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Bjarke Ingels

Danish architect and founder of the BIG Studio, Bjarke Ingels is the Steve Jobs of architecture: a visionary who loves simplicity and looks to the future. In 2009, he co-founded the KiBiSi, a design consulting firm.

Bjarke Ingels at a press conference in front of his design of a mixed use tower in Frankfurt am Main (June 2015).

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About The Author

Bjarke Ingels was born in Copenaghen  in 1974. He studied architecture at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen and the Higher Technical School of Architecture in Barcelona, ​​graduating as an architect in 1998. In his third year of studies, he practiced his career for the first time winning his first contest. From 1998 to 2001, he worked for OMA – Office for Metropolitan Architecture and directly for Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam. In 2001, Bjarke returned to Copenhagen and together with Julien de Smedt (his companion at OMA), he founded the PLOT architecture studio. The company quickly achieved success, receiving international attention for its creative designs. He was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennial in 2004 for the proposal of the new house of music for Stavanger, Norway. His first PLOT achievement was the prize won by VM Houses in Ørestad, Copenhagen in 2005.

VIA 57 West- Manhattan. VIA 57 West is a hybrid between the European perimeter block and a traditional Manhattan high-rise, combining the advantages of both: the compactness and efficiency of a courtyard building with the airiness and the expansive views of a skyscraper.

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Despite its success, PLOT was dissolved in January 2006. Therefore, Bjarke Ingels created BIG, with which, Bjarke has continued with the ideology of PLOT and currently has several projects in full design or already under construction in Denmark and Euroasia. These include BIH House in Ørestad, the new Danish maritime museum in Elsinore, hotels in Norway, a skyscraper in the shape of a Chinese letter meaning “people” in Shanghai, a master plan for the renovation of a naval base and an oil industry in an entertainment station zero-emission on the coast of the city of Baku in the shape of 7 mountains in the country, and a museum looking towards Mexico City. Along with the BIG team, Bjarke recently published Yes is More, an arch comic on the evolution of architecture.

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Superkilen in Copenhagen, Denmark (2011-2012) is a linear urban park. It is an artistic and social experiment because it is situated in a difficult area, populated by many immigrant people of different nationalities, each with its own culture and its own uses and religions. The project intends to redevelop an area of low urban value and at the same time wants to be an opportunity for a moment of dialogue and comparison between the various inhabitants of the area.

Image source: by mlcastle

Superkilen park, Copenhagen

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How Can We Identify Ingels’ Style?

In his drawings, Bjarke Ingels often tries to achieve a balance between playful and practical approaches to architecture. With his BIG studio, founded in 2005, he has established himself on the international scene, thanks to his unique, immediate and iconic vision of architecture. Some critics state that his drawings are simplistic, appealing, but empty. For those who love it (and among these stand out names like Google and LEGO, who have commissioned their new Headquarters), just the strength of simplicity is its trump card. Bjarke does not tolerate the complexity, hermetic, self-referential and pretentious attitude that makes many architects tremendously boring. On the other hand, he has an immoderate passion for bold geometries, emphatic forms, extreme dynamism that emanates from twists and spirals: essential, yes, but without ever giving up a certain theatricality.

VM Houses is a housing complex consisting of two adjacent condominiums located in Ørestad, Copenhagen district, Denmark.

Image source: by corno.fulgur75

To be effective, architecture must be able to communicate, find a direct and empathetic way of interacting with people. Because ultimately, it is not the end, but a mean, at the service of human life, and therefore must evolve and adapt to respond to the dreams and drives of society, aiming to create physical contexts that maximize pleasure and happiness. There is a proudly hedonistic, playful, optimistic trait in this idea of ​​architecture. He is a skilled communicator who prefers storytelling to technique. Before starting to draw, Bjarke studies the context in depth, relates to the customers but also to those who must live in a particular place, be it a park, a museum, a stadium or an incinerator, because the final result reflects tangible needs, tastes, peculiarities.

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Hualien Residences, Taiwan. The condominium is the first of a series designed to create a pseudo-hills landscape along the coast.
Hualien Residences Taiwan

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What Are His Best Known Works?

  • 8 House
bighouse or 8-tallet, copenhagen 2006-2010

Image source: by seier+seier

In 2006, it was commissioned by St. Frederikslund and Per Hopfner. The 61,000 sqm tie-shaped construction of mixed-use buildings of three different types of residential housing and 10,000 sqm of shops and offices includes Denmark’s largest private development ever undertaken. The 8 House contains all the ingredients of a lively urban district in horizontal layers of types connected by a continuous walk and bike path from the ground to the top, moving along the terraced houses with gardens, through an urban perimeter creating a three-dimensional urban district where the suburban life merges with the energy of a city, where business and housing coexist. The 8 House creates two intimate inner courtyards, separated from the center of the cross that houses 500 square meters of common facilities available to all residents. At the same point, the building is crossed by a 9-meter wide passage that allows people to move easily.

bighouse or 8-tallet

Image source: by seier+seier

Two sloping green roofs are strategically positioned to reduce the urban heat island effect and provide the visual identity of the project and connect it to adjacent farmland to the south. “8 House is a three-dimensional neighborhood rather than an architectural object: an alley of 150 terraced houses extends through the entire block and winds from the street level upwards and downwards. Spontaneous and interaction with neighbors are traditionally limited to ground level, the 8 House allows it to expand to the top is our second example of architectural alchemy – the idea that mixing traditional ingredients, retail, houses terraced and apartments in non-traditional ways – create added value if not gold. The mix allows individual activities to find the way to the most ideal position within the common framework: the street in front of the detail, the offices towards the light of the north and the residences with the sun and the views towards the open spaces 8 House is a perimeter block that turns into a node, rotating and turning to maximize the quality of life of its numbers osi inhabitants” said Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

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  • Mountain Dwellings
Mountain Dwellings in Copenaghen Denmark

Image source: by seier+seier

Mountain Dwellings offers the best of two worlds: the proximity to the busy city life in central Copenhagen and the characteristic tranquility of suburban life.  Mountain Dwellings are the second generation of VM homes. Instead of creating two separate buildings next to each other – a parking lot and a residential building – the architect decided to merge both functions into a symbiotic relationship. Parking must be connected to the street, and the houses require light, fresh air and views, so all the apartments have sunny roof-top gardens, stunning views and parking. Mountain Dwelings looks like a neighborhood of suburban homes with a garden flowing over a 10-story building – suburban life with urban density. The rooftop gardens consist of a terrace and a garden with plants that change the character according to seasonal changes. The building has a huge irrigation system that keeps the gardens green. The only thing that separates the house from the garden is a glass façade with sliding doors to provide light and fresh air.

Mountain Dwellings

Image source: by glennharper

The residents of the 80 apartments are the first to have the possibility to have a parking space right outside their homes. The parking lot is gigantic, contains 480 parking spaces and a sloping lift that moves along the interior walls of the mountain. At some points, the ceiling height is 16 meters, which gives the impression of a space similar to that of a cathedral. The north and west facades are covered with aluminum perforated plates, which allow air and light to enter the parking area. The holes in the façade form an enormous reproduction of Mount Everest. During the day, when the holes in the aluminum plates look like polished black aluminum, the gigantic image will resemble that of a rough and rasterized photo. At night, the façade is illuminated from the inside and looks like a photographic negative of different colors, since each floor of the parking lot has different colors.

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