Bjarke Ingels is a Danish architect who is best known as the founder of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).
His designs are known for their sustainability and sociological philosophy, balancing both the practical and the playful sides of a project.
He was born in 1974, in Copenhagen, Denmark.
His mother was a dentist, while his father was an engineer.
Ingels studied at the Technica Superior de Arquitectura in Barcelona.
In 1998, he started to work for Rem Koolhaas at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam.
In 2001, Ingels and Julien de Smedt started a company based in Copenhagen, called – PLOT.
They completed a sailing club and a youth house at Sundby Harbour, Copenhagen.
In 2003, the company completed a 27,000 sq ft (2,500 m2) series of five open-air swimming pools on the Copenhagen Harbour front.
During an interview, Ingels said:
”For me, architecture is the means, not the end. It’s a means of making different life forms possible.”
In 2004, Bjarke received a Golden Lion award at the Biennale in Venice for his Stavanger Concert House.
In 2005, PLOT was disbanded.
In 2006, he founded BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), one of the world’s most advanced studios operating within the fields of development, research, urbanism, and architecture.
In 2007, Bjarke exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in NYC.
In 2009, he received the ULI Award for Excellence. In the same year, Bjarke designed the new National Library of Kazakhstan in Astana.
Also in 2009, Ingels co-founded KiBiSi, a design consultancy company. In 2010, KiBiSi designed the furniture for Ingels’ Danish Pavilion at EXPO.
Later that year, Fast Company magazine included Bjarke in its list of the 100 most creative people.
BIG opened a branch office in New York City in 2010.
In 2011, Ingels received the Danish Crown Prince’s Culture Prize. In the same year, the Wall Street Journal named Ingels The Innovator of the Year.
In 2011, his company won a competition to design the roof of the Amagerforbrænding industrial building.
In 2014, Bjarke released a video named – ”Worldcraft” as part of the Future of StoryTelling. During the video, Ingels said:
“Architecture must become Worldcraft, the craft of making our world, where our knowledge and technology doesn’t limit us but rather enables us to turn surreal dreams into inhabitable space.”
In 2015, BIG moved its US headquarters near Wall Street. The company also grew to a staff of 400 people.
BIG also added several new partners – Jakob Sand and Brian Yang in Copenhagen and Daniel Sundlin and Beat Schenk in New York.
In 2015, Bjarke started to work on a new headquarters for Google in Mountain View, California.
2 World Trade
In 2015. BIG snagged the 2 World Trade Center project. He said about his new project for Business Insider:
“The design [of 2 World Trade] looks like a vertical village of city blocks stacked on top of each other with gradual overhangs that, as each building block gets thinner, the overhang becomes longer.”
He also said that James Murdoch, the CEO of 21st Century Fox, told him “he didn’t want to build a tower.”
In 2016, he was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine.
Later that year, Ingels was a keynote speaker at the leadership conference Aarhus Symposium.
In 2017, BIG designed the new LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. It is constructed from 21 staggered blocks that resemble LEGO bricks.
During an interview, Bjarke declared abut the LEGO House:
“We have finally graduated as Danish architects.”
Ingels went on to say:
”We have made a brick building – without breaking the brick module in a single place.”
In 2018, he was named Chief Architect at WeWork.
In the same year, Ingels received the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Dannebrog.
In 2019, BIG completed its first public school project in Arlington, Virginia, USA. The school is named – ”The Heights Building.” According to the Architectural Digest, the building merges two existing secondary schools under one roof that can accommodate up to 775 students.
On November 7, 2009, Ingels released his first book – ”Yes is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution.”
The book uses the comic book format to detail its agenda for contemporary architecture.
BIG Time documentary was released on May 3, 2017. It shows the Danish architect flying back and forth between Copenhagen and New York and working on amazing projects in both places.
In addition, he appeared in a documentary film by Kaspar Astrup Schröder, titled – ”My Playground.”
In 2016, Bjarke started to date Spanish architect Ruth Otero.
He has one child, named – Darwin Otero Ingels.
In 2019, he has delivered a TED Talk focusing on floating cities.
In another TED talk, Bjarke discussed the viability of building on Mars.
“What changes over time is the naivety fades away, but it is replaced by another kind of confidence that will make you better at seizing the moment.”
“Great buildings blatantly express their true essence to the world.”
“Buildings should respond to the local environment and climate in a sort of conversation to make it habitable for human life.”
“I really see the role of architecture and of architects to be completely involved with the rest of society.”
“It’s easy to overinterpret and see life as your own personal movie with yourself as the star of it.”
“Architects have to become designers of eco-systems.”
He currently works on over 50 projects around the world.
His website address is www.big.dk.
Ingels starred in one episode of Netflix’s Abstract: The Art of Design.
Some of BIG’s built projects include:
- Business Innovation Hub, Amherst;
- Mountain Dwellings;
- Danish National Maritime Museum;
- Gammel Hellerup Gymnasium;
- Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art;
- VM Houses;
- Sjakket Community Building;
- Psychiatric Hospital;
- the Danish Pavilion;
- Copenhagen Harbour Baths.
BIG hired a former SpaceX rocket scientist, Scott Moon, to work on a hyperloop connecting Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as on various Mars exploration projects.