The year-long Resilient By Design | Bay Area Challenge ideas competition has sought to utilize community-led ecological design to “develop innovative solutions that will strengthen [the Bay Area’s] resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding, and earthquakes.” Last week, the nine teams working with local communities and organizations on the competition unveiled final proposals for a collection of sites scattered around the San Francisco Bay. The nine sites represent a collection of some of the most ecologically fragile areas in the region, places that may see dramatic change in coming decades as climate change takes hold. The initiative seeks to begin to reposition these areas—some are densely-populated while others host vital regional infrastructure—for a climate change-addled future. For the competition, design teams led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), James Corner Field Operations (JCFO), Tom Leader Studio (TLS) and others pursue efforts to restore regional wetlands and riparian floodplains while reorienting infrastructural investments and development to suit these new landscapes. The proposals were developed with an eye toward being implementable strategies. Next, communities and designers will work together with regional, state, and federal agencies to fully implement their plans. All nine proposals are broken down below: The Grand Bayway The Common Ground team led by TLS Landscape Architecture proposes to extend Highway 37 across San Pablo Bay by designing an elevated scenic causeway that would allow riparian landscapes to flow beneath the new multi-modal artery. The team proposes to deploy the causeway with flair by breaking out various lanes of travel into whispy overpasses that thread through the landscape including a grand, “mobility loop” encircling rich recreational areas. The design team is made up of Exploratorium, Guy Nordenson & Assoc., Michael Maltzan Architecture, HR&A Advisors, Sitelab Urban Studio, Lotus Water, Rana Creek, Dr. John Oliver, Richard Hindle, UC Berkeley, and Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants. ouR-HOME The ouR-HOME project proposes to deploy a package of land-use reforms to incentivize small lot housing, community land trusts, social impact bonds, and new community infrastructure to prepare the community of North Richmond for climate change. The proposal calls for the construction of a new “horizontal levee” around the city that will protect it from potentially toxic runoff that could emanate from a nearby gasoline refinery during a flood. The vision also calls for planting 20,000 new trees to help “bring the marsh to Main Street,” an effort that aims to preserve and build upon existing community wealth in the majority African American and Latino enclave. The team is led by San Francisco-based architecture firm Mithun and includes the Chinatown Community Development Center, ISEEED/Streetwyze, BioHabitats, Integral Group, HR&A Advisors, Moffat & Nichol, ALTA Planning, Urban Biofilter, and Resilient Design Institute. Estuary Commons The Estuary Commons plan creates a new network of ecologically-focused public spaces along areas surrounding the estuaries of San Leandro Bay in Alameda County. The proposal calls for investments in bicycle greenways, secondary housing units, and inclusionary zoning reforms in order to “build resiliency within the community.” The social and environmental justice-focused bid also calls for burying a stretch of Interstate-880 running through Downtown Oakland in order to remedy past planning errors. The All Bay Collective—made up of AECOM, CMG Landscape Architecture, University of California, Berkeley- College of Environmental Design, Berkeley Center for New Media, The Terner Center, California College of the Arts, IDEO, Silvestrum, SKEO, modem, and David Baker Architects— is behind the scheme. Public Sediment for Alameda Creek The Public Sediment for Alameda Creek plan calls for reconnecting sediment flows between Alameda Creek and the bay’s wetlands in order to create a natural and ecologically-rich defense against floodwaters. The scheme revisions the currently-static flood control channels that criss-cross the southwestern edge of the Bay into redesigned estuaries, sediment traps, and berms that facilitate the build up of sediment while still allowing for public use and natural habitats. The team is led by SCAPE Landscape Architecture and also includes Arcadis, Dredge Research Collaborative, TS Studio, UC Davis Department of Human Ecology and Design, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, and Buoyant Ecologies Lab. South Bay Sponge The South Bay Sponge proposal aims to use a mix of cut-and-fill excavations and zoning swaps to build densely on high ground along the southern edge of the Bay in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The plan would create networks of “sponge” landscapes that absorb tidal flows and run off, efforts that would involve reorganizing urban fabric in these areas into dense nodes of habitation surrounded by water-friendly landscapes. The design team behind the proposal includes JCFO, Moffatt & Nichol, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, SF BAY National Estuarine Research Reserve, Romberg-Tiburon Center, SFSF, Andrea Baker Consulting, James Lima Planning + Development, The Bay Institute, SeArc / ECOncrete, HT Harvey and Associates, Playhou.se, and Adventure Pictures. Resilient