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

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Situated on a hillside in the outskirts of Torshavn, 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 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 BIG

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 and has a wide range of programs that is part of a larger initiative to attract international tourism into the northern parts of .

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, , Herzog & de Meuron, and OMA. The only non-Europeans to compete will be SANAA’s Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

See the full list of competitors, and more information on the , 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 () and to design the first public LEGO® 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 Billund.

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

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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 Copenhagen. It will house ’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

Smithsonian Institution © Karissa Rosenfield / ArchDaily

The Smithsonian Institution has commissioned the innovative practice of Bjarke Ingels to reimagine the heart of its antiquated 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 BIG

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 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 / + + 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 Mies van der Rohe Award. 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

Architects: BIG
Location: Coconut Grove, , FL, USA
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 Denmark 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

Architects: BIG
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL,
Partners In Charge: Bjarke Ingels, 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 New York 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 , 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 BIG

Architects: BIG
Location: , AZ, USA
Architects In Charge: 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 Miami

High profile architects BIG (Bjarke Ingels) and OMA (Rem Koolhaas) are in a close battle to win the redevelopment 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, Copenhagen,
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 Topotek 1 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.