AD Interviews OMA, BIG on their Miami Showdown

Over the last few months, OMA and have been vying for the opportunity to redevelop the 52-acre site home to the convention center in the heart of . With two award-winning, international firms at the center of the showdown, the media frenzy has been intense and the public’s imagination activated. It only remains to be seen if the results, which promise to be visionary, surpass expectation. With so much on the line, we decided to sit down with both OMA and and discuss how their proposals differ.

For extended coverage of both projects see “BIG Unveils Design for Miami Beach Convention Center” and “OMA Proposes Radical Redevelopment Plan for the Miami Beach Convention Center

The BIG LEGO® House Reveal

The LEGO® House / BIG; Courtesy of The LEGO® Group

The design for BIG’s highly anticipated LEGO® “experience center” – a.k.a. The LEGO® House – has been released! Located in the heart of The Lego Group’s birthplace and home town of , , the 7,600 square-meter building resembles “gigantic LEGO® bricks” that are “combined and stacked in a creative way to create an imaginative experience both outside and inside.”

True to form, the 30 meter-tall structure will feature several exterior and multi-level access points that will remain open year-long to its estimated 250,000 annual visitors. Aside from its roof-top gardens and 1,900 square-meter public square, attractions will include a series of exhibition areas showcasing the “past, present and future of the LEGO® idea”, a cafe and an unique LEGO® store.

Take a video tour through the building after the break…

Who Should Win the OMA vs. BIG Miami Showdown?

© BIG

The , a giant box of a building constructed in 1957, is in desperate need of a makeover and two design teams have bravely accepted the challenge. Team 1 is dubbed South Beach ACE (Arts, Culture, Entertainment District) and is a collaboration between Rem Koolhaas‘s OMA firm, Tishman, UIA, MVVA, Raymond Jungles and TVS. Team 2 goes by the name of Miami Beach Square and includes BIG, West 8, Fentress, JPA and Portman CMC. Both proposals completely re-imagine 52 acres of prime beach real estate and cost over a billion dollars in public and private funds. So, who does it better? 

Vote for your favorite after the break…

The City of Fort Lauderdale Votes in Favor of BIG’s Marina Lofts

Courtesy of BIG

On Tuesday, a sea of green and blue flooded the City Commission chamber to either support or oppose a BIG, $250 million multi-use development planned to infill an industrial gap on the waterfront of Downtown . Although the majority of the crowd seemed to be in favor of the “impressive, innovative and even daring” project, concerns arose regarding the Marina Lofts’ density, height and traffic impact – many of which were appeased by developer Asi Cymbal’s decision to reduce the two 36-story towers to 28, which cut nearly 100 units from the project.

Other last ditch opposition efforts regarded the controversial plan to move a giant rain tree that wasn’t within the purview of the board’s review. Despite this, following an hour-long presentation by Cymbal and his staff, the Planning  & Zoning board unanimously voted 9-0 in favor of the project.

More after the break…

BIG Unveils Design for Miami Beach Convention Center

© BIG

BIG has collaborated with West 8, Fentress, JPA and developers Portman CMC to challenge an OMA- and South Beach ACE-lead team in the 52-acre Convention Center overhaul. With a mission to “bring back to the Convention Center,” BIG’s newly unveiled proposal aims to transform the “dead black hole of asphalt in the heart of one of the most beautiful and lively cities in America” into an archipelago of urban oases made up of paths, plazas, parks and gardens, which will all lead to the heart of the plan: the Square. This tropical centerpiece will become the front door to the convention center and the convention hotel, as well as the front lawn to a revitalized Jackie Gleason Theatre, a town square for the city hall, an outdoor arena for the Latin American Cultural Museum, and the red carpet for the big botanical ball room.

“We have devised a strategy that combines and landscape design to create a neighborhood characterized by human scale, pedestrian connections, shaded spaces with public oriented programs lining the streets and squares. A neighborhood that, depending on the season, the weekday, or even the time of day can be perceived as a lively downtown neighborhood or an inviting public park.” Bjarke Ingels, Creative Director BIG

More images and the teams description after the break…

A Crash Course on Modern Architecture (Part 2)

, New York, is a good example of what is to come. Image © Iwan Baan

Merete Ahnfeldt-Mollerup is associate Professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. This article originally appeared in GRASP.

Miss Part 1? Find it here.

Architecture is inseparable from planning, and the huge challenge for the current generation is the growth and shrinkage of cities. Some cities, mainly in the Southern Hemisphere, are growing at exponential rates, while former global hubs in the northern are turning into countrysides. In the south, populations are still growing a lot, while populations are dwindling in Europe, Russia and North East Asia. The dream of the Bilbao effect was based on the hope that there might be a quick fix to both of these problems. Well, there is not.