South City The Hassell+ team proposes to create additional public green space and a continuous public access route along South San Francisco’s Colma Creek that would double as storm surge-absorbing infrastructure. The plan aims to reduce the impacts of flooding by utilizing a network of greenways and municipal parks to restore native ecologies. These areas would manage runoff from existing neighborhoods, creating new public open spaces along the way. The plan would revamp the city’s urban waterfront and make restorative alterations to Orange Memorial Park. The project team includes Lotus Water, Civic Edge, HATCH, Brown & Caldwell, Idyllist, and Page & Turnbull. Islais Hyper Creek The BIG, ONE, and Sherwood have teamed up for the Islais Hyper Creek Vision, a plan that aims to restore native landscapes around the creek while creating new nodes of waterborne urbanism. The team envisions transforming vast swaths along the creek into natural habitats and parks, with new clustered technology and industrial hubs scattered around the city. The proposal is dubbed as “an opportunity to bring the existing industrial ecosystem into the next economy.” The design team also includes Moffat & Nichol, Nelson Nygaard, Strategic Economics, The Dutra Group, and Stanford University. Designing our Own Solutions The Permaculture and Social Equity Team is proposing to utilize social design as a way of building a vision for Marin City, a diverse working class enclave located just north of San Francisco. The team’s social design project involved extensive community engagement and is focused on equity, placemaking, and public ownership. The team is made up of Pandora Thomas, Antonio Roman-Alcala , the Urban Permaculture Institute, Ross Martin Design, Alexander J. Felson, and Yale School of Architecture. Elevate San Rafael The Elevate San Rafael plan put forth by the Bionic team that proposes to reorganize the small city of San Rafael, pulling in its edges from flood-prone shorelines while building up higher elevations with dense housing and public infrastructure. The proposal would repurpose underutilized lots into flood planes flanked with housing, add floating recreational islands within the bay, and build up artificial reefs along the bay floor. The plan proposes to pair “time-tested approaches to coastal adaptation with a moral, financial, and infrastructural agenda” as a way of adequately planning for the city’s future. The team is made up of landscape architects Bionic, WXY, PennDesign, Michael Yarne, Enterprise, Moffatt & Nichol, WRA, RMA, SF State, Baycat, Studio for Urban Projects, RAD Urban, and KMA. For more information on the proposals, see the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge website.
Posts tagged with "BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group":
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.
In Manhattan, there are two things we keep seeing everywhere: WeWork and Bjarke Ingels. From its signature coworking office spaces to an elementary school, WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann seems intent on infiltrating every aspect of people’s lives. According to WeWork’s blog, the plan “starts with every space for every member and scales to every building in every city.” Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is also cropping up around NYC (quite literally as the BIG U will encircle downtown Manhattan) as well as VIA 57 West, Two World Trade, 40th Precinct Police Station, the Spiral at Hudson Yards, and the Eleventh. With all of this in mind, it seems inevitable that the two would team up for dual domination: WeWork has hired Ingels as its first “chief architect.” Ingels will continue to lead his offices out of Copenhagen and London as he creates more WeWork spaces. “WeWork was founded at the exact same time as when I had arrived to New York. In that short amount of time – the blink of an eye at the time scale of architecture–they have accomplished incredible things and they are committed to continuing their trajectory to places we can only imagine. WeWork’s commitment to community and culturally driven development is perfectly aligned with our active, social and environmental agendas. As WeWork takes on larger and more holistic urban and architectural challenges, I am very excited to contribute with my insights and ideas to extend their community-oriented vision to ground-up buildings and urban neighborhoods,” Ingels said in a statement. His first task will be to transform the former Lord & Taylor building into WeWork’s new headquarters. He is also working on the aforementioned school, WeGrow. As Fast Company reported, Neumann and Ingels have a shared, confident vision:
“I [Neumann] said, ‘Give me your favorite building.’ “He [Ingels] said, ‘I don’t have one favorite building because of the design-by-committee situation. I get one or three amazing original ideas that I’ve been working on for a decade in a building, but there were seven other ideas that were not exactly mine.’ “I said, ‘I want all your best ideas in one building.’ “He said, ‘If someone actually allowed me to do it, I could design the perfect office building or perfect residential building.’ “I said, ‘Perfect, that’s a big word.’ “He said, ‘No one’s ever given me a shot.'”Sounds like the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
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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.
