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Lecture: Bjarke Ingels, BIG, Yes is More

February 4, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Bjarke Ingels is a Danish architect. He is heading the architectural practice Bjarke Ingels Group which he founded in 2006. In his designs, Bjarke Ingels often try to balance a playful and a practical approach to architecture.

Bjarke Ingels studied architecture at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen and the Technica Superior de Arquitectura in Barcelona, receiving his diploma in 1998. As a 3rd year student he set up his first practice and won his first competition. From 1998-2001 he worked for Office of Metropolitan Architecture and Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam.

VM housing in Ørestad, Denmark In 2001 Bjarke Ingels returned to Copenhagen to set up the architectural practice PLOT together with Belgian OMA colleague Julien de Smedt. The company achieved fast success and received significant national and international attention for their inventive designs. This included a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2004 for a proposal for a new music house for Stavanger, Norway. Their first major project to be realized was the award-winning VM Houses in Ørestad, Copenhagen in 2005. In spite of the success and attention, PLOT was disbanded in January 2006 and Bjarke Ingels created Bjarke Ingels Group, BIG, while his former partner founded Julien de Smedt Design, JDS Design.

With BIG Bjarke Ingels has continued the ideology from PLOT and has several major projects under construction or development both in Denmark and abroad. These include BIH House in Ørestad and the new Danish national Maritime museum in Elsinore, hotel projects in Norway, a highrise designed in the shape of the Chinese character for ‘people’ for Shanghai, a masterplan for the redevelopment of a former naval base and oil industry waste land into a zero-emission resort and entertainment city off the coast of Baku, Azerbaijan, shaped as the seven mountains of the country, and a museum overlooking Mexico City.

Under the BIG Banner, Bjarke recently published “Yes is more – an archcomic on architectural evolution”.

On 24 July 2009, he delivered a talk at the prestigious TED event in Oxford, UK.

Design philosophy On explaining his design ideas, Bjarke Ingels has stated: “Historically the field of architecture has been dominated by 2 opposing extremes. On one side an avant-garde full of crazy ideas. Originating from philosophy, mysticism or a fascination of the formal potential of computer visualizations they are often so detached from reality that they fail to become something other than eccentric curiosities. On the other side there are well organized corporate consultants that build predictable and boring boxes of high standard. Architecture seems to be entrenched in two equally unfertile fronts: Either naively utopian or petrifying pragmatic. We believe that there is a third way wedged in the no mans land between the diametrical opposites. Or in the small but very fertile overlap between the two. A pragmatic utopian architecture that takes on the creation of socially, economically and environmentally perfect places as a practical objective.”

Alongside his architectural practice, Bjarke has been active as a Visiting Professor at Rice University School of Architecture and Harvard Graduate School of Design and currently at Columbia University’s, Graduate School of Architecture.


February 4, 2010
5:10 pm