence Program, plans to build were finally filed in 2017 to the buildings department. Partial approval was given as of May 1 this year and construction began a few weeks ago, according to the DDC. The $68 million station is expected to be complete in spring 2021.

BIG designs customizable cabin in Upstate New York

BIG has designed and built in Upstate New York a prototypical cabin, known as A45, that can be constructed in any location within four-to-six months. Home company Klein commissioned the prototype, and the company plans that homeowners will be able to order, tailor, and customize the unit to suit their individual needs. The design is inspired by traditional A-frame cabins, which feature a pitched roof and angled walls that facilitate rain runoff and construction. The design for A45 was created by taking a square base and twisting the roof 45 degrees, resulting in a crystal-like shape that soars to 13 feet in height. The footprint of the tiny cabin is only around 180 square feet, but contains all of the essentials: an open-plan living and sleeping area, a small cooktop, bath, and lofted area. The house is finished with Douglas fir floors and natural cork walls. The exposed timber frame in solid pine adds to the outside-in feeling of living in the woods. A star-studded team put together the details of the house. The fireplace is designed by Danish wood-burning stove brand Morsøe, while the kitchen is done by Nordic furniture maker Københavns Møbelsnedkeri. Handcrafted furniture is produced by Danish workshop Carl Hansen, and the bed is fitted by Finnish designer Søren Rose Studio finished with Kvadrat fabric. VOLA-designed fixtures go elegantly with the bathroom made of cedar wood. The unit is composed of 100% recyclable modules that are assembled on site. The house is elevated off the ground by four concrete piers so that inhabitants can place it in challenging landscapes without the use of heavy machinery.  

Adjaye, BIG and DS+R reveal shortlist designs for Adelaide Contemporary

On May 11, Arts South Australia’s design jury revealed the design proposals from the six shortlisted teams selected in the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition, a planned art gallery and sculpture park in Adelaide, Australia. The 160,000 square-foot Adelaide Contemporary will house a significant portion of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s 42,000 piece collection, which currently only has a fraction on display due to a lack of space. The museum will draw upon its substantial Aboriginal collection to create the Gallery of Time, which will combine indigenous pieces with European and Asian works. This shortlist's designs follow.  Adjaye Associates & BVN’s design draws upon Aboriginal vernacular architecture through the use of a surrounding canopy, providing shade in one of the more arid corners of the country. With the canopy screening significant portions of the four elevations, the design will largely use skylights and balconies to filter natural light into the central atrium and stairwell. With a twisting, serpentine layout, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) & JPE’s proposal is inspired by Aboriginal sand painting, which often embeds abstract natural elements within a landscape. Through the use of rooftop landscaping, the team hopes to integrate their design with the adjacent Botanic Garden. David Chipperfield and SJB Architects’ is the only timber structure proposal. The principal elevations are composed of wooden screens, and the structure is topped by sloped roofs. In a statement, Diller Scofidio+Renfro & Woods Bagot describe their proposal as a “matrix of unique spaces unbound by disciplinary categories range in size, height, infrastructure, and light quality.” The bulk of exhibition space is located on the second story, which is cantilevered over an outdoor gallery and public square. Hassell & SO-IL incorporate a central plaza into their design proposal, which the team describes as an attempt to bring “nature, art, and people together.” The central plaza serves as a circulation node and public square connecting the gallery’s semi-independent spaces, which are further laced together by a draped, metal brise-soleil. Khai Liew, Ryue Nishizawa & Durbach Block Jaggers proposal consists of a sweeping, perforated canopy supported by a series of pilotis. Beneath the canopy, the site is split roughly evenly between park and curatorial space, the latter presenting sweeping views of the adjacent Botanic Garden. Arts South Australia’s design jury will meet again in May, with a winner expected to be announced in June.

