A team led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won an international design completion for the new Museum of the Human Body in Montpellier, France. Recalling the forms of some of BIG’s other recent projects, most notably Blaavard Bunker Museum in Varde, Denmark (which has just received funding to move forward) and the 200-acre EuropaCity mega-development outside Paris, the 84,000 square foot museum will rise from the surrounding landscape with grass-capped roofs, and a seemingly continuous, curving glass façade. Set to open to the public in 2018, the museum will draw on Montpellier’s history of medicine and humanism as it explores the human body through artistic, scientific, and social perspectives with interactive exhibits, cultural programming, workshops, and performances. Located along the edge of Parc Georges Charpak in the city’s newly developed Parc Marianne area, the museum stitches the landscapes of park and city through eight, rounded, interconnected pavilions that, in the words of the architect, “weave together to for a unified institution–like individual fingers united together in mutual grip”. “Like the mixture of two incompatible substances–oil and vinegar–the urban pavement and the parks turf flow together in mutual embrace forming terraced pockets overlooking the park and elating islands above the city,” explained Ingels in a statement. Above ground, alternating roof gardens of pavement and grass provide spaces for visitors to, in the increasingly strange words of the architect, “explore and express their bodies in various ways.” Meanwhile, a continuous, linear space below grade joins together the eight volumes, maximizing internal connections. To extend Ingels’ finger metaphor and provide appropriate day-lighting for the interior, the building’s glass facade is covered in GFRC-fabricated louvers of varying orientations that somewhat resemble the pattern of human fingerprints. Construction is slated to begin in 2016.
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The Swedish Transport Administration launched a conceptual design competition in 2011 for a new bridge in Skuru, Sweden. The competition received great national and international response, including one fanciful proposal by Danish firm, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The competition brief stated that the new bridge should adhere to high aesthetic standards and coincide with the existing bridge and the surrounding valuable cultural and natural landscape. Ingels deploys his characteristic hedonistic sustainability to bring nature onto the bridge itself. While the design only a concept, BIG has presented an innovative structure with the aim to create a symbiotic relationship between infrastructure and nature. The bridge consists of three main elements: a lower level arc-shaped bridge, a linear road bridge above this, and ultra-slim columns which connect the two. The arched bridge is a visual allusion to a hill between both sides of the strait and also responds to the arch of the existing bridge in profile. This space serves as a green pedestrian walkway filled with vegetation and creates an uninterrupted flow of parkland from one shore bank to the other. According to BIG, "Investments in infrastructure are all too often at the expense of the environment—an untouched natural landscape becomes tainted by a highway intersection...Skuru Parkbridge represents a new form of social infrastructure—which is not only aesthetic and environmentally well-integrated with the existing bridge and the natural landscape—but is also socially activating by creating a place and park for the people who live and work on both sides of the strait." All images courtesy BIG.
The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has completed its latest cultural offering in its homeland: the Danish Maritime Museum in the city of Helsingør. Located a mere 1,600 feet from the historic Kronborg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the museum honors Denmark’s historic and contemporary role as a leading maritime nation. Faced with the challenge of establishing a fitting facade while preserving the views from the nearby castle, BIG principal Bjarke Ingels tucked the 65,000-square-foot museum 23 feet below grade by carving out space around an existing, decommissioned dry dock. “By wrapping the old dock with the museum program,” Ingels explained in a statement, “we simultaneously preserve the heritage structure while transforming it to a courtyard bringing daylight and air in to the heart of the submerged museum. Turning the dock inside out resolved a big dilemma: Out of respect for Hamlet’s Castle we needed to remain completely invisible and underground—but to be able to attract visitors we needed a strong public presence. Leaving the dock as an urban abyss provides the museum with an interior façade facing the void and at the same time offers the citizens of Helsingør a new public space sunken 16 feet below the level of the sea.” Through this creative scheme, the BIG team managed to create a sculptural museum filled with the jarring angles and raw materiality while maintaining the discreet sensibility and downplayed scale appropriate for the historic site. Inside the museum, a continuous series of exhibition spaces loop around the dock, sloping downward as they showcase over 600 years of Danish maritime history. The dock itself serves two new roles, one as the centerpiece of the museum, demonstrating the scale of shipbuilding and Denmark’s industrial heritage, the other as a new public open space for Helsingør, accessible by two descending staircases. Three, two-tiered bridges zigzag across the dock, add a dash of dynamism to the museum’s otherwise low-key outward appearance. The southernmost bridge provides access across the sunken space to the nearby castle and housing the museum’s auditorium within, while the other two direct visitors to the museum’s entrance and provide shortcuts within. Exhibition design was lead by Dutch specialists Kossman.dejong, while KiBiSi designed the above ground seating. Drawn from the form of ship bollards, the benches and stools beside the museum are arranged to contain a secret message written in Morse code.