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.
The twisting, torquing towers of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)-designed The Eleventh (The XI) have begun sprouting along the High Line, and developer HFZ Capital has released a new batch of renderings. Located between 10th and 11th Avenue and bounded by 17th and 18th Streets in Manhattan, The Eleventh takes up a full block directly south of the Frank Gehry-designed IAC building. As HFZ told the New York Times, the mixed-use project was designed less as a standalone complex and more as a “micro-neighborhood.” The sprawling development stretches underneath the High Line to the east, where James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro are designing a street-level extension of the park above. Moving west from the new park, the BIG-designed pavilions will rise under the High Line. The two travertine-clad towers will rise on the western half of the development next to the Hudson River. At the westernmost edge of the site will be the taller of the two towers, at 400 feet tall and 36 floors, with 149 condos units designed by New York’s Gabellini Sheppard. For the interiors, the team has chosen a lighter material palette that emphasizes natural materials, such as oak flooring and white quartzite countertops. The smaller tower to the east, connected at its base with its neighbor via a glass skybridge, will only be about 300 feet tall and 26 stories. Everything after floor 11 is slated for condos, while the lower floors will hold a Six Senses hotel; the Paris-based interiors firm Gilles & Boissier are designing the interiors for both the residential and hotel sections, and will reportedly use a similar palette and style for both. Both towers noticeably twist in opposite directions as they rise, and the turns are intended to preserve views for occupants inside both buildings. To further improve the views, the western tower will expand as it rises and the eastern tower will taper as it nears the top. To cap it off, both of the condo buildings share matching glass crowns. A shorter building is also planned for the site’s southwestern corner, with plans to turn it into an art space and Six Senses spa and club. Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea will be designing a covered through-way for vehicles and a courtyard at the center between the two tower’s hemispheres. The amenities are consistent with the other luxury residential buildings going up along the High Line; future homeowners can expect access to a 75-foot-long pool, 4,000-square-foot fitness center, access to Six Senses, and a lounge and game room in the skybridge. Once completed at the end of 2019, the complex will be among the tallest in West Chelsea.
Two years ago, BIG unveiled its proposed redesign of Two Penn Plaza: the complete recladding of the tower in glass, with an undulating ground-floor canopy that flared up and around the base of the building. However, on April 9, Vornado Realty Trust announced that it is considering scrapping those plans in favor of an entirely new tower. The developer has not yet announced whether BIG will be replaced by another firm or remain attached to the proposed project. Located atop Penn Station’s concourses and adjacent to Madison Square Garden, the 32-story glass and concrete tower was constructed in 1968 and contains 1.6-million-square-feet of office space. In lifting the curtain wall at street level, BIG’s design envisioned increased retail possibilities at the building’s base rather than its current status as a lobby for office spaces above. The Real Deal reports that demolishing Two Penn Plaza could allow Vornado to transfer five million square feet of air rights from neighboring Madison Square Garden. This transfer provides Vornado the means to effectively double the site’s footprint from 60,000 to 120,000 square feet, allowing for a large increase in height and square footage. The demolition of Two Penn Plaza would follow Governor Cuomo’s plans to provide New York State with development authority in the blocks surrounding Penn Station, potentially providing tail winds for Vornado's public space and development plans in and around Penn Plaza.
