Genre de Vie: A Film About Cycling’s Impact On Urban Livability

Courtesy of Jorrit Spoelstra

Today we are facing environmental issues more than ever. While architects, urban designers, policymakers and thinkers discuss the future of our , more and more people become aware of their own impact and use of space. Genre de Vie is a documentary film about bicycles, cities and personal awareness. Using the bicycle, Genre de Vie delves into how cycling contributes to the future livability of cities.

Watch the full documentary after the break.

“A Truman Show-Style Nightmare”? Critics React to BIG and Heatherwick’s Designs for Google

© Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio

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.

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 BIG brought in to develop the chimney, and is ready for another major test tomorrow at Refshaleøen in Copenhagen.

Win a BIG Trip to Copenhagen

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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 video 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 !”). Only US residents are eligible.

VIDEO: Bjarke Ingels Walks Us Through The Design of Vancouver House

Taking the urban high-rise “one step further,” BIG’s Vancouver House (formerly known as the Beach and Howe Tower) is a gesamtkunstwerk – total work of art. Detailed to the smallest scale, the grand scheme makes use of a difficult site trisected by the Granville overpass and burdened by setbacks, transforming it into a “lively village” at the city’s gateway.

Learn how plans to revolutionize urban living by watching the video above.

HOT TO COLD: BIG’s “Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation” Opens at the National Building Museum

© Matt Carbone

Circle the globe in 800-feet at the National Building Museum’s latest exhibition HOT TO COLD. BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group’s first North American exhibition, HOT TO COLD takes viewers on an “odyssey of architectural adaptation” from the “hottest to the coldest parts of our planet to explore how ’s designs are shaped by their cultural and climatic contexts.”

More than 60 architectural models of BIG’s most recent projects, including 20 premiering for the first time, are being suspended from the second floor of the museum’s historic Great Hall. Each project is interpreted through Iwan Baan‘s “masterful” photography, films by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, and the Grammy Award-winning graphic artist Stefan Sagmeister’s design for the accompanying catalog by Taschen.

A word from Ingels, after the break.

Videos: Bjarke Ingels on His Europa City Project for Paris

In 2013, Bjarke Ingels Group came first in Paris‘ Europa City competition, an 800,000 square meter cultural and recreational facility on the far North-Eastern outskirts of the city. In an attempt to explain the design of this huge project, filmmakers Squint/Opera have enlisted the help of Bjarke Ingels and a green screen to describe the project - Minority Report style – with a combination of live action and futuristic video effects. In a second video, a detailed walkthrough of the building enlists both 2D and 3D graphics “to capture the excitement and energy of this unique centre.” Read on after the break for both .

Bjarke Ingels’ Advice for the Young: “It’s Important to Care”

The latest in a series of from Louisiana Channel sees Danish architect Bjarke Ingels of BIG dispensing wisdom for a new generation of architects. Speaking with characteristic zeal, Ingels advises young architects “to care, because if you don’t care, it doesn’t matter.” “We’re not here to build for other architects,” Ingels says, describing architecture as “fundamentally the art and science of accommodating life.”

Urging architects to understand the “dreams and desires and priorities” of the people for whom they are designing, Ingels discusses everything from Nietzsche’s hammer to the notion of the anthropocene, citing his time working for Rem Koolhaas and OMA as an “eye-opening” experience leading him to recognize that “architecture [isn't] like an autonomous art form happening just within its own terms, but [is] actually in direct dialogue with things going on in society.” Reflecting a playfulness idiosyncratic to Ingels and the work of BIG, the architect encourages “professional serial monogamy,” recommending that students “fall in love with the work of an architect and dive really deep into that.”

BIG Unveils Design For Battersea Power Station Square

Courtesy of Development Company

BIG has unveiled the design for their addition to the development at Battersea Power Station, a public square that will link the power station itself with the Electric Boulevard development designed by Norman Foster and Frank Gehry. Called Malaysia Square after the Malaysian development consortium behind the plans, the design features cascading steps that link the main public space at the lower level with the entrance to the power station above. The split-level design also provides for two pedestrian bridges and a road bridge that cross above the ”urban canyon” of the public square.

Video: Bjarke Ingels on the Power of Architecture

This past month at WIRED by Design, Bjarke Ingels gave a rundown of his most ambitious projects, highlighting one underlining theme: BIG’s mission to “create social infrastructure for resilient cities.” From their Manhattan “BIG U” storm proofing plan, recently awarded $400 million in federal funds, to their “ski slope” waste-to-energy plant currently underway in Copenhagen, the Danish practice is undoubtedly fulfilling their mission in a BIG and infectious way.

Watch Ingels’ 20-minute talk above and see just how he hopes to realize the world of our dreams with the power of architecture.

