Phoenix-based developer Novawest wanted a new signature project for the city's downtown, an observation tower from which to admire the far-off mountain ranges and dramatic Southwestern sunsets, so Bjarke Ingels proposed to scoop out the spiraled negative-space of New York's Guggenheim Museum rotunda and plant it 420 feet above downtown Phoenix. Ingels' "Pin," a 70,000 square foot observation tower is elegant in its simple form, a ball on a stick, indeed evoking some far away Gulliver on a real-life version of Google maps finding his way to the Sun Belt. In another light, Phoenicians could ostensibly see a larger-than-life Chupa Chup or an upended mascara brush, but that's the beauty of pure form, right? Visitors will be able to ride one of three glass elevators up the reinforced concrete core to the top of the Pin's observation spiral, where flexible exhibition, retail, and recreation spaces will showcase panoramic views of the surrounding region and descend, round and round, to a restaurant in the lower portions of the sphere. "Like the monsoons, the haboobs, and the mountains of the surrounding Arizonian landscape, the Pin becomes a point of reference and a mechanism to set the landscape in motion through the movement of the spectator." Bjarke Ingels, principal at BIG, said in a statement. "Like the Guggenheim Museum of New York offers visitors a unique art experience descending around its central void, the motion at the Pin is turned inside-out allowing visitors to contemplate the surrounding city and landscape of Phoenix. Like a heavenly body hovering above the city, the Pin will allow visitors to descend from pole to pole in a dynamic three dimensional experience seemingly suspended in midair."
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An inventive new park in Copenhagen’s Norrebro district, "Superkilen," designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Superflex, and Topotek 1 serves as a sort of cultural collage of artifacts sourced from 60+ nationalities. Superkilen slices its way through the center of the city, soaking up and flaunting its inhabitants’ diverse cultural backgrounds along the way. The kilometer-long wedge of urban space, completed this summer, is divided according to use into three distinct color-coded zones and sports bike paths linking directly to Copenhagen’s cycling highways. The park’s "urban furniture" integrates a range of symbolic and functional items from all over the world. Armenian picnic tables join Iraqi swings, Brazilian benches, Chinese Palms, Islamic tiled Moroccan fountains, and an Indian climbing playground, among others. A "Green Park," almost entirely green, offers trees, plants, and grassy hills suitable for sunbathing, sports, strolling, and picnicking. The "Red Square" is brightly painted in geometric patches of radiant reds, oranges, and pinks and is intended for recreational use with indoor and outdoor sports arenas and exercise facilities. Locals can gather and mingle at the "Black Square," which acts as the city’s “urban living room,” and play a game of backgammon beneath a Japanese cherry tree, illuminated by a giant neon-red star from the USA.
The Durst Organization is launching a composting pilot program for the 600-unit Helena apartment building on Manhattan's West 57th Street. The program will start in the next few months and, if successful, will be implemented in Durst's planned 32-story W57 tower designed by Bjarke Ingels and expected to finish in 2015. This composting scheme, potentially serving 1,350 apartments, will be the largest residential composting project in the New York City. Instead of lugging compost to collecting centers throughout the city, compost at Durst's towers can be tossed out and picked up much like recycling. Tenants will gather their apple cores, eggshells, and other compost-able goods into a biodegradable paper bag and toss them into a communal garbage bin in the building’s garbage room. From there the waste will be picked up three times weekly and schlepped away to Riker’s Island to become fertilizer.
Bjarke Ingels, architect of mountains, now has set his eyes on Everest. The New York and Copenhagen-based architect's firm BIG has been tapped by the Rockefellers to design one of the world's tallest buildings at 1,929 feet for a new commercial development in Tianjin, China, a city of nearly 13 million people. Ingels revealed a cryptic, fog-shrouded rendering of the tower on his web site—indicative of the scarcity of detail yet released on the tower—but this being the information age, AN found more information and views of the tower on a clear day. BIG is working with HKS Architecture and Arup to design the $2.35 billion Rose Rock International Finance Center set within an SOM-designed master plan for the Tianjin Binhai New Area Central Business District. The new commercial neighborhood to the southeast of Tianjin replaces a formerly industrial peninsula with a mix of high-rises, historic sites, and parks anchored by a high-speed rail station and helps to connect it to the coast. Rose Rock Group, founded by Steven C. Rockefeller Jr., Steven C. Rockefeller III, and Collin C. Eckles, held a ceremonial groundbreaking on December 16, 2011 and is promoting the new tower as a key to transforming Tianjin into "the financial center of Northern China." Renderings show a terraced pyramidal tower with a palpable vertical thrust and clear reference to the Art-Deco stylings of its inspiration, the Rockefeller Center in New York. Just as the Rockefellers built ambitiously skyward in New York 80 years ago, Ingels said in a statement, "The Rose Rock International Finance Center will be to the contemporary Chinese city what the Rockefeller Center was to the American city of the 1930s: an architectural landscape of urban plazas and roof gardens designed to stimulate and cultivate the life between the buildings." Only this time, over a thousand feet higher.