Seeking ideas for a new 645,800 square foot media campus in Berlin, Axel Springer AG revealed its design contest by inviting twenty international firms to propose innovative schemes. Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the company, specified “the building should not be overwhelmingly beautiful, but also address the question: what does material mean in a dematerialized media company, what does an office mean in a mobile working environment, in which offices are no longer really required?” The five shortlisted firms are Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Kuehn Malvezzi, Ole Scheeren, Rem Koolhaas (OMA) and SANAA. The winner will be announced in December. (Photo: Google Earth)
Bjarke Ingels and Michael Van Valkenburgh are teaming up to design Pier 6 at the southern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park. As AN reported, the pier will feature a pastoral landscape terminated by a triangular viewing pavilion called the Mantaray. The landscape and viewing platform will offer unmatched views of the Manhattan skyline and accommodate special events like concerts. Take a look at the gallery of renderings below or read more about the project here. All renderings courtesy BIG and MVVA.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, architects have been called to arms to both engage in the immediate recovery efforts and to come up with design solutions that will make New York City's buildings more resilient and sustainable in the long-term. The latest in a flood of new Sandy-inspired design initiatives was launched yesterday by New York Restoration Project (NYRP), dubbed "EDGE/ucation Pavillion Design Competition," asking a group of hand-picked, up-and-coming architecture firms to create a storm-resistant pavilion in Sherman Creek Park right on the Harlem River. The structure, located on a former illegal garbage dumping site, would serve as a boating facility and outdoor classroom for a number of activities such as wetland exploration and oyster gardening. The NYRP undertook a major clean-up of the polluted 5-acre area in 1996 and has since transformed it into a healthy and verdant public space for recreation and boating. The project is expected to cost $900,000. With the help of Susanna Sirefman of Dovetail Design Strategists, the NYRP selected eight Manhattan and Brooklyn-based firms, that include: Bade Stageberg Cox, Desai/Chia Architecture, HOLLER Architecture, KNE Studio, Lang Architecture, Taylor and Miller Architecture + Design, Urban Data & Design, and WORKac. The firms will submit their proposals on September 16th, and the following month, a Technical Advisory Group made up of leaders in the field—such as Adrian Benepe, Director of City Park Development for Trust of a Public Land and Thomas Christoffersen of BIG—will select the five finalists. A new jury—including NYRP founder Bette Midler, James Polshek of Ennead Architects, and Christopher Sharples of SHoP Architects—will then look over the submissions. A winning proposal will be announced in late November 2013.
After months of fierce rivalry and contentious one-upping, Rem Koolhaas' OMA has beat out Bjarke Ingels (BIG) in the competition for the Miami Beach Convention Center commission. At times, it appeared as if BIG was in the lead, but OMA crept up and ultimately took home the prize. OMA has proposed a $600 million overhaul of the 52-acre convention center to build a more integrated facility in addition to tacking on more open space and park land. This plan calls for reconfiguring the layout of the convention center to provide enhanced access to Lincoln Road, green space, and existing hotel on the beach. “We wanted to expand the convention center without taking up more space within the city, so one of the key elements of our design is that we stack the hotel and ballroom,” Jason Long, associate architect at OMA, told AN in June. “We integrated the hotel to reduce the footprint of the building and leave some breathing room for open space and as a buffer between the convention center and the Jackie Gleason Theater and new cultural building to the south.” Before announcing their decision, Miami Beach Commission requested trimmed down versions of their proposals. The winning South Beach ACE Team, consisting of OMA and Tishman, shaved off some retail, and axed the residential and cultural buildings.
In the last month, the competition for the Miami Beach Convention Center commission has morphed into an all out, gloves off, battle between two design teams, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Rem Koolhaas' OMA. The South Florida Business Journal has reported that the Miami Beach Convention Center Advisory Board chose the Portman CMC team—consisting of BIG, CMC Group, Portman Holdings, and West 8—over South Beach ACE in a 4-3 vote on June 18th. But this vote isn't the deciding factor. Next, the Miami Beach Commission will vote on the matter sometime before July 17th. Then it is up to residents to cast their vote for the stand alone convention center plan or the same plan with additional residential and commercial development tacked on.
