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  3. Bjarke Ingels: "New York is not the Capital of the United States. It is a Capital of the World."

Bjarke Ingels: "New York is not the Capital of the United States. It is a Capital of the World."

Bjarke Ingels: "New York is not the Capital of the United States. It is a Capital of the World."

Since moving to New York in 2010, BIG founder Bjarke Ingels has built an impressive portfolio, from developed projects such as VIA 57 West and The Eleventh to propositions such as West 29th Street and The Spiral.

In a new interview with Louisiana Channel, Ingels steps back from the pragmatism of individual projects, and instead reflects on his view of New York, from multiculturalism and inequality to regeneration and skyscrapers.

The Eleventh by BIG. Image © TheXI.com The High Line by James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image © Iwan Baan VIA 57 West by BIG. Image © Nic Lehoux 2 World Trade Center by BIG. Image © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG + 21

Bjarke Ingels: "New York is not the Capital of the United States. It is a Capital of the World.", The Spiral by BIG. Image © Tishman Speyer
The Spiral by BIG. Image © Tishman Speyer
The Spiral by BIG. Image © Tishman Speyer
The Spiral by BIG. Image © Tishman Speyer

When you look at this manmade mountain range behind me, it is a product of accumulation, congregations, business, commerce, etc, and every individual building in its own right is perhaps not particularly interesting. It is often very pragmatic and straightforward parameters that have shaped each building, but together the sum of the parts becomes something majestic and awe-inspiring, and speaks to the power of the human project, which is to build cities, and inhabit this planet.
-Bjarke Ingels, speaking to Louisiana Channel

VIA 57 West by BIG. Image © Iwan Baan
VIA 57 West by BIG. Image © Iwan Baan
VIA 57 West by BIG. Image © Iwan Baan
VIA 57 West by BIG. Image © Iwan Baan

In the interview, Ingels praises New York City as a “capital of the world,” a melting pot where different nationalities come together [so] that you belong to by choice, rather than by birthright.” The disparity between individuals’ wealth is not ignored by Ingels, reflecting on the exclusive worlds of $60 million penthouses. However, he points to notes of optimism such as his VIA 57 West, where 20% of apartments are designated as affordable.

VIA 57 West by BIG. Image © Nic Lehoux
VIA 57 West by BIG. Image © Nic Lehoux
VIA 57 West by BIG. Image © Nic Lehoux
VIA 57 West by BIG. Image © Nic Lehoux

Much of the conversation sees Ingels recall the past, present, and future of skyscrapers in New York City. He shares his view that the skyscraper is driven by hyper-efficiency, and the “mathematics of leasing depths and elevator counts.”

According to Ingels, the high cost of skyscrapers demands that innovation is calculated, seeking to exploit and reform existing parameters, rather than ignore them. This design methodology is what lies behinds many upcoming BIG skyscrapers in the Big Apple, including West 29th Street, The Spiral, and 2 World Trade Center.

2 World Trade Center by BIG. Image © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG
2 World Trade Center by BIG. Image © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG
2 World Trade Center by BIG. Image © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG
2 World Trade Center by BIG. Image © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG

To build something that is 50 stories tall or 100 stories tall is so expensive, that nobody wants to flip a coin or do something wild. So any experimentation you do has to be careful, considered, and rather than ignoring the parameters, you really have to put yourself into the parameters and make it happen. In that logic, we are doing a handful of skyscrapers right now that all somehow try to take that same set of parameters and recombine them in order to create something that New York hasn’t seen before.
-Bjarke Ingels, speaking to Louisiana Channel

West 29th Street . Image via NY YIMBY
West 29th Street . Image via NY YIMBY
West 29th Street . Image via NY YIMBY
West 29th Street . Image via NY YIMBY

Despite the ever-changing shape of New York’s skyline, Ingels sees the adaptation of former infrastructure zones into public amenities and parks as the city’s most exciting architectural developments. He cites projects such as the High Line which will host BIG’s The Eleventh, and his proposed BIG U which would transform the former shipyards and warehouses along Manhattan’s waterfront.

Plans for the BIG U. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org
Plans for the BIG U. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org
Plans for the BIG U. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org
Plans for the BIG U. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org

He tells Louisiana Channel “you have this engine of transformation which is turning former industry into public programs […] an approach which is very true to the character that you find in the city.”

The Eleventh by BIG. Image © Andrew Campbell Nelson
The Eleventh by BIG. Image © Andrew Campbell Nelson
The High Line by James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image © Iwan Baan
The High Line by James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image © Iwan Baan

Though clearly holding deep affection of New York City, Ingel’s time in the Big Apple has not been without its frustrations. Reflecting on the early days of the VIA 57 West, and the client’s eagerness for a mid-rise building rather than a skyscraper, Ingels recalls sentiments of “Damn! I finally get invited to New York, and they want me to do a small building. That’s not fair.”

Plans for the BIG U. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org
Plans for the BIG U. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org

News via: Louisiana Channel

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Cite: Niall Patrick Walsh. "Bjarke Ingels: "New York is not the Capital of the United States. It is a Capital of the World."" 15 Aug 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/900264/bjarke-ingels-new-york-is-not-the-capital-of-the-united-states-it-is-a-capital-of-the-worl/> ISSN 0719-8884
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The Spiral by BIG. Image © Tishman Speyer

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