Bjarke Ingels has again thrown us for a loop, this time in Bordeaux, France. Ingels' firm BIG has revealed its latest competition-winner called the Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Aquitaine, or, for the rest of us, MÉCA. As AN noted in April, BIG won the commission working with Paris-based FREAKS freearchitects, beating out the likes of SANAA and Toulouse-based W-Architectures, but the renderings have been kept under wraps until now. Ingels' explained the design using his signature diagram-based narrative as an array of three visual and performing arts agencies arranged around a 120-foot-tall arch-shaped building. The architects approached the concept of the arch as a functional, programmatic, and symbolic guide in their understanding and design of the building. The arrangement begins (see diagrams in gallery below) along a flat line connecting three cultural institutions—OARA, FRAC, and ECLA—and then twists to create an asymmetrical geometry surrounding a void at the center of the arch housing an outdoor “urban room.” This central public space transitions between the building's interior and the public promenade weaving through the building. The archway, expressive of the building’s cultural function, also implies a connection between the building, its institutions, the waterfront, and the adjoining city of Bordeaux. The three institutions taking residence at the MÉCA each occupy different parts of the arch. Regional performing arts center OARA and the ECLA archives will fill the vertical posts while the regional visual arts center FRAC alights above with sunlit gallery space, including a large roof terrace. The entrance to all three buildings is below the “urban room” and accessible by large ramps leading visitors first underground before ascending either vertical pillar. A large rooftop terrace is also sliced into the sloping roof. The new center is clad in a regionally-traditional limestone with an intricately fenestrated facade adding rich texture and depth to the envelope. The $65.4 million project will be paid for with public funds and is estimated to be complete in 2015.
On April 14 the Regional Council of Bordeaux, France announced that BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) was selected to design the new Maison de l'économie créative et de la culture en Aquitaine, a.k.a. "la Méca." The new building on the riverfront site will house three regional visual and performing arts agencies. The website of France's SudOuest newspaper reports that BIG beat out SANAA and the Toulouse-based firm W-Architectures with a design for a 120-foot-tall arch-shaped building featuring a 14,000-square-foot roof terrace. The 52-million-euro scheme awaits final approval at a May 21 council meeting...stay tuned for the renderings!
When Bjarke Ingels makes news, he really makes news. The superhero force behind the juggernaut that is BIG is in the running on Chicago's Navy Pier, has a giant heart pulsing in Times Square, just won a competition for Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah, and now plans for his 49-story skyscraper in Vancouver, Canada have leaked, revealing a new "twist" on the traditional skyscraper. We've known for over a year that Ingels was planning the Vancouver tower, but now Vancity Buzz has revealed, in addition to the renderings, project details for the Beach & Howe Tower garnered from documents filed with the city. The current proposal calls for 600 residential units occupying the 490-foot-tall tower, which could become the city's fourth tallest building (and BIG's tallest tower, 40 feet taller than their W57 hybrid tower in Manhattan). Condos fill the upper floors while 180 apartments are situated in a nine-story podium base along with a mix of commercial and retail space. The program also calls for 713 parking spaces and 270 bike spaces. The development sits adjacent to the Granville Street Bridge and renderings show a lively array of uses ranging from a beer garden to a weekend market to an outdoor cinema beneath the massive highway deck. The tower's floor plate begins as a triangle at its base and rises, twisting and corbeling to form a rectangle at its summit, an aesthetic he also employed for his winning design at the Kimball Art Center. "The tower and base are a reinvention of the local typology, known as "Vancouverism." In this typology, slender towers are grouped with mixed-use podiums and street walls that define human-scale urban environments. The aim is to preserve view cones through the city while activating the pedestrian street," Bjarke Ingels said in a letter to the city of Vancouver. "The Beach and Howe Tower is a contemporary descendant of the Flatiron Building in New York City," whose site was considered unusable until technology and the economy made the iconic building possible. "Beach and Howe's architecture is not the result of formal excess or architectural idiosyncrasies, but rather the child of its circumstances," he said. Ingels said the tower's base pulls away from the busy elevated roadway, by about 30 feet, to provide extra space between residential units and the noise and pollution of traffic. The triangular shape was employed to allow sunlight to reach a nearby park. As the tower rises and concerns from noise and pollution diminish, the floor plates expand, creating the tower's twisting aesthetic. Details remain scarce at this point, but we're pretty sure the building is going to be pretty green as well.
Bjarke Ingel's meteoric rise is perhaps the fastest of any architect since Eero Saarinen. His firm was just selected to design the renovation and expansion of the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah. Bjarke bested Will Bruder, Williams + Tsien, Brooks + Scarpa, and Sparano + Mooney. BIG's design calls for a torqued addition made of stacked railroad timbers. “BIG won the competition by proposing an iconic building that honors the spirit of Park City’s past and looks ahead into the 21st century," said juror Maurice Cox, in a statement. The phased project will begin in 2013 and be completed in 2015.
