Sports & Arts Expansion at Gammel Hellerup Gymnasium / BIG

© Iwan Baan

Architects: BIG
Location: Duntzfelts Alle 21, 2900 , Denmark
Multi Use Hall & Gymnasium Partners In Charge: , Finn Nørkjær
Multi Use Hall & Gymnasium Project Leaders: Ole Schrøder, Ole Elkjær-Larsen, Frederik Lyng
Multi Use Hall & Gymnasium Team: Ana Merino, Anders Hjortnæs, Christian Alvarez, Dennis Rasmussen, Gül Ertekin, Henrick Poulsen, Hjalti Gestsson, Jan Magasanik, Jakob Lange, Jacob Thomsen, Jeppe Ecklon, Ji-young Yoon, Michael Schønemann, Narisara Schröder, Riccardo Mariano, Rune Hansen, Snorre Nash, Thomas Juul-Jensen, Vincent He, Xu Li
Area: 2500.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Iwan Baan, Jens Lindhe, Rasmus Hjortshoj, Peter Moldow

BIG and Heatherwick Trudge On with Googleplex Plans

Courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek

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

© / BIG / Heatherwick Studio

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

© / BIG / Heatherwick Studio

Google’s proposed California headquarters will be built with robots, according to the most recent planning documents received by the City of 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

Orignial WTC scheme;

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

Courtesy of Holcim Foundation

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 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.

6 Proposals Revealed for Oslo’s New Government Quarter

Courtesy of BIG

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 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.

First Look Inside BIG’s W57 Manhattan Pyramid

South Facade. Image © Field Condition

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. 

Architecture Documentaries To Watch In 2015

Microtopia (2013) / Jesper Wachtmeister

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 ’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  (#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

© 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.

See BIG & Heatherwick’s Design for Google’s California Headquarters

© Google / BIG /

Images have been unveiled of BIG and Heatherwick Studio’s design for Google’s Mountain View headquarters. The plan, submitted to city council today, proposes to redevelop and expand the company’s home office with a series of lightweight canopy-like structures organized within a flexible landscape of bicycle paths and commercial opportunities for local companies. 

“It’s the first time we’ll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working,” says Google. “The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas… Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.”

A video about the design and a statement from Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, after the break. 

BIG’s “Unconventional” Uppsala Power Plant Designed to Host Summer Festivals

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The city of Uppsala invited BIG to design a biomass cogeneration plant that would offset its peak energy loads throughout the fall, winter and spring as part of an international competition (ultimately won by Liljewall Arkitekter). Home to Scandinavia’s oldest university and landmark cathedral, the plant proposal’s biggest challenge was to respect the city’s historic skyline. 

Considering the project’s proposed seasonal use, BIG envisioned a dual-use power plant that transcends the public perception; in the summer months, the “crystalline” proposal was designed to transform into a venue for festivals during the peak of tourism. 

Google Taps BIG and Heatherwick to Design New California Headquarters

Image: Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick

The City of is expected to receive a massive proposal from the city’s largest employer; reports confirm that Google has enlisted Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Heatherwick Studio to design its new California headquarters. With the few details released, it is unclear if the proposal plans to update the company’s existing 3.1 million-square-foot Googleplex or replace it. However, as the New York Times reports, the proposal will boast a “series of canopy-like buildings” on a campus organized around bicycle and pedestrian paths.

This means Google is now joining a list of powerful corporations who have enlisted world-renowned architects to design their California headquarters, including Apple’s Foster + Partners-designed “spaceship” and Facebook’s Gehry-Esque 10-acre “room.” If approved, Google will shift its focus on new housing, ensuring there is enough living space within Mountain View to accommodate its growing workforce (a topic of concern for many residents).

The proposal will be submitted to the city this Friday. Take a look at the company’s existing Mountain View headquarters, after the break.

Here’s How BIG’s Power Plant Ski Slope Will Blow Smoke Rings

When BIG‘s proposal for Amager Bakke, a waste-to-energy plant in , was unveiled in 2011, there was a lot for skeptics to pick apart. Is it really possible to run a publicly accessible ski slope on the roof of an industrial building? Would they really be able to make it blow giant smoke (or rather, steam) rings? The whole idea seemed rather too good to be true. The project’s ground breaking in 2013 may have silenced some critics, but the video above should convince the rest of the design’s feasibility.

The video shows a test from August in which a miniaturized version of the smoke ring-blowing chimney finally demonstrates the concept. According to Danish website Ingeniøren, in the months since, the design has undergone further refinement by Peter Madsen, the artist, aerospace engineer and inventor that brought in to develop the chimney, and is ready for another major test tomorrow at Refshaleøen in Copenhagen.

Win a BIG Trip to Copenhagen

YouTube Preview Image

Daydreaming about a trip to Copenhagen? Now is your chance to go. As part of BIG’s HOT TO COLD exhibition on view at the National Building Museum, Visit Denmark is hosting a sweepstakes for two to see the architectural and cultural sights of Denmark’s capital. All you need to do is watch the above, find out which seaside museum Bjarke Ingels believes to be one of the world’s greatest (hint: take a look after the break), and enter your answer here (click “Win a trip to Copenhagen!”). Only US residents are eligible.

BIG Designs Danish Recycling Center as Neighborhood Asset

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Waste management and recycling centers are typically designed as utilitarian facilities shunned to an industrial part of the city. Yet Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is challenging this notion by designing a Copenhagen recycling station that serves as an “attractive and lively urban space” in the neighborhood it’s part of.

Commissioned by Amagerforbrænding, BIG has designed the Sydhavns Recycling Center as a public space complete with fitness facilities, running tracks and picnic areas. At its core, the recycling center is submerged beneath a lush landscape, offering curious citizens a peak into the “recycling square” while enjoying their daily exercise.

Animated Film Envisions BIG’s Manhattan “Dry Line”

A vision to protect post-Sandy Manhattan against future superstorms, Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) “Dry Line” seeks to form a continuous storm barrier around lower Manhattan by transforming underutilized waterfront spaces into a “protective ribbon” of public parks and amenities. Though ambitious, the project is not impossible; it was one of six winners in the US’ Rebuild by Design competition that is envisioning ways can protect its edge.  

Watch the film above, by Squint/Opera, to see what Manhattan could potentially look like in the future, and read more about the project here. The Dry Line is also on view at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C as part of BIG’s exhibition HOT TO COLD: an odyssey of architectural adaptation.