The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has released the first batch of renderings for its latest Manhattan project, a 60-story office tower set to touch down in NoMad. As first reported by New York YIMBY, “29th & 5th” will rise from the site of the former historic Bancroft Bank Building, replacing an 800-foot-tall luxury condo tower designed by Moshe Safdie. As seen in the renderings, the building at 3 West 29th Street will consist of two slender, linked rectangular masses with a glass curtain wall. Differentiating each volume will be the width of the windows, with the curtain wall of the eastern half holding much wider windows than its western counterpart. One of the project’s more interesting features is the “spine” of cantilevering concrete terraces running up the tower’s eastern side, which will give each floor access to outdoor space. According to the project’s EB-5 materials–a program designed to lure foreign investment in the building in exchange for a potential green card–the tower is being designed with a heavy emphasis on wellness. “The building will incorporate a LEED-Certified design and highly amenitized offering package promoting employee connectivity, communal workspaces, and fitness options that will pioneer a new frontier of wellness and sustainability within the workplace. The building is designed with smaller 13,400-square-foot floor plates that will attract an underserved market while leaving ample lot area to design a vibrant park surrounding the building.” While permits filed with NYC’s Department of Buildings show that the project was submitted as a 34-story, 300,000-square-foot tower, YIMBY is reporting that the original application was used to begin foundation work ahead of a final plan reveal. This set of new renderings paints a picture of a tower that’s at least 60 stories tall, with a possible height of 800-to-850 feet and up to 600,000 square feet of floor space. The skyscraper’s massive heft has been made possible by developer HFZ Capital’s agglomeration of air rights from throughout the neighborhood. No completion date has been given for 29th & 5th at the time of writing.
Ahead of a presentation before the full Community Board 3 (Lower East Side) tonight, March 27, planners from the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) Project have released new details and renderings for an updated "resilient park" along the shores of the East River. The Mayor’s Office of Recovery & Resiliency is hoping to receive approval for the snaking project before the end of 2018, though the combination of seawalls, berms and levees hasn’t pleased everyone. The updated concept, a joint venture between AKRF, One Architecture and Urbanism, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects (MNLA), and several city agencies, was unveiled at a CB3 Parks Department meeting on March 15. The proposed park would stretch from East 25th Street down to Montgomery Street, and would fortify the existing green space, but also include new parks, lawns and nature walks. Rather than installing hard infrastructure that would block off the waterfront from the public, MNLA attempted to expand out the usable parkland where possible. In the narrowest areas between FDR Drive and the East River, a flood wall gate would swing (or possibly slide) into action to cordon off stormwater. Several bridge upgrades have also been included, as well as new footbridges at Delancey Street and on 10th Street that would loop into the park. The approximately 2.5-mile-long stretch is just one part of what was once the BIG-U coastal resiliency plan (neé The Dryline), which has been broken up into the aforementioned ESCR and the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) Project. The ESCR’s southern counterpart will stretch 3.5 miles, from the northern tip of Battery Park City to the Lower East Side’s Montgomery Street. Once completed, the entire system should be able to protect (though mitigate would be a more apt phrase) southern Manhattan from the likes of a 100-year storm. Time is quickly running out for the ESCR to reach approval and hit its accelerated 2019 groundbreaking target. The $335 million distributed by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) in the wake of Hurricane Sandy for the construction of the ESCR must be spent by September of 2022, and with the project a year-and-a-half behind schedule, the city is hoping to move through the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and ULURP process quickly. AN will follow up this post with more information about the outcome of tonight’s CB3 board meeting. The feedback gleaned from community boards 3 and 6 will help the city inform changes that they may need to make before presenting to the Public Design Commission in the coming months. The full March 15th presentation can be viewed here.