Last year, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) got their heart broken by the Times Square Alliance, which chose a hula-hoop happy design by Freecell Studio for its annual Times Square Valentine's installation. Now a spokesperson from the Alliance admits that they always "loved" BIG's design and were willing to give it a second chance. This year, the Alliance didn't go online looking for love. Instead, they went back to a former flirtation, and chose BIG's entry from last year, shunning the possibility of outside suitors. BIG calls its 10-foot high glowing heart sculpture "BIG♥NYC." The design affair was something of a ménage à quatre, with Flatcut (the fabricator), Local Projects (the interaction designers), and Zumtobel (the lighting designers) pitching in on the effort. Four-hundred LED-lit acrylic tubes wrap a cube that bounds a suspended heart. Not surprisingly, when touched the heart grows brighter.
Five noted teams have been shortlisted from a pool of 18 to renovate and expand the Kimball Art Center (KAC) in Park City, Utah. The firms include BIG/Bjarke Ingels Group; Brooks + Scarpa Architects; Sparano + Mooney Architecture; Will Bruder + Parnets; and Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The center offers exhibitions as well as art classes, workshops, and other educational programs. Plans call for renovating the interior of the existing KAC and constructing a new modern building next door. Each of the proposals will be displayed using augmented reality, photography, and video during the Sundance Film Festival from January 19 through the 29 and a jury will select a winner in February once the public has had a chance to weigh in on their favorites. Construction could begin as soon as mid-2013 with the new wing opening in 2015. "We want visitors to see Park City as an important emerging arts destination, and a new building of architectural importance, with an enhanced facility for the presentation of art, will do just that,” said Robin Marrouche, the Kimball's executive director, in a statement. “In addition to the positive economic effects the project could have on the region in the long term, we want to further enrich our community, allowing us to expand our exhibition and educational offerings and provide a much needed public gathering space in Old Town." BIG's proposal calls for a twisting, stacked timber structure made from reclaimed train tracks, enclosing an interior spiral staircase and topped with an roof terrace. A sculpture garden would be included on top of the original structure. Brooks + Scarpa Architects designed a honeycomb tower called the "Kimball Cloud" that incorporates solar energy and natural ventilation. A rooftop terrace and garden is included in the new building. Sparano + Mooney Architecture also calls for timber construction, this time inspired by the Aspen tree. The new building will be covered with a photovoltaic glass screen allowing the new space to be flooded with light. Will Bruder + Partners designed a building with a colored ceramic facade that references both the adjacent masonry buildings in Park City's historic district as well as the surrounding canyons. The proposal features a rooftop terrace and a central skylight. Todd Williams Billie Tsien's proposal, dubbed a "Box of Sky and Shadow," frames mountain views and includes an exterior scrim for film projects. Check out more images of the five proposals below. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow.
It's no mystery that Bjarke Ingels is a fan of mountains, but building craggy edifices hasn't been enough for the Danish leader of BIG. Now Bjarke has unveiled his firm's latest plans to incorporate "rooftop-skiing." He previously proposed the Hafjell Mountain Hotel in Norway in 2007 and more recently an imperiled Waste-to-Energy Plant in Denmark that appears to have stalled. The Danish firm's latest competition-winner is a 500,000-square-foot resort called Koutalaki Ski Village in the Lapland region of Finland, consisting of four landscaped buildings that double as ski slopes.
Ingels described the project as "grown from the natural topography rather than dropped from the sky." BIG's landscape-minded hybrid design "left the jury in awe," according to the Finnish developer Kassiopeia Finland Oy. The new manmade mountain is an extension to the existing framework provided by the Levi ski center. The new series of buildings will swirl out from the central square, touching the ground on both ends, enabling the skiers to descend in any direction from the rooftops. The resulting central plaza—which will be used for ice skating and music performances—will be sheltered and intimate, while at the same time open to the views of the surrounding landscapes. In the off season, the manmade landscapes will turn green, blending with the surrounding forest environment for picnics and hiking.
The city of St. Petersburg, Florida has chosen a blockbuster group made up of Michael Maltzan Architecture, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Design) and West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture as the three finalists to redesign its famous pier. Taking a leap of faith, in 2010 the city voted to demolish the current iteration, a 1970’s inverted pyramid structure and 1980’s “festival market” that St. Petersburg’s web site refers to as “the most visible landmark in the history of the city.” But the pier’s market has fallen on hard times and the city was ready to redefine both the pier itself and the city at large. As their proposals show, any one of these three architects will give St. Pete a sculptural design that will become a new landmark, to say the least. The winner will be chosen in late January. West 8's plan, called “The People’s Pier,” would be highlighted by a large circular pavilion inspired by a sea urchin called “The Eye” sitting on a new shoal in the bay. It would also create new preserved habitats, a public marina and would include a new plan for ecological waterfront development. Maltzan's ambitious plan would create a new tidal reef, a civic green, raised walking paths, an amphitheater, a watermark and other leisure activities. BIG's spiralling scheme would rethink what a pier is. It would be made up of three parts: a park, a walkway and “the wave,” a large spiral-shaped structure containing several programs. According to BIG the structure would be made up of the pier itself folding in on itself. Closer to shore the plan would contain contain a large swimming beach and a small forest.