A closer look at BIG’s rotating towers on the High Line

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Bjarke Ingels Group’s twin rotating towers are under construction along the High Line in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The Eleventh (also known as the XI) will include luxury residences, multiple restaurants, retail, an art area and a new public promenade adjacent to The High Line. The project joins nearby buildings by Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, and Renzo Piano, among others.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer Pioneer Window MFG. Corp.
  • Architects Bjarke Ingels Group, Woods Bagot
  • Facade Installer Pioneer Window MFG. Corp.
  • Facade Consultants GMS (Building Envelope), Entek Engineering (Facade Maintenance)
  • Location New York City, NY
  • Date of Completion 2018 (in progress)
  • System Travertine composite panels, unitized curtain wall system
  • Products Custom fabricated  travertine panels with honeycomb backing by TerraCORE Panels and unitized curtain wall windows with bronze finish
The two towers, one each on the east (No. X) and west (No. I) portion of the site, will rise to 300 feet and 400 feet, respectively. Each are clad in a travertine composite facade expressive of the underlying concrete structure behind it, with expansive punched windows with a bronze finish. “With its punched windows and gridded structural facade, The Eleventh echoes the pragmatic rationality of the neighborhood’s historic warehouses, while its sculptural geometry gives it a kinship to the local arts community,” Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG, said in a statement. “The past and present of Chelsea [are] merging in a new hybrid identity.” The choice of materials helps the pair stand out among the surrounding concrete and steel structures. The facade combines high-performance composite technology with the durable travertine to reduce the dead load on the structure. The panels are composed of a thin layer of travertine with an aluminum honeycomb core which provided a lightweight solution and an easier fabrication and installation as an alternative to hand-cut travertine. The design contains multiple ruled surfaces which resulted in challenges in the process of detailing the facade system. The travertine is flat, rigid material and, as such, the facade required the ruled surfaces to be panelized with a roughly four-by-eight-foot grid. This arrangement resulted in a number of unique panel shapes and sizes. To follow the geometry, the panels are offset to one another and scaled. Since the travertine is one inch thick, the scaled panels require a travertine return to avoid any open gaps. During the design process, BIG and the facade consultants were forced to evaluate the travertine panel variation versus the window module size variation and, for various reasons, the window modules became the organizational device for the facade. Sitting within the geometry of the building is a series of unitized curtain wall windows that punch through the facade. While designing these apertures, BIG, alongside architect of record Woods Bagot and building envelope consultant GMS, looked at a unitized system which would be suspended in front of the floor slabs but, due to the complexity of the structure, the curtain wall will span between each slab. The unitized system is a structurally glazed, aluminum and glass curtain wall system with a bronze finish. As the renderings of the project show, the unitized system is met with an aluminum metal composite panel enclosure with the same bronze finish as the curtain wall. Due to the complexity of the facade, all elements were custom engineered and fabricated.

BIG proposes floating villages for San Francisco Bay

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled a speculative design proposal that aims—among many aspects—to populate the San Francisco Bay with floating villages as part of an effort to buttress the region against climate change–induced flooding. The proposal is undertaken with One Architecture + Urbanism (ONE) and Sherwood Design Engineers and is among a slate of ten newly-announced schemes generated for the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge, a regional competition aimed toward generating ideas for how to best protect the Bay Area from rising sea levels. Projections for the region call for a minimum of four feet in sea level rise under moderate warming conditions by 2100. The changes would bring flooding to the area much more frequently than is currently the case, a development that would devastate coastal communities. Many of those communities are built atop landfills over former marsh areas and tidal zones. BIG’s proposal takes two routes in its effort to achieve its ambitious goals. First, the plan calls for restoring Islais Creek—a stubby inlet on the San Francisco side of the Bay sandwiched between the Dogpatch and Hunters Point neighborhoods—as part a larger plan for retrofitting the entire San Francisco Bay’s edge. BIG’s conceptual masterplan for the San Francisco Bay envisions restoring the wetlands along the water’s edge lost to development while redistributing new population centers into the bay to create an urban archipelago connected by public ferries. The plan also proposes relocating and expanding the existing network of industrial, port, and warehouse activities into more compact configurations surrounded by trails, marshes, and parkland. The scheme also calls for modernizing a stretch of Interstate-101 as a “machine for autonomous collective transit,” as explained by BIG founder Bjarke Ingels in a presentation video. The plan would create a Bus Rapid Transit loop in the south Bay that will anchor and connect new density nodes. The plan would extend to the southern edges of the Bay, as well, where existing salt palm and tidal marsh areas will be revisioned into experimental urban agriculture zones. The proposal is joined by schemes from James Corner Field Operations and Hassell+, among other multidisciplinary groups, and follows a year-long research period that brought together designers, landscape architects, planners, politicians, and community activists from across the region. For more information, see the Resilient by Design: Bay area Challenge website.

