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.