BIG Returns to the National Building Museum with “HOT TO COLD: an odyssey of architectural adaptation”

On the heels of its summer blockbuster indoor maze, which attracted more than 50,000 visitors, the international design firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) returns to the National Building Museum this January with a behind-the-scenes look at its creative process. The exhibition, HOT TO COLD: an odyssey of architectural adaptation, takes visitors from the hottest to the coldest parts of our planet and explores how BIG´s design solutions are shaped by their cultural and climatic contexts. More than 60 three-dimensional models will be suspended at the second-floor balconies of the Museum’s historic Great Hall in an unprecedented use of this public space.

HOT TO COLD premieres 20 of the studio's latest projects, interpreted through Iwan Baan's masterful photography of BIG's built work, films by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, and the Grammy Award-winning graphic artist Stefan Sagmeister’s design for the accompanying catalog by Taschen. HOT TO COLD opens on January 24, 2015 and remains on view through August 30, 2015.

BIG Partners. Image © Dean Kaufman

Founded in 2005 by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, BIG has taken the world by storm with its seductive, sustainable, and community-driven designs. Ingels, named by WSJ Magazine in 2011 as Innovator of the Year in Architecture, has coined the phrase “hedonistic sustainability” to reflect his philosophy that environmentally responsible buildings and neighborhoods need not be defined by pain and sacrifice. Ingels’ projects are currently taking shape from Copenhagen to Manhattan, from Shenzhen to Paris, and soon in Calgary and Vancouver. Now, with a major part of the practice located in New York—and a major stake in Washington, D.C.'s infrastructure as the designer of a $2 billion National Mall and Smithsonian refurbishment—a BIG influence on American architecture and urbanism has begun.

BIG MAZE at the National Building Museum. Image © Kevin Allen

Bjarke Ingels says: "The city is an ongoing project of constant creation and re-creation through refurbishment, modification, adaptation. It is all part of a never-ending journey towards crafting the world of our dreams. As life evolves, so must the world around it. And as our lives evolve, so will our dreams. Architecture is the art of laying the foundations that will serve as the stepping-stone for the next big leap. HOT TO COLD at the National Building Museum sums up most of our experiments and discoveries from the past decade—we look forward to taking the visitors on this journey of exploration.”

Curator Susan Piedmont-Palladino says that BIG extended its singular design sensibility to the creation of this exhibition: “What's so special about HOT TO COLD is that BIG has perceived the National Building Museum more as a site for a project, rather than as a venue for an exhibition. That means that the sunlight, the sounds, and the sights of the Great Hall will all be part of the context of the display, just as they are for a building in the city. BIG has a very distinctive voice, and the experience our visitors will have will be very direct, as if the architect is talking, telling stories directly to them.”

BIG MAZE at the National Building Museum. Image © Kevin Allen

HOT TO COLD is generously sponsored by Realdania, National Endowment for the Arts, Danish Agency for Culture, Durst Organization, Howard Hughes, Junckers, Terra Group, Albany, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Graphisoft, LEGO, Queen of Denmark and HRH Prince Hendrik Foundation, Rose Rock Group, Arcadis, Georg Jensen, Louis Poulsen Lighting, Ramboll, SAS, Thornton Thomasetti, The Third Fate, AIAIAI, Fritz Hansen, HAY, and Visit Denmark. Additional gratitude to the Embassy of Denmark for its assistance and support. 

Admission to Museum exhibitions is $8 for adults, $5 for youth, students, and seniors, and free for National Building Museum members and children under three. Visit to purchase tickets online.

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, online content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit Follow us on Twitter: @BuildingMuseum and Facebook:

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Cite: "BIG Returns to the National Building Museum with “HOT TO COLD: an odyssey of architectural adaptation” " 20 Dec 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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