BIG unveils first pro sports stadium for Austin

Austin Sports & Entertainment, together with New York–based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Austin-based STG Design, has released a first look at plans for its 1.3-million-square-foot, multipurpose collection of interlinked stadiums. The new East Austin District bills itself as Austin’s first pro-sports stadium and will host workspaces, convention space, retail, medical facilities, and a huge music arena. Anchored by a 40,000-seat stadium designed for soccer and rugby games and a connected 15,000-seat multipurpose arena, East Austin District will be a loose collection of buildings covered by a shared, latticed rooftop. The checkerboard roof, taking inspiration from the Jefferson Grid, will segment each area by function while still allowing visitors to experience a variety of indoor and outdoor programs. Resembling enormous, overlapping shingles, the red photovoltaic roof will allow the district to be self-sufficient, and eventually export electricity to the rest of eastern Austin once the infrastructure is in place. “Like a collective campus rather than a monolithic stadium, the East Austin District unifies all the elements of rodeo and soccer into a village of courtyards and canopies. Embracing Austin’s local character and culture, the East Austin District is a single destination composed of many smaller structures under one roof,” said Bjarke Ingels, BIG's founding partner. Although each building greatly differs in function, they’re united through all-wood interiors that reference Austin’s characteristic barns and porches. Eight outdoor courtyards are interspersed throughout the district, further highlighting the connection to Austin’s porch and patio culture. Expected to be used throughout the year, the outdoor spaces will host public parks and plazas, food trucks, and smaller concerts. While BIG’s plans for East Austin District are still conceptual, Austin Sports & Entertainment has been pushing to raise funding for the project, although they have declined to disclose the projected cost. If successful, the district would be built over the site of the annual Rodeo Austin with the event moving to the development’s secondary arena. “We are in active discussions with leading global sports and entertainment organizations, including our partner Rodeo Austin as well as various corporations, to serve as anchors to accelerate the goals of the Spirit of East Austin Forum,” said Sean Foley & Andrew Nestor, co-managing partners of Austin Sports & Entertainment, in a statement. If investors for the project can be found, construction is expected to begin in 2018 and finish by 2021.

2017 Best of Design Awards for Building of the Year – Southeast

2017 Best of Design Awards for Building of the Year – Southeast: Grove at Grand Bay Architect: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) Location: Coconut Grove, Florida Grove at Grand Bay, a pair of 20-story twisting glass towers located in Miami’s historic Coconut Grove neighborhood, marks BIG’s first condominium design completed in the United States. The 98-unit, sold-out development, which was also the first new residential project completed in Coconut Grove in over ten years, has helped lead the rejuvenation of the neighborhood—an area long known for its bohemian attitude and laid-back waterfront lifestyle. On first impression, the design appears to be a purely aesthetic move, conceived from the outside in; but in fact, the shapes of the Grove at Grand Bay towers were generated by inward necessities following an exhaustive study by the firm. The team searched for the ideal form that would allow maximum views for every unit in both buildings, gradually settling on two tornado-like towers to achieve the most effective orientation. “Developer-led housing can often be a bore, but the designers managed to breathe life into it. The client took a risk with the structural system, and the landscaping helps it meet the ground elegantly.”Matt Shaw, Senior Editor, The Architect's Newspaper (Juror)
Developer: Terra Landscape Architect: Raymond Jungles Executive Architect: Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates Structural Engineers: DeSimone Consulting Engineers LEED Building Consultant: The Spinnaker Group

