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 Smithsonian Institution has commissioned the innovative practice of Bjarke Ingels 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…
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 residential 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…
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 Bjarke Ingels, 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
In order to compete in an increasingly competitive global market and address long-term development needs, the University of Cambridge is undertaking an ambitious new urban extension in North West Cambridge. The master plan for the development, prepared by Aecom, lays out the framework for a new district centered on a mixed academic and urban community. With aspirations of achieving place that is well balanced, long-lasting and sustainable, the University is focused on creating a high quality of life for its residents that will enhance both the City and the University.
The University is now looking to appoint a number of architecture and landscape firms to design and deliver each proposed lot as part of the first phase of the extension. The shortlist consists of internationally renowned architects, including Bjarke Ingels Group and David Chipperfield Architects. Continue reading to learn more information on the extension and review the complete shortlist.
Together, BIG + Times Square Alliance + Flatcut + Local Projects and Zumtobel celebrates Valentines Day with a BIG red pulsating heart in the middle of Times Square, New York. The 10-foot-tall heart pulsates as the 400 transparent, LED lit, acrylic tubes sway in the wind. Once people touch the heart-shaped sensor, the light grows brighter and the pulse beats faster. Joining hands with more people will increase the intensity of the heart.
“The heart reflects what Times Square is made of: people and light – the more people, the stronger the light,” Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Partner, BIG.
See the love with the video above and more images after the break.
BIG has just been announced as the winner of the competition for the new Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah. The non-profit community center for the visual arts, which started in 1976, invites people to experience art through education, exhibitions and events. The aging historic building (dated from 1929) was in need of restoration and an addition that could allow the organization to increase their educational outreach and enhance the quality and scale of the exhibitions, while maintaining free admission to the public.
The competition’s shortlist included some of the (in my opinion) best firms in the US these days: BIG (actually Danish, but with an office in NY, which in a way “landed” in the US with several ongoing projects), Brooks + Scarpa, Sparano + Mooney Architecture, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, and Will Bruder + Partners LTD.
You can check BIG’s proposal previously featured at ArchDaily, a project that stood out not only in formal aspects, but because of its connection with the history that the Kimball Art Center has represented.
In approaching the design for the new Kimball Art Center, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) found great inspiration in the urban development of Park City, the Kimball site, and the city’s mining heritage. They feel the form of the new Kimball Art Center emerges where these rich stories overlap. More images and architects’ description after the break.