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The BIG Steam-Ring Kickstarter: Is There a Limit to What Should Be Crowdfunded?

Update: The Kickstarter campaign launched by BIG to fund the development of their steam ring generator reached its goal of $15,000 in less than a week after it was launched. As of today (24th August) the campaign total stands just short of $25,000, with 19 days still to go.

BIG has launched a Kickstarter campaign, aiming to fund the ongoing research and prototyping of the "steam ring generator" designed to crown the firm's Waste-to-Energy power plant in Copenhagen. The campaign was announced on Friday and picked up a lot of steam (pun intended) in the design press - but at ArchDaily we were hesitant to publish news of the campaign because, in short, it led us into a minefield of questions about the role of invention, public engagement, and money in architecture.

Of course, BIG are far from the first to attempt to crowdfund an architectural project. Previous projects however have generally focused on otherwise-unfundable proposals for the public good, barely-sane moonshots or complex investment structures which depending on your viewpoint may or may not even count as crowdfunding. BIG are perhaps the first example of an established architectural firm attempting to crowdfund the design of a project that is already half-built, causing some people - ArchDaily staff included - to ask: "Why wasn't this money included in the project's budget?"

How Bjarke Ingels is Reshaping New York City's Architecture

Bjarke Ingels has become know for his “promiscuous hybrids" that are reshaping skylines worldwide. Now, after news of BIG's redesign of the 2 World Trade Center, Ingels is being credited for single-handedly transforming New York City's architecture. At the New York Times' Cities of Tomorrow conference last week, architecture critic Michael Kimmelman sat down with the 40-year-old Danish architect to discuss just how BIG is changing New York

BIG, Jean Nouvel, and 5 Others Reinterpret Arne Jacobsen's Series 7 Chair

Sixty years ago Arne Jacobsen designed the Series 7 chair - the "Sevener." Unlike many other Jacobsen designs, the chair was not designed for a specific use, leaving it to interpretation. In light of the chair's 60th anniversary, Fritz Hansen commissioned "seven cool architects" - BIG, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Snøhetta and three others - to recreate the chair. The results, after the break. 

Zaha Hadid Design. Image via www.fritzhansen.com Jun Igarashi Architects. Image via www.fritzhansen.com Neri&Hu Design & Research Office. Image via www.fritzhansen.com Jean Nouvel Design. Image via www.fritzhansen.com

Bjarke Ingels: "Denmark Has Become an Entire Country Made Out of LEGO®"

"In a matter of speaking, Denmark has become an entire country made out of LEGO®," says Bjarke Ingels. Speaking of the importance of prefab in Denmark and how LEGO® inspired his first BIG project - the "LEGO® Towers," which ultimately landed him a commission to design the LEGO® House - Bjarke Ingels discusses his favorite childhood toy and how it has helped him become a better architect.

The clip is part of the documentary, A LEGO Brickumentary which will hit theaters July 31. 

BIG Office Building to Break Ground at Philadelphia's Navy Yard

Construction is slated to begin next week on a $35 million office building designed by BIG at Philadelphia's Navy Yard. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, Liberty Property Trust will break ground Tuesday on the 94,000-square-foot office building at a site adjacent to a five-acre park designed by James Corner Field Operations. The project will be Liberty's fourteenth development at Navy Yards - a 1200-acre office park sited on a World War II Navy shipyard. 

Bjarke Ingels Talks About Two World Trade Center

Last week, after a month of speculation, BIG unveiled their plans for New York's Two World Trade Center, replacing Foster + Partners' design which although started on site, was stalled due to the financial crash of 2008. With the building's high profile, in just one week BIG's design has been the subject of intense scrutiny. In this interview, originally published by New York YIMBY as "Interview: Bjarke Ingels On New Design For 200 Greenwich Street, Aka Two World Trade Center," Nikolai Fedak talks to Bjarke Ingels about the design of the tower and why it was necessary to replace the scheme by Foster + Partners.

YIMBY sat down with Bjarke Ingels to talk about his firm’s design for 200 Greenwich Street, aka Two World Trade Center. Despite public outcry following the change from the Norman Foster version of the tower, BIG’s innovative and forward-thinking building will truly respond to the human needs of its tenants, while also punctuating the Downtown skyline with a 1,340-foot take on a classic ziggurat. We’ve also obtained a few additional renderings of the soon-to-be icon’s impact on the cityscape.