BIG designs kindergarten for WeWork as the company expands into education

Fresh off the completion of the LEGO House in Billund, Denmark, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has embarked on a playful new school project for co-working company WeWork. Called “WeGrow,” WeWork is hoping to extend its reach into education with a pilot school near the company’s Manhattan headquarters. With an initial test class of seven students ranging from 5 to 8 years old, WeGrow wants to rapidly expand its micro-school to a class of 65 by next fall, and then to a full K-through-12 program soon after. Currently housed near the company’s Chelsea headquarters, WeGrow will join WeWork when it moves to the former Lord & Taylor building on 5th Avenue in 2019. A plan that ambitious requires a dedicated space, and BIG has revealed renderings for a WeGrow school full of soft, biomorphic forms. Pebble-shaped pillows can be stacked for adjustable seating, and swooping round reading areas are right at home among circular lighting fixtures, play areas and staircases. While BIG has tried to let in natural light by removing divider walls and creating open floors, the studio has left the underlying columns, beams and joists exposed for an industrial look. Bjarke Ingels described the design as tactile, and meant to encourage interactivity in an educational system that typically disparages experimentation. “What we’ve tried to do is undo the compartmentalization that you often find in a school environment,” said Ingels. While funding for WeGrow hasn’t been finalized, the initial plan may be to charge a market-comparable tuition on a sliding scale and potentially transition into a privately funded non-profit later on. Set to occupy its own section of the future headquarters, complete with a separate entrance, WeGrow hopes to use this first school as a jumping off point for eventually integrating a WeGrow space in every WeWork. Picturing a world where parents can head to the office with their children in tow, WeGrow is a logical next step for a company that also operates WeLive, a co-living space featuring fully furnished apartments, and Rise By We, a chain of wellness clubs. Adam Neumann, WeWork’s CEO, has stated that he eventually wants to expand into designing entire neighborhoods. WeGrow, in their own words, has claimed the ambitious goal of trying to eventually educate people “from birth to death.”

Air rights locked down for BIG’s spiral tower in Hudson Yards

At a buy of $157 million, New York–based developer Tishman Speyer secured the final air rights it needed for The Spiral, a massive new BIG building in Hudson Yards. The green-ribboned glass monolith, which will top out at 65 stories with a $3.2 billion price tag, acquired the rights from lots around the Eastern Rail Yards owned by the Hudson Yards Development Corporation. Pfizer, the New York–based pharmaceutical mammoth, will be the tower's primary tenant, and has already inked a deal to rent out 800,000 square feet of the total development. To date, Tishman Speyrer has spent $265 million on air rights alone—the tower will rise to a lofty 1,005 feet, which will make it the second-tallest development in the Hudson Yards, right after 30 Hudson Yards. Designs for the supertall were first released last February by the developer, and feature an ascending spiral of terraces populated with vertical and hanging greenery split between two-floor atria. These spaces, leased out as offices, housing, and hotel, will offer incomparable views over the Hudson River and the High Line, which will extend right up to the tower's base. The idea for the spiraling greenspaces (a popular trope, especially after Stefano Boeri's forested towers in Milan) is drawn from naturally-occurring patterns demonstrated in plant growth, molecular structure, and galactic formations, as Ingels explains in the tower's promotional video. With all rights locked down, Tishman Speyer now has the go-ahead for construction, joining its KPF-designed neighbors 55, 30, and 10 Hudson Yards.

Adjaye’s Studio Museum, a view from Mexico City, and other updates from the architects of Instagram

At The Architect’s Newspaper, we’re plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through “Inkwell” or “Ludwig” filters, but there’s also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they’re documenting the built environment, and where they’ve traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram account here.) Richard Meier & Partners unveiled a dual pedestrian and vehicular bridge in Alessandria, Italy, suspended from an enormous white steel arc. Sleek, Richard. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZgzzhAAhEe/?taken-by=richardmeierpartners Adjaye Associates released new, more detailed renderings for the new home of the Studio Museum in Harlem this week – along with this gorgeous model (via Field Condition). The five-story building block structure will increase the museum's space by 115 percent. It will break ground next year. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZg5koFFWWi/?taken-by=field_condition Not to over-saturate your feed with Iwan Baan, but he's just ... so good at what he does. Here, an aerial of BIG's big new LEGO House in Billund, Denmark – a terraced, colorful playground for adults and children alike. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZl7egsBk2t/?taken-by=iwanbaan Any excuse for a garden wall. Steven Holl Architects here tried a mock-up vertical sedum for the Kennedy Center expansion.  https://www.instagram.com/p/BZWMirrAprB/?taken-by=stevenhollarchitects You thought you could escape Thomas Heatherwick for a second – but here he is again, haunting your weekend. The Heatherwick-designed Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa opened in Cape Town last week, featuring immense sections cut out of concrete grain silos to form a central atrium. We demand receipts. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZV0CXohcx9/?taken-by=zeitzmocaa Finally, from Mexico City-based architect Michael Rojkind and his firm Rojkind Arquitectos, a sobering view of the future of reconstruction needed in the aftermath of the city's most recent earthquakes. He will be at a MAS Context fundraiser in Chicago to provide an update from Mexico City. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZha3qXF0M_/?taken-by=rojkindarquitectos That’s it for today, hashtag archilovers and quote-on-quote gallerinas. See you next week for more drama.