Coastal flooding, heatwaves, snow storms, droughts, wildfires and hurricanes; all of these natural disasters are being exacerbated by the effects of climate change, and architects and planners will need to learn to plan for the future. Through building structures and facets of the urban landscape that resist or incorporate flood waters, that manage stormwater runoff or create “wind corridors” to blow pollution out of city centers, designing for the impacts of climate change often means designing for health. With a wealth of sophisticated modeling tools and techniques at our disposal, it’s easier than ever to look towards the future and harden projects for what might be coming next. Below is a list of books that AN considers as helpful guides for thinking about and designing for climate change. Toward an Urban Ecology The Monacelli Press Kate Orff $34.00 Towards an Urban Ecology may feature a number of projects by New York’s SCAPE, but the overall message extends beyond a simple firm retrospective. Throughout the book, Kate Orff (now co-chair of the new climate resiliency center at Columbia’s GSAPP) dissects how designers can integrate environmental concerns with urban ones, and create a more resilient built environment. Landscape architecture can play an integral role in mitigating the effects of climate change, and often acts as the first line of defense in protecting buildings from disasters. Blue Dunes: Climate Change by Design Columbia Books on Architecture and the City Jesse Keenan & Claire Weisz $17.15 Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was a watershed moment in designing for climate resilience, as the reality of a “once-in-a-hundred-year” storm hit architects and planners along the eastern seaboard close to home. Blue Dunes follows a plan to place wave-blocking barrier islands off the Mid-Atlantic coast, and the research (and cost concerns) uncovered in the multidisciplinary quest serves as a valuable lesson for designers who want to pursue the same path. Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change Verso Ashley Dawson $21.41 The world’s cities will both be hit hardest by climate change and have the largest impact on it. How can cities cut their carbon emissions while simultaneously hardening their defenses and creating resilient systems? In Extreme Cities, Dawson argues that seawalls and hard infrastructure aren’t enough, and that the successful cities of the future will survive through fostering new social movements and ways of integrating climate change into design and planning. Adaptive Ecologies/ Correlated Systems of Living Architectural Association Publications Theodore Spyropoulos, John Frazer & Patrik Schumacher $49.11 Though it might seem better suited to our technology book roundup, Adaptive Ecologies confronts the twin challenges of harsher environments and tighter resource restrictions that buildings will face in the future. The abundance of modeling programs available to architects and planners, whether it be daylighting, planning for high-performance facades, or computational design, can be combined with active data intake from an array of sensors. As a result, new typologies, artificial ecologies and unimaginable city planning-schemes might one day reign supreme as we become more and more able to optimize building design. Climates: Architecture and the Planetary Imaginary The Avery Review: Columbia Books on Architecture and the City James Graham, Caitlin Blachfield, Alissa Anderson, Jordan Carver & Jacob Moore $36.99 A collection of essays and sample projects from Columbia University’s Avery Review, Climates examines the intersection of architecture and climate change. What precedents already exist in dealing with such an existential threat? How can architects and their work render climate change knowable while also combatting it? What kind of shifts would be required to bring awareness to the field about designing for resilience and sustainability? Far from providing concrete answers, Climates seeks more to stimulate discussion and speculation about a topic that can be hard to conceptualize. BIG, HOT TO COLD: An Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation TASCHEN Bjarke Ingels $45.30 Whatever one may think of the work being done by Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG), it would be hard to argue that the firm isn’t prolific. In Hot to Cold, architects can find 60 case studies for designing in extreme environments in conjunction with BIG’s projects all over the world, and innovative ways of dealing with extreme heat, cold, and everything in between are put on display. Designing for water is given significant weight in the book’s middle section, as BIG breaks down the master plan for their lower Manhattan-encompassing seawall system, the Dryline. How can the extreme environments of the present give designers an idea of what may be to come? New York 2140 Orbit Kim Stanley Robinson $13.65 2140 may be the only fiction book on the list, but even far-flung speculation has its uses in inspiring architects. While New York (or any city for that matter) might not be inundated with 50 feet of water anytime soon, Robinson’s work speaks to a future where adaptive reuse and clean energy are the norm, not the exception. Most importantly, 2140 presents a worst-case scenario ostensibly overcome by design, and serves as a reminder that no solution should be ruled out as too imaginative. Every book on this list was selected independently by AN‘s team of editors. If you buy something via the embedded links, AN will earn a commission.
