Smithsonian Hires BIG to Rethink Historic D.C. Campus

Smithsonian Institution © Karissa Rosenfield / ArchDaily

The Smithsonian Institution has commissioned the innovative practice of to reimagine the heart of its antiquated Washington D.C. campus. The Danish architect has agreed to an eight- to 12- month, $2.4 million contract to draft the first phase of a master plan that seeks to dissolve the notable impediments and discontinuous pathways that plague the area.

More on this news after the break…

City Design Panel Endorses BIG’s Mixed-Use Vancouver Tower

Courtesy of

A BIG step forward for Vancouver’s latest mixed-use tower making international headlines, as the 497-foot tall Beach and Howe proposal has received an “enthusiastic endorsement” from the city’s design panel.

Commissioned by Canada’s real estate mogul Ian Gillespie of Westbank, the Bjarke Ingles Group-designed tower promises to add a foreign twist to Vancouver’s skyline and create a new identity for an undefined section of town at the fringe of the city’s area. The 700,000 square foot complex – which contains shopping, social housing and market rental apartments – was praised by the panel for anchoring itself on a nine-story podium that occupies the disused, interstitial spaces found between the Granville Street Bridge’s entry and exit ramps.

More after the break…

BIG’s West 57th “Pyramid” Wins Final Approval

Courtesy of BIG

After an “arduous” public review and a heated debate over affordable , New York’s City Council has unanimously awarded final approval to BIG’s tetrahedral-shaped West 57th apartment building in Manhattan. As reported by Crain’s New York Business, a compromise has been made to include 173 affordable housing units within the 32-story, 750-unit building and the neighboring industrial building that will be converted into 100 additional rental apartments. As you may recall, the community board and Councilwoman Gail Brewer initially threatened to “torpedo the project” if the apartments were only made affordable for a 35 year period. However, Durst apparently won them over by contributing one million dollars into an affordable housing fund.

“The good news, which is the mantra of my office and community board No. 4, is there will be, yes, by law, 35 years of income-restricted affordable housing,” stated City Councilwoman Brewer, who represents the area.

Finalists for Mies van der Rohe Award Selected

Superkilen / Topotek 1 + + Superflex. Image © Iwan Baan.

The European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe have announced the five finalists who will compete for the 2013 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, also known as the . Out of 355 works submitted from 37 countries, five have been short-listed, including BIG‘s Superkilen (also up for an ArchDaily Building of the Year Award for best public facility).

The overall winner of the Prize, as well as the ‘special mention’ award for best emerging architect, will be announced in May, with an award ceremony on June 6th at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona, Spain.

See all 5 finalists, after the break… 

The Grove at Grand Bay / BIG

Courtesy of BIG

Architects: BIG
Location: Coconut Grove, Miami, FL, USA
Architect In Charge: , Thomas Christoffersen
Design Team: Tiago Barros, Jitendra Jain, Brian Foster, Ed Yung, Terrence Chew, Ji-Young Joon, Kasper Hansen, Chris Malcolm, Alana Goldweit, Martin Voelkle, Greg Knobloch, Ho Kyung Lee, Mina Rafiee, Cat Huang, Maureen McGee, Chris Falla, Valerie Lechene
Project Leaders: Leon Rost, Ziad Shehab
Area: 58,900 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of BIG

Superkilen masterplan designed by BIG + Topotek1 + Superflex Honored by AIA

© Iwan Baan

At almost a mile long Superkilen wedges through one of the most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighborhoods in creating a truly unique urban space with a strong identity on a local and global scale. The park is divided into three zones: the red square, the black market and the green park and is conceived as a giant exhibition of urban best practice – a collection of global everyday objects from the 60+ home countries of the local inhabitants. Initiated by the City of Copenhagen and Realdania Foundation, the project started construction in 2009 and opened to the public in June 2012. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected Superkilen as one of the winners of the 2013 Institute Honor Awards, the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and .

Marina Lofts / BIG

Courtesy of BIG

Architects: BIG
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL,
Partners In Charge: , Thomas Christoffersen

Project Leader: Daniel Kidd

Contributors: Chris Falla, Suemin Jeon, Andreia Teixeira, Jenny Shen, Marcella Martinez, Michael Zhang
Area: 80,000 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of BIG

BIG Update: Planning Commission approves West 57th

After months of an “arduous” public reviewing process, BIG’s eye-catching West 57th apartment building in has been approved by the City Planning Commission. The atypical design quickly gained international attention with its abruptly sloped, tetrahedral shape that rises from three stories to thirty-eight stories on an awkwardly sized single block site. Cleverly titled W57, the unique project was “born of logic”, as Magazine’s Justin Davidson would describe. It features a massive, football-sized courtyard with stunning Hudson River views and outdoor terraces for all 753 residents, along with a vibrant street life and close proximity to the Hudson River Park.

“Our approval will facilitate development of a significant new building with a distinctive pyramid-like shaped design and thoughtful site plan that integrates the full block site into the evolving residential, institutional, and commercial neighborhood surrounding it,” stated City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden before voting in favor of the project.

Find out what it took to get W57 passed, after the break…

Phoenix Observation Tower / BIG

Courtesy of

Architects: BIG
Location: Phoenix, AZ,
Architects In Charge: Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Christoffersen
Project Leader: Iannis Kandyliaris
Project Team: Thomas Fagan, Aaron Hales, Ola Hariri, Dennis Harvey, Beat Schenk
Collaborators: MKA (structure), Atelier10 (sustainability), Gensler (local architect), TenEyck (landscape)
Client: Novawest
Area: 70,000 ft2
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of BIG

BIG and OMA Neck-to-Neck For Miami Beach Convention Center

Courtesy of Curbed

High profile architects BIG (Bjarke Ingels) and OMA (Rem Koolhaas) are in a close battle to win the redevelopment competition for the design of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Recently put on hold by a corruption probe and procedural concerns, Miami Beach’s ambitious plans to create a 52-acre convention center district are again progressing toward a crucial vote by elected officials. The committee’s recommendations will be reviewed by interim City Manager Kathie Brooks, who will issue her own recommendation to city commissioners. Commissioners could vote on the project and development teams Dec. 12. More information after the break.