Bjarke Ingels’s LEGO House is finally open to the public

The last brick has been placed on the long-awaited LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. Yesterday, the Danish royal family was on hand to open the building to visitors. Before the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)–designed structure, the city was only famous for architectural splendor of a different (smaller) scale. Now, however, Billund finally has something BIG to shout about.

Flying into the city, it’s hard to miss the almost three-acre LEGO House. The building’s vibrant terraced squares of red, yellow, green, and blue are easy to spot beneath the clouds despite the equally colorful LEGOLAND and Lalandia water park nearby. This aerial view, which will be the first for many who visit the LEGO House and a rare instance where aerial photography and renderings are relevant—hints at the modular structure's 21 rectangular volumes, waiting to be discovered on the ground.

Though colorful from the sky, the LEGO House is predominantly white at the street level. Ninety-thousand white clip-on ceramic tiles wrap around the building, each abiding by the proportions of a two-by-four LEGO brick. This reference to the toy-maker's most iconic brick can be found more explicitly in what Ingels calls the LEGO House’s “keystone.”

Sitting at the top of the building, the keystone features eight oversized circular studs and tops out the LEGO House which rises to just over 75 feet high. Rather surprisingly, this makes the building Billund’s tallest, though this isn’t exactly a tough achievement in the low-rise city.

Billund is very much a company town—something its residents aren’t afraid to admit. Around 3,000 LEGO employees work here, though not all live in the city, which had a population of 6,194 as of 2014. The city center is generally ignored by tourists who visit Lalandia and LEGOLAND, as those going to the latter stay at the LEGOLAND Holiday Village. This is not because the center is far away: You can drive around Billund in five minutes, or walk. The center just has very little to offer, with few restaurants and shops.

Billund Mayor Ib Kristensen is hoping the LEGO House will change that. “I don’t have any concerns,” he told The Architect’s Newspaper (AN). “The LEGO House will bring at lot of guests into the center of Billund and it will help other shops, restaurants,” he said, adding that he estimates the building will bring 250,000 visitors to the city every year.

With the municipality so reliant on LEGO, news of the company cutting eight percent of its workforce was not welcome at the start of the month. The cuts will eliminate 1,400 jobs worldwide, and Kristensen said this would mean 600 lost jobs in Billund. Despite this, Kristensen noted that LEGO House has created 180 new jobs and that the city’s “Triangle Region” has the lowest unemployment in Denmark, though this is partly because many travel into Billund for work.

Locals share the mayor’s optimism in spite of the grim jobs news. Tina Hald Kristensen, (no relation) who has worked in a sleepy cafe opposite the LEGO House for two years, is eager to see an influx in potential customers and revenue to the area. “I think it’s a much-needed positive addition to the city,” she said.

Despite its lofty ambitions and height accolades, the LEGO House is not imposing. BIG struck a sensitive balance with Billund’s topography and sprawling surroundings, while making the statement LEGO want to make.

Steadily rising cubic volumes create two corners that form an orthogonal cascading landscape that provides steps and seating. These rubber-surfaced areas will be open to the public 24/7, while the rest of the roofscape, which includes an assortment of play areas, will only be accessible during official open hours.