[beforeafter] [/beforeafter] Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and LEGO have unveiled plans for the LEGO House, an experience and education museum to be built in Billund, Denmark, LEGO’s birthplace. Visitors will enter a building resembling giant LEGO stacked blocks. The LEGO-block building concept embodies the tenants of LEGO play: stimulated learning and interactive thinking. Visitors can interact with the museum by walking around, under, and over, just as they would if they were playing with the bricks. Construction is projected to begin next year. The piled bricks will stand approximately 100 feet tall and have around 82,000 square feet of exhibition areas, a cafe, a unique LEGO store and a covered 20,000 square foot public plaza. The museum and its plaza will be open to the public for free, although admission charges will apply to other areas. The project will incorporate plentiful daylighting, interactive exhibits and various rooftop gardens complete with towering LEGO trees that will expand public space and offer outdoor play spaces. LEGO owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen said in a statement, "the LEGO House will be a place where people can enjoy active fun but at the same time it will be an educational and inspirational experience—everything that LEGO play offers." The Museum is planned to open in 2016 and is projected to see approximately 250,000 visitors per year.
One of the few regions that superstar Bjarke Ingels has yet to invade is Southern California, and he’s made it clear that he wants that to change. It just might, soon. Ingels, we hear from an unnamed source, has been added to one of the teams competing to design the city's 4th and Arizona mixed use project in Santa Monica, a city experiencing the beginnings of a building boom. They’ll replace RTKL on a team that also includes local firms Koning Eizenberg and Rios Clementi Hale. So now this shortlist is the most starchitect-heavy of any in the region, including not just BIG, but OMA with VTBS and Robert A.M. Stern with Brooks + Scarpa. In addition to a building that could reach up to 130 feet, the RFP calls for a “programmable gathering space that adds to the community’s civic life with public gatherings and seasonal activities.” Currently, the city hosts an ice skating rink on the site in the winters. According to the RFP a winner is expected to be chosen by Santa Monica's city council by this August. Stay tuned.
All too often public buildings can fall short on creativity, but with the launch of the Design + Construction Excellence Program in 2004, the Bloomberg administration has raised the ante and tapped a number of top architecture firms from around the world to work on a slew of new city projects. The New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today that they have selected 26 emerging and leading architecture firms out of pool of 264 applicants to participate in the next wave of the program, including the likes of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, nArchitects, and TEN Arquitectos. “Working in partnership with these talented architects and DDC’s client agencies, we will continue to build New York’s libraries, firehouses, police precincts, EMS stations, cultural institutions, and other projects with creativity, beauty, and an emphasis on community improvement,” said Commissioner David J. Burney in a statement. From this group of firms, six will be considered for projects costing more than $15 million, and twenty will be assigned to projects of less than $15 million. The DDC selected the following twenty firms for the under $15 million group: Abruzzo Bodziak Architects, Bade Stageberg Cox Architecture, Belmont Freeman Architects, Biber Architects, Cooper Joseph Studio, FR-EE Fernando Romero Enterpris, Gray Organschi Architecture, Hanrahan Meyers Architects, Leroy Street Studio, Levenbetts, Matthew Baird Architects, Monica Ponce de Leon Design and Architecture, Moorehead & Moorehead, nArchitects, Rice + Lipka Architects, Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects, Spacesmith, Studio SUMO, WXY, and Yoshihara McKee Architects. The six firms that will focus on projects of more than $15 million include: Allied Works Architecture, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, Ennead, Steven Holl Architects, Studio Gang Architects, and TEN Arquitectos.
The renderings just keep coming. And, after a recent groundbreaking, a building will too. With projects on their way in New York, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Miami, Paris, Copenhagen,and Tianjin, China, Bjarke Ingels has just broken ground again, this time on the Faroe Islands off the coast of Denmark, where, in typical BIG fashion, he will lay down the largest building on the small, self-governing archipelago. Located on a hillside outside the capital-town of Torshavn, the new Marknagil Education Center will gather three of the country’s educational institutions under one roof. The building will house more than 1,200 students and 300 teachers—from Faroe Islands Gymnasium, Torshavn Technical College, and the Business College of Faroe Islands—within a white, cylindrical vortex. The building focuses inward while integrating itself into the landscape, centering around an open rotunda designed as a gathering point for cross-disciplinary exchanges, while reaching out into the surrounding hills with rectangular projections. BIG has released a substantial collection of renderings for the project, a selection of which can be viewed below.