How Much Do You Really Know About: Bjarke Ingels

Bjarke Ingels… The BIG sensation. Ha, get it? But seriously, be it because his firm’s name is “BIG” (Bjarke Ingels Group) or because his website is, we all love Bjarke Ingels. But… How much do YOU really know about him? Let’s put your knowledge to the TEST.

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Image credits: Dezeen

A little bit about him, he is a Danish architect, that is actually quite young even though he has a lot of fame and recognition. (He is 45) And his fame probably started when he was around 38 years old. He is often called 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.” (Archdaily).

Do you think he was interested in design and architecture from an early age? Well, yes possibly… But what do YOU think he wanted to become?

A) Architect
B) Fashion Designer
C) Cartoonist

Image credit: Archinect

C) Cartoonist

He was interested in becoming a cartoonist, he originally attended architecture school with the hope that it would improve his drawing skills.However, while studying he discovered his passion for architecture and went on to continue his studies at the Technica Superior de Arquitectura in Barcelona, Spain.

"All comic books take place in built environments, and I was very good at drawing people and animals, and stuff like that, but I hadn't spent much energy drawing buildings. So I thought, maybe I could, and then I became an architect." — Bjarke Ingels

After working for three years at OMA in Rotterdam, he did something pretty cool….

What architecture firm did he start in 2001?

A) Bjarke Ingels Group
B) PLOT Architects

Image Credit: BIG | Bjarke Ingels Group

B) PLOT Architects

“PLOT was founded in Copenhagen in January 2001 by architects Julien De Smedt and Bjarke Ingels. PLOT was founded in order to develop an architectural practice that turns intense research and analysis of practical as well as theoretical issues into the driving forces of design. A better way to explain the office's design philosophy and process is to explain its name: a narrative is a series of events, that are tied together in a PLOT. Each event contains insight, drama and beauty in itself, but without the PLOT they risk to fail and become nothing but the sum of the parts. Individually the incidents may seem random or pointless, but joined they culminate in a transcending will. In the same way the PLOT makes architecture more than a random accumulation of toilets and bedrooms. Beautiful details and individual moments get lost if nothing is at stake - if the PLOT is missing.” — PLOT

He was the co-founder of PLOT Architects with Julien de Smedt in 2001, Ingels went on to found his current practice, Bjarke Ingels Group, in 2005. With offices in Copenhagen and New York, BIG has grown at an astonishing rate and has quickly established an international presence.

Image credit: aasarchitecture

Much of his philosophy about architecture is revealed in his 2009 manifesto, which introduces 30 projects from his practice in the familiar format of a comic book. In a concept that he calls “Hedonistic Sustainability,” many of his projects seek to question how sustainability can be playfully and responsibly integrated into buildings to actually increase standards of living.

What is BIG’s comic book called?

B) Yes is More
C) Small is Big

Image Credit: The New Barcelona Post

B) Yes is More

Yes is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution.

Unlike a typical architectural monograph, this book uses the comic book format to express its groundbreaking agenda for contemporary architecture. It is also the first comprehensive documentation of BIG’s trailblazing practice―where method, process, instruments, and concepts are constantly questioned and redefined. Or, as the group itself says:

“Historically, architecture has been dominated by two opposing extremes: an avant-garde full of crazy ideas, originating from philosophy or mysticism; and the well organized corporate consultants that build predictable and boring boxes of high standard. Architecture seems entrenched: naively utopian or petrifyingly pragmatic. We believe there is a third way between these diametric opposites: a pragmatic utopian architecture that creates socially, economically, and environmentally perfect places as a practical objective. At BIG we are devoted to investing in the overlap between radical and reality. In all our actions we try to move the focus from the little details to the BIG picture.”

In practice, this approach manifests in a strictly diagrammatic approach to generating architectural form that is borrowed from his former mentor —albeit a more highly developed and systematic incarnation of such an approach.

Who is BIG’s former mentor?

A) Rem Koolhaas
B) Peter Eisenman
C) Henning Larsen

Image Credit: LS:N Global

A) Rem Koolhaas

“Contrary to many, maybe including himself, I do not consider Bjarke Ingels the reincarnation of this or that architect from the past. On the contrary, he is the embodiment of a fully fledged new typology, which responds perfectly to the current zeitgeist. Bjarke is the first major architect who disconnected the profession completely from angst.He threw out the ballast and soared. With that, he is completely in tune with the thinkers of Silicon Valley, who want to make the world a better place without the existential hand-wringing that previous generations felt was crucial to earn utopianist credibility.” — Rem Koolhaas

Ingels has been involved in countless design competitions and some of his built projects include the Danish Pavilion, VM Houses, Danish National Maritime Museum, Mountain Dwellings, and many others. However, I believe there’s a project that made Bjarke Ingels famous and known. And I remember this, because through this project, was the first time I personally heard about him.

What is the name following project?

A) Danish Pavilion
B) VM Houses
C) Serpentine Pavilion

Image Credit: Serpentine Galleries

C) Serpentine Pavilion

Described by the Danish architect as "both transparent and opaque, both solid box and blob", this year's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is designed as a simple wall that has been distorted into a more freeform shape. Viewed side-on, the pavilion is rectangular. But when seen from the front or at an angle, its curving silhouette is revealed. It also changes from opaque to see-through, depending on the viewing angle.

In general, Bjarke Ingels is a really important inspiration for our generation. For his age and recognition, and because of his personality.

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