Considering the building is an almost all-white structure, with walls and terraces open to the public at all hours, the potential for it being a target of graffiti springs to mind. However, Hald Kristensen stressed that this was unlikely to occur. “Billund isn’t that sort of town,” she said. A wander around the area confirms that there’s no graffiti at all. Potential vandalism aside, it remains to be seen how the white tiles and other white surfaces will be maintained in their pristine condition.

It is in the white tile facade, however, where BIG’s details stand out. On the inside, the tiling continues, gradually pixelating into various shades as you enter different areas, most dramatically into black as you enter the basement.

Here, on the lower level, adults who are still interested in LEGO or played with the toy as children will find a nostalgic treasure trove. This area resembles a museum of the company, going back to its first product. Well-known LEGO and System products line the walls and old moulds used to make two-by-four bricks can be seen. Furthermore, an interactive database of almost all LEGO sets lets visitors scroll through and find their favorite.

Anna Manins, a local resident who is a mother of three, is more pleased that her children will have a place to keep them entertained in the winter when LEGOLAND and Lalandia close down. The LEGO House is ultimately a venue for children. Three hours away in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, Ingels' Superkilen park is evidence that his work for children can stand the test of time. Completed in 2012, the park is still well-used five years on. 

Like Superkilen, the LEGO House uses color as a circulatory means. As denoted by the colored rubber on the terraces, four zones feed off an interior concourse where a shop, restaurant where LEGO robots serve food, and a staircase spirals round a LEGO tree that has carvings of the first LEGO products that were made from wood can be found. 

According to the firm, the Red Zone is for “spontaneous creativity and free-building”; the Green Zone is for "social activities" and “roleplay with your own characters and stories”; the Blue Zone is for “putting your cognitive skills to the test”; and the Yellow Zone is intended to “play with emotions.”

In these areas, children can see their creations come to life on CGI-animated screens and are encouraged to build with each other, contribute to other buildings which are added to throughout the day, race their own LEGO cars, and make stop-motion LEGO movies.

An interesting and unexpected activity is the role of the urban designer. In the Yellow Zone, modular blocks, limited in size to a square base, can be placed around a city-like grid. Custom-made creations can be built around pre-built fixed buildings such as a soccer stadium and concert venue. Similar to playing Sim City, the interactive grid responds to what is placed, demanding at times a particular typology—which you build—be placed in a certain area.

There is room for adulting here too. The accomplished work of certified LEGO builders of all scales —there are only 40 LEGO “master builders” in the world—are dotted around the building. Some are carefully curated moving scenes that tell a story. If you can find it, a depiction of LEGO owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen can be found having his picture taken with his leg in a cast (he broke it when the LEGO House's foundations were being laid).

BIG's plans for Billund don't stop at LEGO. Apartments for families, the elderly, and rental apartments designed by the Danish firm are set to be built in the city. LEGO is also planning a new headquarters in the city, courtesy of C.F. Møller, another Danish studio. For the time being, though, small bricks are the only thing anyone is talking about in Billund.

BIG to design the world’s largest Mars simulator in the UAE

The world's largest space stimulation city is a BIG deal. On Tuesday, United Arab Emirates leaders unveiled designs for a 1.9-million-square-foot Mars simulator designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). When it opens, a team will live in a Mars-like environment under one of the development's domes, subjecting themselves to and conducting experiments on energy, food, and water self-sustenance. To support the research, the simulation will include agriculture testing facilities to study food security, as well as labs for food, water, and energy. The public will be able to visit a museum of "humanity’s greatest space achievements" complete with educational spaces for young aspiring astronauts. The museum's walls will be 3D-printed from desert sand. Emirates News Agency (WAM), the UAE's official news agency, first broke the news. The project will cost approximately $136 million (AED $500 million) to build. "The UAE seeks to establish international efforts to develop technologies that benefit humankind, and that establish the foundation of a better future for more generations to come," said Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, at the meeting. "We also want to consolidate the passion for leadership in science in the UAE, contributing to improving life on earth and to developing innovative solutions to many of our global challenges." The space city is part of the UAE's Mars 2117 Strategy, an initiative launched this February that aims to build the first human settlement on Mars within the next century.