Spotlight: Bjarke Ingels

© DAC / Jakob Galtt

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is often cited as one of the most inspirational architects of our time. At an age when many architects are just beginning to establish themselves in professional practice, Ingels has already won numerous competitions and achieved a level of critical acclaim (and fame) that is rare for new names in the industry. His work embodies a rare optimism that is simultaneously playful, practical, and immediately accessible.

LOBBY: The Spectacle Of The “Un/Spectacle”

© Cameron Clarke

I was recently at a lecture at Rotterdam’s Nieuwe Instituut in which Dirk van den Heuvel mediated a discussion between Kenneth Frampton and Herman Hertzberger. Talking of those who contributed to the Dutch Structuralist movement, Hertzberger lamented the fact that so many have faded into obscurity: “if you make the mistake of not writing” he said, “you’re bound to be forgotten.” Accompanying design with the written word is at the core of good practice, not only because it lends design an elevated meaning by cementing it into a wider discourse, but also because it often uncovers the subconscious significance of the process of architecture.

LOBBY is an attempt from students of ’s Bartlett School of Architecture to anchor in-house research and external contributions in words, “creating both a space we lack and an action we desire.” Their new journal is also a response to the school’s current in-between state as they await their new building in temporary studio spaces. As such, LOBBY will serve as a platform for exchange and discussion in lieu of a physical lobbying space. The first issue explores the theme of Un/Spectacle, offering different layers, approaches, readings and perspectives on the topic of the ‘(un)spectacle’ of the everyday.

VIDEO: Bjarke Ingels on “Promiscuous Hybrids” and “Worldcraft”

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Referring to his work as “promiscuous hybrids,” Bjarke Ingels details his vision of “worldcraft” where architecture harnesses the desires, knowledge and technology of its people to transform surreal dreams into reality.

Bjarke Ingels Lays Foundation Brick at LEGO House

BIG‘s LEGO House is now under construction, following a one of a kind foundation laying ceremony featuring – what else – supersized lego bricks. Bjarke Ingels himself was in attendance to lay one of the foundation bricks. Constructed in LEGO‘s hometown of Billund, Denmark, the LEGO House will be a 12,000 square metre “hands-on minds-on experience centre.”

More on the LEGO House, and the foundation laying ceremony, after the break

3 of The New Yorker’s Best Architecture Reads

The National September 11 Memorial Museum by Snøhetta in New York. Image © Joe Woolhead

If you like magazines, then you’ll love this: the New Yorker, celebrating their recent redesign, have made their archive free for a limited period only. And, making up for their hiatus as they wait for a redesign of their own, Places Journal has gone to the effort of rounding up the best architecture reads from the last few years. Here are our top three:

BIG Unveils Design For “Zootopia” In Denmark

Courtesy of BIG

Danish architects BIG ( Group) have just released ambitious designs for a zoo in Givskud, Denmark. It’s a project that provides an intriguing opportunity for, as BIG explains, the creation of a space with “the best possible and freest possible environment for the animals’ lives and relationships with each other and visitors.” The firm has been working for the past two years to make Zootopia what the Danish press is calling “the world’s most advanced zoo.” According to Givskud Zoo‘s director Richard Østerballe, the park’s transformation will benefit greatly from BIG’s fresh approach to design–one that has been characterized by the integration of nature and natural elements into cutting-edge, innovative architecture.

The project will attempt to “integrate and hide buildings” within the landscape. Upon entering the zoo, visitors can either enter a large central square or climb the “building-landscape,” allowing them to get a general overview of the layout of the park. From this central element, visitors can access different areas of the zoo. A 4km hiking trail connects the different areas (which represent the continents of Africa, America and Asia).

 The first phase is expected to be completed in 2019 to coincide with the park’s 50th anniversary.

Read on for more images and BIG’s project statement. 

BIG Designs Spiralling Museum for Swiss Watchmaker

© BIG

Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet have announced BIG as the designers for an extension to their headquarters in Le Brassus, near Le Chenit. The design includes gallery spaces for a museum, work spaces and a guest house. Conceived as a spiralling glass pavilion embedded in the landscape, BIG’s design – entilted Maison des Fondateurs – will take visitors on a narrative journey through the company’s 139-year history.

More images after the break

BIG Designs Labyrinth for Atrium of National Building Museum

© BIG. Image Courtesy of

The National Building Museum (NBM) has announced that BIG has designed a 61×61 foot maze to be housed in the building’s grand atrium from July 4th to September 1st of this year. According to the NBM’s website, the labyrinth’s Baltic birch plywood walls, which stand 18 feet high at the maze’s periphery, descend as you make your way towards the center. From the core, then, visitors receive a view of the entire layout – and a better understanding of how to get back out.

According to , “The concept is simple: as you travel deeper into a maze, your path typically becomes more convoluted. What if we invert this scenario and create a maze that brings clarity and visual understanding upon reaching the heart of the labyrinth?” Of course, those uninterested in the challenge of figuring out the maze can peek down on it from the Museum’s second and third floors – but where would be the fun in that?

More images, diagrams and drawings after the break!