Somewhere between wild, crazy avant-garde architecture we all too often see as concepts only and the practical but boring boxes that are frequently the result of battles with building committees and budget revisions, there exists Bjarke Ingels Group, also known as BIG. Ingels talks about ‘pragmatic utopian architecture’ and it is testimony to his approach that his practice seems to have a knack of making the extraordinary actually happen. BIG display their projects on the front page of their website and it is possible to reorder them in a variety of ways including status. And when you do you will see 77 ideas, 34 in progress or under construction and sixteen completed. We think that’s a fairly good return.
We wanted to give you a taste of what they do and tempt you to explore their work.
These are the visuals for the VMCP building, one from the ‘in progress’ stack. It is a hotel and conference centre at nearby Arlanda Airport on the road to Stockholm. Small variations in the horizontal window band on the three sides of this triangular building creates a pattern which, seen from a distance turns into portraits of members of the Swedish Royal family. This is probably not going to be popular amongst local republicans and we’re sure Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi both wish they had thought of this one. But extraordinary never the less.
These 230 homes in Orestad are definitely in the completed pile. They all have double height spaces to the north and views to the south. The building is designed to provide optimal air, light and views to all the flats.
The BIG web site describes the short corridors which get light from both ends as being ‘like bullet holes through the buildings’, not an analogy most of us would chose to describe high density housing.
And a couple from the ‘Ideas’ stack. BIG’s response to the undulating land in Huxai, China, is to propose a building that slopes with it, even to the extend that the underside becomes a sixth plane under which there are shops and car parking.
There is something very exciting about the idea of walking under a hotel. Just a thought though, shouldn’t we have a few more Asian characters in our visual mock up software by now?
And this, one day, could be a reason to visit Azerbaijan. The site for the proposed World Trade Center is on the water front of Baku City. Think of this as office and hotel towers folding together to form a conference facility at the top.
There is something about this which reminds us as of the Grande Arche de la Defense in Paris. But maybe that’s just because its a building with a significant hole. As we said, it is strictly on the ideas pile and we can hear structural engineers and builders muttering unkind things about architects and ‘sky hooks’. But dreaming up extraordinary structures is what good architects do, making them happen is a mark of greatness. We can only wish BIG well. If you want ot know more about them their ‘Archicomic (Ingels has said he always wanted to be comic artist) Yes is More is now available as a download for your Ipad from the Itunes store. Paper printed versions are also available.