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Bjarke Ingels is a prominent Danish architect whose career has taken him around the world working for the likes of Google, LEGO and Hyperloop. If that weren’t enough, he’s also been featured in WIRED magazine, a Netflix documentary series and been honoured by the Wall Street Journal – all by the age of just 42. Here we take a look at some of his most impressive projects, delivered though his practice Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).
5 - TWO WORLD TRADE CENTER, UNITED STATES
First up is Two World Trade Center, a structure rising to over 80 storeys that is set to be constructed close to the ground zero site in Lower Manhattan.
The tower will sit between two very different New York neighbourhoods; the Financial District – with its numerous glass skyscrapers – and TriBeCa with its lofts and roof gardens. From the World Trade Center site the building will appear to match those adjacent to it, whilst the view from TriBeCa will be of its stepped garden terraces.
Above and Below: The proposed Two World Trade Center tower with its stepped terraces (images courtesy of DBOX [above] and BIG [below]).
Although foundations have been installed and the slab formed more or less to street-level, the construction of the tower itself is currently on hold as tenants for the new building are sought. Numerous high-profile media organisations have flirted with the idea of calling the tower home. It’s expected that works will progress as economic outlooks improve.
4 – HUALIEN RESIDENCES, CHINA
The Hualien structures, currently under construction in Taiwan, are designed to blend with the surrounding landscape.
Their strip forms run east to west to offer the best views, whilst shading properties from Taiwan’s intense tropical climate. Green roofs help the residences to further blend with their surroundings whilst mitigating heat gains.
Above: The residences are designed to blend with the surrounding landscape (image courtesy of BIG).
3 – GOOGLE NORTH BAYSHORE CAMPUS, UNITED STATES
Working in close collaboration with the tech-giant themselves and with British designer Thomas Heatherwick, Ingels and the team sought to bring the Google’s innovative spirit into the physical realm; refusing to build a corporate headquarters and instead forming a vibrant new neighbourhood of Mountain View in California.
Above: The proposed Google facility in Mountain View (image courtesy of Google, BIG and Heatherwick Studio).
Google’s energy-efficient ‘North Bayshore Campus’ will be formed of flexible working space within a glass envelope that blurs the line between the indoor and outdoor worlds.
Above: Google's North Bayshore campus will be enclosed within a glass envelope (image courtesy of Google, BIG and Heatherwick Studio).
Ingels notes that nature is not overly programmed or prescribed and brings this concept of flexibility into Google’s work environment so that they can
quickly adapt to changing work patterns over the coming decades. Indeed the facility goes out of its way to embrace nature and links with the local
community, combating the sea of concrete parking across Silicon Valley and in Heatherwick’s words “helping the organisation to keep their feet on the
Ingels and Heatherwick are also currently collaborating on the design of Google’s new home in London.
2 – VIA 57 WEST, UNITED STATES
VIA 57 West was completed in 2016 and is Ingels’ first project in New York.
The uniquely-formed residential tower rises to 467 feet (around 142 meters) in its north-east corner, opening views from the courtyard across the Hudson River. Its slope is punctuated by terraces and links the low-rise structures to the south with the surrounding towers to the north.
Above: VIA 57 West is a striking new addition to the New York skyline (image courtesy of Iwan Baan).
Its courtyard is inspired by a traditional Copenhagen urban oasis and provides residents with green space in the heart of Manhattan. The building is one of the most impressive new additions to the New York skyline and has made Ingels’ a name for himself in the US.
1 – HYPERLOOP ONE, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Easily taking our top spot is Ingels’ mind-blowing design for part of Hyperloop One in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Hyperloop is a new high-speed transportation system devised by Elon Musk that’s billed as the fastest way to cross the surface of the earth. Pods containing passengers and cargo are loaded onto transporters that travel at airline speed in pressurised tubes using electric propulsion and magnetic levitation (we told you it was mind blowing).
Above: A portion of the proposed pressurised tubes that Hyperloop's transporters travel in (image courtesy of Hyperloop One and BIG).
Proposals for a link between Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE will bring the two cities to within just 12 minutes of each other, smashing the current two hour car journey time.
Bjarke Ingels has designed the pods and portals (or stations) in the two cities, with a focus on increased convenience and reduced interruptions to the travel experience. Each passenger pod has room for six people and a range of seating configurations. They operate autonomously from the transporters, and can move on regular roads to collect passengers at any point.
Above: Dubai's proposed 'Burj Khalifa' portal and Below: Ingel's design for the passenger pods (images courtesy of Hyperloop One and BIG).
Other projects that just missed our list but are of course worthy of mention include Ingels’ Serpentine Gallery design in the United Kingdom, LEGO House – a LEGO visitor’s experience centre that is currently under construction in Denmark – and proposals for the Yongsan International Business District in South Korea.
Ingels is often described as architecture’s ‘man of the moment’ in 2017, but considering his trajectory – and his age – it’s likely that his best is yet to come.
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Images and footage courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), George Steinmetz, DBOX, Google, Heatherwick Studio, Iwan Baan, Nic Lehoux, Hyperloop One, Laurian Ghinitoiu and LEGO Group.
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