Superkilen / Topotek 1 + BIG + Superflex

© Iwan Baan

Architects: Topotek 1 + BIG Architects + Superflex
Location: Nørrebro, , Denmark
Client: Copenhagen Municipality, Realdania
Budget: 11 MIO USD
Area: 30,000 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Iwan Baan, Hasse Ferrold, Jens Lindhe, Maria da Schio, Torben Eskerod, Mike Magnussen

AD Round Up: BIG Part II

© Jens Lindhe


For today’s Round Up, we bring you the second part of previously featured projects by one of our favorite studios, BIG. Take this opportunity to check again the unique mixed-use 8-House in Copenhagen. Also you can see West 57th the BIG proposal for the awkwardly shaped large site at West Side Highway and 57th Street in .Check out the colorful Superkilen a collaboration between BIG and  and the amazing proposal for National Library in Astana, Kazakhstan. Finally, revisit one of 2010 AD Building of the year, the incredible Denmark Pavilion in Shanghai Expo.

The Katerva Awards – Open for Nominations

Process-Zero, a Net-Zero Retrofit of a Government Building in Los Angeles, originally built in 1965. Courtesy of HOK and Vanderweil

Katerva isn’t looking for ideas that will improve the world in small increments. We are looking for paradigm-busting ideas. Our Award winners don’t simply move the needle when it comes to efficiency, lifestyle or consumption; they change the game entirely. This is a celebration of radical innovation and an acceleration of much needed change.

The Katerva Awards, the “Nobel Prize” of , are once again looking for nominations that will change our world as we know it.

Last year’s winner in Urban Design was the Freshkills Park in , which converted a landfill/marsh into a beautiful, productive landscape. Runners-up included BIG’s Waste-to-Energy Ski Resort, Architecture 2030 (a non-profit working to make all buildings Net-Zero by 2030), Hylozoic Ground (a project of regenerative, responsive architecture), and a retrofit to make a 1965 Government building Net-Zero.

Do you, or someone you know, have a radically innovative design worthy of recognition? Urban Agripuncture, a project we featured recently here at ArchDaily, has already been nominated – and yours could be next.

Courtesy of BIG

According to the Katerva site, nominees must have been launched during the last two calendar years. They will then be chosen based on feasibility, scalability (a.k.a potential to work at the global level), originality, and impact. Urban Design projects should pay particular attention to “improving the quality and impact of high density populations.”

Nominations can be made here.

MÉCA – Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Aquitaine / BIG

Courtesy of

Team BIG+FREAKS freearchitects, dUCKS scéno, Khephren Ingénierie, VPEAS, ALTO Ingénierie, Vincent Hedont, PBNL, Mryk & Moriceau, Ph.A wins the competition to design a new 12 000 m2 cultural center on the riverfront of , merging three cultural institutions into one single building. More images and complete press release after the break.

“My Playground: A Film about Movement in Urban Space” Documentary

A couple of years ago, we mentioned an interesting documentary about Parkour, and how such contemporary discipline is able to make reading the urban space in a different way.

The film was recorded mainly in Copenhagen, using locations such as the Mountain Dwellings designed by BIG. It also includes some conversations with , discussing about his understanding of urban space. It has been selected as part of the films program of the RIBA 2012. If you’re in London, you will have the chance to watch it next June 26th.

More info after the break

Going Viral + The ArchDaily Story

Going Viral at the Center for Architecture © ArchDaily


Last night, dozens packed into the Center for Architecture to join the conversation among some of the most influential in our field.   With the energy levels high, panelists Bjarke Ingels of BIG and Mark Collins of Morpholio and  Cloud Lab Columbia University GSAPP,  and ArchDaily founders David Basulto and David Assael, shared insight into the impact social media and technology have on our profession and the way in which we design.  While the panelists all share a background in design, their differences in applying technology to their particular niche  – whether to aid the design process, to collect and redistribute data, or to share information and bring awareness  -  fueled a dynamic dialogue that kept the crowd engaged and informed way past the closing hours of the Center for Architecture.

Read on for the story behind ArchDaily, and, if you happened to catch the event, let us know in the comments below.

The Red Line / BIG

Courtesy of BIG

The invited design contest calls for a strong architectural master plan, comprising residential, commercial and cultural programme, forming a new urban area around the existing Ratina sports stadium in one of the most rapidly developing regions in . BIG is selected as a winner of the competition by Finnish developers Rakennustomisto Pohjola & YH-Länsi, among proposals from Swedish Wingårdhs, German Behnisch Partner and Finnish JKMM.

BIG’s proposal, The Red Line, seeks to uncover the urban potential of the 50 000 m2 site located on the Ratinanniemi peninsula, which serves as an important link between City Centre and the nature area of Eteläpuisto Park. BIG’s design embraces and builds upon the existing qualities of the site which is naturally divided into three distinct zones, each holding a unique character. More images and architect’s description after the break.

Cross # Towers / BIG

Courtesy of

Danish architects BIG have just shared with us the Cross # Towers, their latest project in . BIG’s residential towers in the Yongsan International Business District revitalize the Han riverfront into a new commercial and residential center for the citizens of . More images and information after the break.