What takes longer to make, a chair or a building? You know you are speaking to an architect when the response is a shrug. Such is the case with Bjarke Ingels Group and its collaboration on the VIA 57 chair with Danish furniture company Fritz Hansen. Christian Andresen, head of design at Fritz Hansen, and Kai-Uwe Bergmann, partner and architect at BIG, sat down with AN to discuss the legacy of Danish design, KiBiSi coming to an end, and what surprised BIG about U.S. architecture practices. BIG is branching into projects on a variety of scales. Where does furniture design fit in? Does it fall under KiBiSi? Kai-Uwe Bergmann: KiBiSi was a collaboration among three entities [Kilo, BIG, and Skibsted Ideation]—you could call it a product design and branding constellation. It has, however, lived its life and we are developing projects just within BIG. This is one of the last efforts we did with KiBiSi. We are still designing a lot of other products and furniture under the BIG umbrella. How did Fritz Hansen become involved with BIG on this project? Christian Andresen: The historic reference to this is, of course, the designers who build furniture in collaboration with an entire project—what the Germans call gesamtkunstwerk. This concept was really nurtured at the design schools and the architecture schools in the 40s and 50s. It came from the Bauhaus, but the Danish really took it on. It’s since been abandoned. So when we asked up-and-coming furniture designers to make something, there was no reference to a project or a building. We wanted the dynamic framework of working within a project; the product has to have a reference to a building. It is in our DNA. And that was the case with BIG and this chair; it was made for the West 57th building. What came first, the building or the chair? Andresen: When the West 57th building was on the drawing board, the chair was on the drawing board. We were making a chair for the public and regular building spaces. BIG was trying to experiment with the furniture design and the way that people would sit around it in the building. It actually took about the same amount of time to make the building as it did to make the chair. When the chair finished, we launched it at ICFF at the same time they had the building opening. How did that design process go? Bergmann: Well overall it’s a big change from working in Europe to working in America. In Europe you, the architect, design everything, indoors and outdoors. You move to America, and they use the term “shell and core” and then they hire interior designers for the rest. We didn’t understand when we first arrived that you could only do the outside or only do the inside; we had always considered the complete experience. We actually had to bid on the interiors of West 57th. I think we’ve been lucky and fortunate that we’ve been able to bridge the two cultures and we’ve been able to design the interiors of most of our buildings. How do architects approach furniture differently from those who are strictly product designers? Andresen: Most architects tend to make products that are softer and more sculptural than their buildings. The simple explanation here is that round windows cost more money and square furniture is boring. But there’s also quite an interesting thing that furniture is at the human scale and many architects work with an interest in finding the meeting point between a person, the piece, and the flow. The ones that are really good at it are also really good at the interior spaces in general. Many Scandinavians and some of the German and Italian architects have touched upon it in their design career in education, but in many countries, building architects and furniture designers are in separate sections, like in the U.S. In Scandinavia, they still spend a lot of time on the artistic part of being an architect. I think it has to do with culture and the educational traditions, and also the legacy that you carry in a culture and in a trade. Our approach to the design and the natural piece is to eliminate the unnecessary details, which creates these very simple pieces that are very difficult to make.
