In an ode to one of the first writers to inspire a dedicated museum, the city of Odense, Denmark, has launched a competition to develop a 63,583-square-foot visitor attraction based on the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen. This new feature, sited mostly underground, will be tacked onto the existing Hans Christian Andersen Museum, which is located in the little yellow corner house in the old city precinct where the writer was born. According to the contract notice, the city-center attraction will inspire empathy, imagination, and play to form the basis for learning about Andersen’s fairytale world, which includes household-name children’s fables such as The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling. In addition to the extra underground real estate, 3,498 square feet of the existing buildings will be adapted as part of a downtown regeneration project. Two years ago, the city of Odense launched a similar competition at the same site for a "House of Fairytales," receiving entries such as The Tower of Labyrinth by architect Rodion Kitaev to a roughly conical tower with a statue of the writer dipped in gold at the top by Adam E. Anderson. The winners of "House of Fairytales"—Transborder Studio, Rodion Kitaev, and London-based Leith Kerr Architects—have been encouraged to compete for the new contract. Five teams will receive $22,000 each during the first stage of the competition, and finalists will receive an additional $30,000 to compete in the final round. Due by August 5, proposals may be submitted in English, Danish, Swedish, or Norwegian.
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With Bjarke Ingels’ pyramid-like tower—dubbed the “courtscraper”—rising quickly on Manhattan’s West Side, the globe-trotting architect has unveiled plans for his latest sloping project. And this one has the Dane back in Denmark. In his home country, in the city of Aarhus, Bjarke has created “Aarhus Island,” a mixed-use development along the water. Like so much of his residential work, Bjarke has gone angular at the island. In Aarhus, the architect creates stepped towers that rise to defined peaks. According to DesignBoom, which first reported the plans, these residential buildings include more than 200 units. At the water’s edge, the sharp lines of those structures meet the curved edges of an extensive boardwalk. This structure wraps around the development and includes an amphitheater, cafes and shops, floating swimming pools, and a sandy beach-like area. With all the tanning bodies in the renderings you almost forget that Aarhus Island is in Denmark and not say, a country where the average summertime temperature is above 70 degrees fahrenheit. Can't win them all. Work is slated to begin next year with the first components of Aarhus Island opening in 2017. Get those swim trunks ready!
The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has begun assembling the pieces of its life-size LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. The wunderkind, himself, recently joined the LEGO Group’s brass (er, plastic?) for the ceremonial groundbreaking, which was really more of a brick-laying as six LEGO-shaped foundation stones were unveiled at the site. Imprinted on those stones were the words: “imagination, creativity, fun, learning, caring, and quality.” According to LEGO, the 129,000-square-foot structure—which, duh is shaped like the little bricks—will offer both “hands-on” and “minds-on” experiences. Those experiences will be had within four separate “play zones.” For the more academic tots, the LEGO House will also present “the story of the family company including the development of the LEGO products, the LEGO brand and the LEGO Group.” Not as exciting, but still important. “[LEGO House] will appear like a cloud of interlocking LEGO bricks that form spaces for exploration and exhibition for its visitors within,” Ingels said in a statement. “On the outside the pile of bricks form the roof of a new covered square as well as a mountain of interconnected terraces and playgrounds."
LEGO Architecture has released a new box set—and from the looks of it, this isn't your grandmother’s architectural plaything. The new LEGO set is not the usual plastic-brick model of Rockefeller Center or the Empire State Building. No, this new set is cutting-edge. It goes where no other LEGO box set has gone before: it's a replica of an icon so iconic that it doesn’t even exist yet. It’s a limited-edition replica of the Bjarke Ingels–designed LEGO Museum in the company’s birthplace of Billund, Denmark. Spotted by John Hill at A Daily Dose of Architecture and selling on eBay for well over $100, the set also features what appears to be a shaggy-haired Bjarke Ingels figurine, which would place him in the company of Yoda, the Lone Ranger, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as icons that have also been shrunk to LEGO-sized proportions. Hill described the set as "LEGO imitating architecture imitating LEGO," a reference to BIG's clear inspiration for the LEGO House. A video-rendering of the project (above) might even double as an assembly guide for the LEGO Architecture Series set. The real LEGO House will be a blocky, 82,000-square-foot exhibition space designed to celebrate the toy’s history. BIG's real-life museum isn't projected to open until 2016, so if you buy the set now, you'll probably beat Bjarke to the finish line.
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.
[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.
