Bjarke Ingels’ architecture is big, bold, and baroque, melding utility with innovative vision and producing, in his own words: “a pragmatic utopian architecture.” The golden boy of Danish architecture established his own firm BIG, or Bjarke Ingels Group, in 2005 and is renown for his urban housing development projects. Based in Copenhagen, many of his new buildings have been erected here. The 8 House, consisting of three different types of residential housing forming a figure 8 which one can cycle around; Superkilen, a public park designed in collaboration with the artist group Superflex; and a series of five open-air swimming pools, Islands Brygge Harbour Bath, are all found in Copenhagen, Denmark.
TASCHEN collaborated with BIG architects to produce the architecture comic Yes is More; a monograph-cum-manifesto of the Big group’s new concepts for new architecture, realized in a simple yet complex graphic storytelling form. TASCHEN’s latest publication with BIG is Hot to Cold, a book which details case studies of architectural adaptation in extreme environments. The book sits alongside an exhibition which showed at the National Building Museum in Washington and raises questions about how future climate change will require architectural evolution.
Ingel’s practice creates synergies between sustainability, community-needs, and spectacular design - seemingly irreconcilable goals. He has coined a phrase - hedonistic sustainability - to try and explain his hope and belief that we can live in an architecturally utopian world that is beautiful and responsible at the same time. While the architect often leans towards excessive formalism, his design privileges human life and highlights our precarious relationship with the natural world. The Amager Bakke Plant, for example, is a waste to energy facility with a ski slope running down its side. The design may be outlandish but Bjarke Ingels’ architecture always encourages cognizance and conversation on the most important issues we face.