Since 2017, Facebook has stated its intention to establish a new British headquarters within the ongoing redevelopment of King’s Cross Central in London. The London Times speculates that architect Frank Gehry is currently in talks with the social media giant to fit out two adjoining buildings, currently designated T2 and T3, as well as a stand-alone building on a separate plot. The buildings T2 and T3 are designed by the British firm Bennetts Associates and are slated for completion in early 2019. In total, Facebook looks to add three buildings totaling more than 700,000 square feet to its London footprint. According to the Architects’ Journal, Gehry has designed numerous buildings for Facebook in the past, including its campus in Menlo Park and a ‘fit-out’ of Rathbone Square. The larger development surrounding Facebook's potential new headquarters, King’s Cross Central, is a 67-acre mixed-use redevelopment site encompassing fifty new buildings, 1,900 homes, twenty new streets, and twenty-six acres of public space. British developer Argent is leading the project and the master planners are Allies & Morrison and Porphyrios Associates. The transformation of King’s Cross from decrepit industrial district to emerging tech hub is influenced by its proximity to King’s Cross Station and St. Pancras International. These stations provide unrivaled rail transport access to international, regional and local transport networks. According to the Urban Land Institute, over 63 million passengers will pass through King’s Cross–St. Pancras by 2022, and approximately 45,000 Londoners will directly live or work in the district. Facebook is not the only tech giant shifting personnel to King’s Cross Central. In 2017, Google submitted plans for a nearly one million square foot headquarters in the sprawling redevelopment site. Designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studios, the 11-story building will extend horizontally approximately one thousand feet, a distance roughly on par with the height of London’s tallest building, the Shard.
After facing criticism over an initial 2014 master plan for renovating the historic southern campus of the Smithsonian Institute, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has revealed a sweeping overhaul of its original design. The firm presented their new scheme in front of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), a federal agency responsible for reviewing design proposals in Washington D.C., and were told to go back to the drawing board. The Smithsonian Institute’s southern campus runs alongside D.C.’s National Mall, one of the most iconic stretches of park in the country. Any changes to the surrounding landscape, especially when it involves renovating the Smithsonian’s Castle, which opened in 1855, and the adjacent four-acre Enid A. Haupt Garden, were bound to be controversial. The largest addition, and the one that drew the most ire from preservationists, would have replaced the roof of the sunken Quadrangle Building under the Haupt Garden with a glassy, upswept volume, and built a new subterranean auditorium, gallery space, café, and store. Bjarke Ingels was on hand to personally present the “Smithsonian's Preferred Alternative F” to the CFA yesterday. Among the biggest changes to the original scheme was the toning down of the buried gallery’s corners, so that a new Haupt Garden could be built on top of the space. A sloping entrance to the Castle had been included in the original plan, but was left out of this revision, although the underground space will still be ringed with skylights at the ground level. The entrance to the Castle would be moved closer to the Mall, and Ingels stressed that the new garden topping the Quadrangle building would retain “the character and feel” of the Haupt. He defended the new roof's design, saying "we also want to make more accessible some of the hidden treasures underneath the Haupt Garden – the National Museum of African Art and the Sackler Gallery – which are so well hidden that they’re under-enjoyed compared to the value they represent. If we can make them more accessible, more people might be tempted to explore." The Hirshhorn Museum, which also sits on the campus, will expand underground as well, although plans to remove the walls enclosing the site have been scrapped. Community input over the original design has reportedly played a large part in the new design. The CFA took umbrage with the plan’s demolition of the existing garden and entrances, as well as BIG’s lack of use for the existing Arts and Industries Building on the campus. Some of the commissioners in attendance were particularly harsh. “This is a redesign,” said Elizabeth Meyer. “It has nothing to do with preservation and it’s not good design.” Ultimately the CFA took no action, and told BIG to come back with alternative schemes and more information at a later date. Regardless of the final design, the southern campus will need extensive renovations. The initial 2012 existing conditions survey discovered that all of the buildings on the campus are in need of a mechanical systems upgrade, that the roof of the current Quadrangle building leaks, and that the Castle needs to be better protected against seismic events. The first stage of the $2 billion plan, the renovation of the Castle, is expected to begin in 2021, and the entire campus renovation should finish in 2041.