A decade ago, few people even recognized this was a real issue and even today it is hardly ever mentioned in a political context. As a politician, you cannot say out loud that you have given up on a huge part of the electorate, or that it makes sense for the national economy to favor another part. Reclaiming the agricultural part of a nation is a political suicide issue whether you are in Europe or Latin America. And investing in urban development in a few, hand-picked areas while other areas are desolate is equally despised.

The one person, who is consistently thinking and writing about this problem, is Rem Koolhaas, a co-founder of OMA.

Yes Is More: The BIG Philosophy

Yes is more: an archicomic on architectural evolution – presents his extraordinary architecture in cartoon-form

Anders Møller is the co-founder of GRASP Magazine, where this article was originally published.

What has the internationally awarded (BIG) to do with Friederich Nietzsche and Charles Darwin? Quite a lot, according to founder Bjarke Ingels, who has created a powerful mixture of Nietzsche and Darwin as the philosophical foundation of BIG’s architecture.

Read Anders Møller’s fascinating article on BIG’s unusual philosophy, after the break…

BIG Breaks Ground on Faroe Islands Education Centre

©

Situated on a hillside in the outskirts of , the capital of the autonomous Denmark province of Faroe Islands, the new Marknagil Education Center will seek to “establish synergies” between three educational institutions under one roof. The BIG-designed, 19,200 square meter will provide for more than 1,200 students and 300 teachers by housing the Faroe Islands Gymnasium, Torshavns Technical College and Business College of Faroe Islands in a single building, making it the largest educational building in the country’s history.

More images and the architect’s description after the break…

BIG Wins Europa City Development in Paris

Courtesy of

Danish architecture firm, BIG - led by – has been announced as the winner of an international invited competition for the design of Europa City,  a 800,000 square meter cultural, recreational and retail development in Triangle de Gonesse, France.  Combining city development with an open landscape, Europa City creates a dynamic center of activity for visitors and residents, appealing to the variety of functions of city life.  Europa City is situated along the route from Charles de Gaule Airport to Paris and has a wide range of programs that is part of a larger initiative to attract international tourism into the northern parts of Paris.

More on the project after the break…

Architects Selected for Competition to Design Nobel Prize’s New Home

Blasieholmen at Nybroviken in Stockholm. Image © Jeppe Wikström

Out of 140 architects considered, 12 architects have been selected by the Nobel Foundation to compete to design their new home, a Nobel Center in Blasieholmen, Stockholm. The conspicuously European selection, chosen for their “design and artistic abilities and experience working in intricate urban environments,” includes some very big names – including BIG, David Chipperfield Architects, Herzog & de Meuron, and . The only non-Europeans to compete will be ’s Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

See the full list of competitors, and more information on the competition, after the break…

LEGO® Announces BIG Commission

Courtesy of BIG

It’s official! Danish architect Bjarke Ingels of BIG has been commissioned to collaborate with Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) and COWI to design the first public ® museum in the company’s hometown of BillundDenmark. The “LEGO® Brand House” and “experience centre” is intended to compliment the non-public “LEGO® Idea House”, which is also located in .

Bjarke Ingles, founder of BIG stated: “It’s going to be looking at LEGO® from all its different aspects—LEGO® as an art form, its cultural impact. When we were doing the research for it [the LEGO® house], we realized, if you would consider it just an art museum, you would be able to fill it with so much user content of such a high quality…it is one of our great dreams at BIG that we are now able to design a building for and with the LEGO® group. I owe a huge personal debt to the LEGO® brick, and I can see in my nephews that its role in developing the child as a creative, thinking, imaginative human being becomes ever stronger in a world in which creativity and innovation are key elements in virtually all aspects of society.”

More on LEGO®’s BIG commission after the break…

BIG’s Waste-to-Energy Plant Breaks Ground, Breaks Schemas

© -Bjarke Ingels Group

There are many things that set BIG’s latest project, Amager Bakke, apart. The plant, which broke ground yesterday, will be the cleanest waste-to-energy plant in the world. It will be the tallest and biggest building in . It will house Denmark’s first ski-slope (on the roof of the plant, no less). It will emit its CO2 emissions – not as a continuous stream of smoke, oh no – but in sudden, bursting smoke rings. 

However, the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy Plant is far more than the sum of its rather remarkable features. As an urban “destination in itself” and a landmark in environmental design, it’s one of the most radical representations of architecture as a means of public engagement of our time. And, what’s more, it’s a signal that BIG has finally reached maturity, truly coming into its own as a firm.

Read more about BIG’s remarkable Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant, after the break….

Smithsonian Hires BIG to Rethink Historic D.C. Campus

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 housing, 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, , FL,
Architect In Charge: Bjarke Ingels, 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 urban design.