Bjarke Ingels: High Riser

The Danish Architect Provokes BIG Questions During the Venice Biennale Architectura 2012

Young starchitect Bjarke Ingels talks manifestation, midwifery and shamanism while riding down the Venice canals in this short by Kelly Loudenberg. Known for his impressive architectural endeavors like a state-of-the-art waste-to-energy power plant in Copenhagen that will be outfitted with an outdoor ski slope for use during Nordic winters, and the 8 House apartment complex just outside the Danish capital that allows residents to bike all the way up to their top floor apartments, Ingels is a vocal advocate for “hedonistic sustainability” and was recently profiled in The New Yorker. “Find a job you love and you won’t have to work another day in your life again,” advises the young creative. “If you let your desire guide you, if you take decisions with your heart and with a smile on your face, they are probably wiser decisions in the long run.” In Venice as a contributor to the Danish pavilion exploring future visions of Greenland, Ingels together with his firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) proposed Air + Port, a mixed-use air and sea hub on the island of Angisunnguaq. Now based in New York, Ingels is currently working on his first American project, a residential building in Hell’s Kitchen called W57 that will occupy an entire block and add a distinct, sloped pyramid-shaped silhouette to the Manhattan skyline. Here the dynamic Dane considers alternate career paths, architectural envy, and kittens.

Your firm is called BIG—list a few things that always are better big? 
Ideas, checks, balloons, brown eyes.

And a few that should always be small? 
Carbon footprint, energy bills––well, any bill––kittens. Sometimes the most interesting is when you can combine both. Just ask Biggie Smalls. 

Biking up a building to reach your apartment; skiing down a trash processing plant...what sporting activity is next to be included in one of your designs? 
We started construction on a 588-meter-tall tower in Tianjin, China, that would be pretty amazing for base-jumping in a squirrel suit. 

If you hadn’t become an architect, what would you have been? 

Biggest source of architectural envy (i.e. monument you wish you’d built)?
The Sydney Opera House by Danish architect Jørn Utzon.

We hear you've got a thing for fast cars. If you designed your own car, what would it feature? 
A Tesla with four seats and a convertible roof would be a pretty sweet deal—and automated driving when the traffic is too dense and static for human enjoyment.

Favorite music to work to? 
The Knife, Giana Factory, The William Blakes.

Best place for a late-night bite after leaving the office? 
[Arty TriBeCa barroom] Smith and Mills, NYC.

You’re adding a building to the New York skyline at the age of 38. What's one thing you want to do before you're 40? 
Well, we just broke ground, and with a little luck I’ll actually finish it! 

Three things the city of tomorrow should prioritize? 
Biodiversity, cultural diversity and architectural diversity.

(Read More)

Conversations (4)

  • JustinJoseph
    This is very existential--being about much more than a process of architect's observing,designing and repairing. we, collectively as humans need to observe and reassess the very lining and consequences of our endeavors.
  • Suzann Fulbright
    Top priority: cities do not have enough green space. Trees in Battery Park are so anemic I cry for them and their struggle. Everywhere in NYC the air stinks of urine and rot. The point of diminishing returns in population density is long surpassed in NYC. And NYC is a small town in the context of the world. Moreover, when I bother myself to travel to a city, like Paris, for instance, I want French history, French architecture, French people, French wine and French food. Not Chinese, not Indian, not McDonalds, Subway .... Name one British restaurant in London other than Simpson's. Cities taken are losing their distinctive character in the name of "diversity." To have cultural diversity in the world it is required that its cities retain some of their lack of it.
  • drew8
    "Less is more.""Less is a bore."..."Yes,we can!""Yes is More.""One is all?(or,One in all all in one;一即一切,一切即一)!"!Thank you!
    • Posted By drew8
    • January 03, 2013 at 7:40AM
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  • drew8
    Shamanism is a religion ,萨满教的定义基本上有两点特色: (一)意识转换:从萨满教的脉络来看,意识转换即是出神(ecstasy)状态,Mircea Eliade认为,出神同死亡一样,暗示着转变(mutation),在这种转变的状态中,平常实在(ordinary reality)和超常实在(non-ordinary reality)之间出现桥梁。ecstasy一字源于希腊字ekstasis,字面意义为放在外面(to be placed outside)或被放置(to be placed),意谓外于或超越自身的状态,即超越平常实在,能够与超常实在沟通。在萨满教中,一般称这种意识转换状态的超常实在过程为萨满旅程(shamanic journey);(二)疗愈能力:不论萨满得到的是知识或是力量,作为信息的知识或力量都具有疗愈性,可与其它治疗方式搭配,疗愈的指导通常包括疗愈的方式和精灵助手的决定等。萨满所疗愈的对象不祇包括自己或他人,也包括大地或世界;萨满疗愈的范围则包含了物质、身体、心理和灵性等各个层面。更精简地来说,萨满教的意义就在于其疗愈功能,不论是治疗疾病或是意识转换,萨满教的目的都在于维持健康和增进健全,如前文所言,所谓健全不仅是指人类、自然以及人类和自然关系的健全,也包括了人类潜能的发掘、自我的完成或大我的实现。   与前述大地之母的常青灵性或万物有灵论相同,萨满教的世界观可以归结于三点: (一)万物都是活的;(二)万物相系;(三)万物皆神圣。或人类中心主义或科技造成生态危机,或机械论世界观使人类与自然的疏离,或集体主义对个体的箝制,种种的危机都是萨满教「复兴」的原因。也因为这样的背景,新萨满教的时代特色主要就在于「强调」自然与个体的能力。过去,萨满「被视为是某个特定阶层的人、具有特定人格或是被公众所授定的人才能够扮演的角色。」现在,则视为所有的人都具有成为萨满的能力,体验到与万物一体和万物之神圣,感受到存在本身就是意义与价值,这种回归大地之母的怀抱、回归生命本身就如Gossett & Wallace所说:「无论情绪是欢愉或痛苦,整个身体/灵性/心都明白到,萨满经验实现了深层原初的出神需要,这种出神是人类存在的意义!
    • Posted By drew8
    • January 03, 2013 at 7:39AM
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