One of the design's rooftop gardens. Image © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG Lobby. Image © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG

New Site Revealed for BIG and Heatherwick-Designed Google HQ Expansion

Google has found another way to realize its futuristic Mountain View headquarter's expansion. As the San Jose Mercury News reports, the search engine giant revealed plans to utilize a vacant site just east of their existing Googleplex that was approved by the city almost a decade ago to host nearly 600,000 square-feet of office and commercial space. The approval occurred prior to the city implementing strict legislation that restricts office expansions in the North Bayshore district, therefore Google's entitlement is essentially "grandfathered in."

Olafur Eliasson To Bring LEGO Installation "The Collectivity Project" To The High Line

As part of their series of "Panorama" exhibits being presented this year, Friends Of The High Line have announced that they will host Olafur Eliasson's installation, "The Collectivity Project" from May 29th until September 30th this year on the High Line at West 30th Street. The installation, which has previously traveled to Tirana, Oslo, and Copenhagen, features an interactive imaginary cityscape made of over two tons of white LEGO bricks, with visitors invited to design, build and rebuild new structures as they see fit.

In a twist to the installation's usual presentation, High Line Art has invited high-profile architects who are working in the vicinity of the High Line to contribute one "visionary" LEGO design for the installation's opening, with BIG, David M. Schwarz Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, James Corner Field Operations, OMA New York, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Selldorf Architects, SHoP, and Steven Holl Architects all contributing one building which the public will then be able to adapt, extend or work around.

BIG and Heatherwick Trudge On with Googleplex Plans

"Google now has to convince its hometown that its intentions are non-evil," commented Bloomberg Businessweek's Brad Stone on "Building Planet Google." Referring to the City of Mountain View's decision to award land to LinkedIn over Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick's proposed Googleplex in fear of becoming a "one-corporation town," Stone details the backstory of the futuristic plans and how the architects haven't given up yet. "Neither us or Heatherwick are in the business of producing a pretty painting,” Ingels said to Stone. Read the complete story here.  

BIG and Heatherwick's Futuristic Google HQ Proposal Loses to LinkedIn

Google's ambitious plans to expand its California headquarters in Mountain View took a major blow last night when council members announced their decision to award LinkedIn three-quarters of the North Bayshore area site. With just 500,000 square-feet of area to work with, Google would only be able to construct one of its four proposed buildings.

Unveiled earlier this year, the company's futuristic "Googleplex," designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studio, gained international attention for its outlandish plans to build four Lego-like buildings beneath a cluster of translucent canopies.

As The New York Times reports, LinkedIn won the council over by promising to "preserve business diversity."

BIG and Heatherwick's Google HQ to be Built with Robots

Google's proposed California headquarters will be built with robots, according to the most recent planning documents received by the City of Mountain View Council. As the Architects' Journal reported first, the documents detail BIG and Heatherwick Studio's plan to construct the canopy-like structure's interiors with a team of robotic-crane hybrids known as "crabots."

These crabots would, in theory, establish a "'hackable' system for the building of the interior structures," says the documents, that would allow for limitless, easy, and affordable reconfiguration of space throughout the building's life. 

Video: Bjarke Ingels on Urban Hybrids and "Courtscrapers"

Bjarke Ingels has built a reputation for formulating new urban hybrids. From merging power plants with ski slopes to reintroducing nature to the workspace, Ingels' well-respected practice BIG is missioned to realize the fictitious world we all dream to inhabit by redefining conventional building typologies. An example of this is the Danish practice's New York "courtscraper" - W57, a clever union of the courtyard building and skyscraper that guarantees sunlight to all its inhabitants. Watch the video above to learn more. 

Insiders Tip BIG to Redesign Foster + Partners' World Trade Center 2 Tower

A new report from the Wall Street Journal suggests that BIG may replace Foster + Partners to realize the World Trade Center 2 (WTC2) tower - the final tower planned to be built on Ground Zero. The 79-story tower, originally designed in 2006, was stalled due to the economic crash of 2008. 

