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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Banality,” the theme of Storefront‘s Critical Halloween costume fundraiser, was manifested in an array of clever–and occasionally perplexing–forms on Saturday evening at the 3-Legged Dog in Manhattan. Blizzard-like conditions did not deter a group of over 250 design-o-philes and at least one (in)famous party crasher from getting decked out in spandex, foam, plush, rubber, tulle, and acres of cardboard. The weather did prevent Liz Diller from arriving to judge the costume contest, but her fearless partner Charles Renfro stepped into the breach, and channeling Damien Hirst in a rhinstone-studded skull mask (“Greed”), took his place alongside judges Wangechi Mutu (embodying Pantone’s “Bluebird”) and Justin Davidson (dressed as an architecture critic).
If Bjarke Ingels‘ ascension into starchitecture hasn’t been dramatic enough, the Danish architect is again moving up in the world. On Friday, Ingels’ firm BIG threw a party to christen their new office space in Manhattan. BIG has expanded its Chelsea presence, moving up from the third to the twelfth floor of the Starrett-Lehigh Building. A press preview of the new space preceded the party a couple floors above. Among those in attendance were Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, who earlier this month awarded Ingels the $90,000 Culture Prize—the MacArthur of Scandinavia—for his emerging work in architecture.
Now it looks like Ingels’ October has just been getting started. The Wall Street Journal Magazine will declare the Danish architect among its inaugural Innovators of the Year. Read More