Against all odds, BIG-founder Bjarke Ingels is actually building a mountain-slash-ski-slope-slash-waste-to-energy-power-plant in his hometown of Copenhagen. Announced in 2011, the project nearly stalled during the approval process, but officials in the Danish capital broke ground on the facility on Monday. Called the Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant, the structure represents Ingels' concept of Hedonistic Sustainability, the notion that a sustainable building shouldn't only be green, but should also be fun. And the Amager Bakke design certainly will be a tourist draw to Copenhagen's industrial waterfront, inviting visitors to ascend to the top of the facility via elevators and ski down its sloping rooftop year round. Several slopes to accommodate varying skill levels are included on the roof where a synthetic material serves as snow. Evergreen trees at the periphery of the slopes complete the Alpine scene. The facade is imagined as a checkerboard modular planters resembling oversized bricks with windows with facing an interior atrium in between. A slender chimney at the building's peak, updated from the original design, releases smoke rings periodically, indicating when one ton of CO2 has been released into the atmosphere. In 2011, the price of the incinerator was estimated at $645 million.
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.
Chimes Bridged. It seems there's something to making music while we walk. First a Swedish architect designed piano stairs and now an artist has created a musical bridge. Blending the sculptural, auditory, and kinetic, artist Mark Nixon designed a whimsical bridge that "sings." Chimes hidden below the span are activated as visitors walk across, Gizmodo says. The musical creation was last displayed at Sculpture by the Sea, an exhibition in Aarhus, Denmark. Village Uncovered. Villa Epecuen, a town located on Lake Epecuen, southwest of Buenos Aires, was flooded in 1985, but now after more than two decades, the water is receding. Photographs by The Atlantic uncover a strange, haunting landscape: aerial views expose the original street layout of the town, while others reveal original trees and cars visible amid the rubble. Carmageddon Averted. For two days last weekend, the busiest stretch of highway in America—the 405 Freeway in LA—was shut down for construction. While many feared disastrous traffic jams bringing life in LA to a halt, it turns out that life went on without incident, according to the LA Times. During the traffic-non-event, JetBlue offered to fly residents between two of the city's airports in Burbank and Long Beach, sparking a challenge from cyclists who said they could make the trip faster. As reported in Slate, it turns out the bikes were right, making the trip nearly an hour-and-a-half faster than by plane. Destruction Archived. Information Aesthetics points us to the “Hiroshima Archive” which documents the extensive societal and structural devastation the atomic bomb caused 66 years ago. Using Google Earth’s virtual globe, the digital archive exhibits topographical maps, contemporary building models, photographs, and personal accounts from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Hiroshima Jogakuin Gaines Association, and the Hachioji Hibakusha (Atomic Bomb Survivors) Association.
Hem Sweet Hem. We love this quirky story from our friends at Curbed. The Swedish-based IKEA is well on itsway to worldwide domination of the budget-furniture market -- and who doesn't love wandering through the cavernous stores and imagining life in the mini habitats arranged throughout the store? Photographer Christian Gideon sure did. His latest project documents what life might look like if you lived in one. Subsidy Switch. LA's Mayor Villaraigosa promised not to spend any taxpayer money to a proposed football stadium in the city, but the project's lead architect is another matter entirely. According to LA Weekly, the mayor is sending $1 million slated for the city's poor to lead-architect Gensler as they prepare to move their offices from Santa Monica to downtown LA. Elvis Goes Danish. Think living at IKEA was strange enough? Well, the Historic Sites Blog hopes to top that. Apparently there is now a replica of Graceland in Denmark. Yes, Denmark. If those photos weren't enough, the BBC has a brief video of the Danish dupe. Empire Example. According to gbNYC, the Empire State Building plans to be in the LEED when it comes to retrefotting historic buildings. Though owner Anthony Malkin, the man behind the green curtain, didn't set out to achieve the green label for one of the city's highest profile building, he's apparently changed his tune.
Where one architect might see an incinerator, Bjarke Ingels, principal at Dutch firm BIG, envisions a ski slope. Ingels has been fond of the mountain typology and he hasn't been all that subtle about it, giving projects names like Mountain Dwellings and emblazoning Mount Everest on the side. In his latest competition-winning proposal for Copenhagen, BIG takes the concept one step further, with a mountain you can actually ski down. Perhaps more accurately, the $645 million waste-to-energy facility is a volcano, periodically spewing smoke rings from its summit every time one ton of CO2 has been released into the atmosphere. BIG (with realities:united, AKT, Topotek 1, and Man Made Land) clad the building with a modular grid of planters and windows resembling oversize bricks. The rooftop "snow" will actually be made of a synthetic granular material that “The new plant is an example of what we at BIG call Hedonistic Sustainability – the idea that sustainability is not a burden, but that a sustainable city in fact can improve our quality of life," said Bjarke Ingels in a statement. "The Waste-to-Energy plant with a ski slope is the best example of a city and a building which is both ecologically, economically and socially sustainable.” While the sheer industrial scale of power plants often captures the imagination of many architects, the notion that a power plant might invite its city to approach and interact, even ski on top of it, is so new it borders on absurd, but we have to agree with David Zahle, partner at BIG, who said in a statement, "I can’t wait to ski on a base of clean and green energy with a view over the city in 2016.”