According to the report, 21st Century Fox and News Corp have "tipped" BIG to redesign the tower should they strike an agreement with project backers Silverstein Properties and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to move into the tower. If the deal goes through, the two companies would occupy nearly half of the building - enough to kickstart development. 

3 Projects Win 2015 Global Holcim Awards for Sustainability

Emerging from over 6,000 entries, three winners of the fourth Global Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction have been selected. The international competition, occurring every three years, recognizes designs that provide sustainable solutions to local issues faced by communities throughout the world. This year's winning projects addressed sites in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and the United States and will receive monetary prizes ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.

The winning entries were selected from last year's top-prize recipients in the five regional Holcim Awards competitions, a total of 15 proposals (see our previous coverage here). An international jury of industry leaders, led by Mohsen Mostafavi (Dean of Harvard University's Graduate School of Design), determined the winners of the 2015 Global Holcim Awards.

See the winners after the break.

BRONZE: BIG U contains a protective ribbon: 21 km (13 mi) of flood protection tailored to each neighborhood and the community it serves. Image Courtesy of Holcim Foundation BRONZE: View of BIG U from The Battery in the financial district. Berms are strategically located to protect the infrastructure below and create a protective upland landscape. Image Courtesy of Holcim Foundation SILVER: The common lobby with its panoramic window. Image Courtesy of Holcim Foundation BRONZE: The undulating berm in East River Park will rise 15 feet to provide flood protection and connect coast and community. Image Courtesy of Holcim Foundation

6 Proposals Revealed for Oslo's New Government Quarter

Nearly 100 architects, designers, and consultants have been developing designs for a competition for the new government quarter in Oslo. Drawing an initial 24 entries, the intent of the competition was to generate viable solutions for the future relocation of all government ministries (excluding the defense ministry), emphasizing an urban atmosphere and public elements. In the six shortlisted proposals from both local and international firms, including BIG, Snøhetta, and MVRDV, the themes of building tall and introducing green space emerged.

Now a ten-member committee of industry professionals will assist Statsbygg, the public construction advisers collaborating on the government's behalf, with the evaluation of each design. Take a look at the six proposals after the break.

Courtesy of Asplan Viak Courtesy of Snøhetta Courtesy of White Courtesy of LPO

First Look Inside BIG's W57 Manhattan Pyramid

Field Condition has published a photographic tour through BIG’s first New York project, two months after W57 topped out. A “courtscraper,” as the Danish practice affectionately calls it, the 32-story, 709-unit tower is a hybrid of the European courtyard block and New York City skyscraper. It’s tetrahedral shape, “born from logic,” is designed to provide every resident in the building's North Tower to have views of the Hudson River, while allowing sunlight deep into the building's interior space. View the project from within, after the break. 

Southeast corner of W57 (left) and the Helena (right) from West 57th Street. Image © Field Condition © Field Condition Looking South from the peak structure. Image © Field Condition Northeast corner from West 58th Street. Image © Field Condition

Architecture Documentaries To Watch In 2015

Following our top 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014 and our favourite 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013, 2015 is no exception! Our latest round up continues to feature a fantastic range of films and documentaries telling the tales of unsung architectural heroes and unheard urban narratives from around the world. This entirely fresh selection looks past the panoply of stars to bring you more of the best architectural documentaries which will provoke, intrigue and beguile.

From a film which explores one man's dream to build a cathedral (#4) and a simultaneous history of and vision of Rotterdam's future (#7), to a tour of the world's last surviving squatter town in Copenhagen (#14) and A Short History of Abandoned Sets in Morocco (#16), we present - in no particular order - thirty freshly picked documentaries for you to watch in 2015.

"A Truman Show-Style Nightmare"? Critics React to BIG and Heatherwick's Designs for Google

In their designs for Google's new headquarters, released last week amid much excitement, Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick have taken cues from the utopian visions of the past to create a radical solution for the sprawling tech campus in Mountain View, California. Citing the lack of identifiable architecture in the technology sector, a promotional video on Google’s own blog reveals how the company plans to embrace nature, community, and flexibility with the new scheme.

Chief among the company’s concerns was creating a building capable of adapting to future uses in addition to serving as a neighborhood-enhancing environment to welcome visitors from the surrounding community. As with any news related to Google, the design has already attracted the attention of the media - read on after the break for our rundown of the most salient reviews so far.

© Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio