Bjarke Ingels Interview: The Majesty of New York City



Watch as the internationally renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels shares his love of his playground and home since 2010, multicultural and magnificent New York City: “Every individual building, in its own right, is perhaps not particularly interesting… but together the sum of the parts become something majestic and awe-inspiring and speaks to the power of the human project, which is to build cities and inhabit this planet.”

“I think New York has a lot of qualities – both as a city and as a culture.” In New York, Ingels feels, the majority of people come from the outside and it is a city that you “belong to by choice and not by birthright and that makes it a very open and welcoming environment.” Despite its blatant social inequality, he considers New York to be almost like a social democratic city: “It is a city that does a lot to remain diverse, both ethnically and culturally, but also socially and economically.”

In the last 10-20 years, “the most exciting developments have actually been all these conversions of infrastructure into social and environmental amenities,” Ingels argues. Examples of this being Brooklyn Bridge Park, South Street Sea Port, The Hudson River Park and the Highline: “You have this engine of transformation that is turning former industry into public programs.” On the subject of the iconic skyscrapers – which is also Ingels’ dream project – he considers them to be highly effective boxes that they appear to be: “The skyscraper as you see it is such a parametric typology that it’s really driven by the mathematics of leasing depts and elevator counts and waiting times, and fire egress.”

Bjarke Ingels (b. 1974) is a Danish architect and founding partner of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group – located in Copenhagen, New York and London. In 2013 BIG was chosen to redesign the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum and research complex in Washington, a project which will be implemented over a period of 20 years. His projects include The Mountain, a residential complex in Copenhagen, and the innovative Danish Maritime Museum in Elsinore. In 2004 he received the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and the Danish Crown Prince’s Culture Prize in 2011. Moreover, BIG received Architizer’s Firm of the Year Award in 2014.

Bjarke Ingels was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in New York City in October 2016.

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard and Jakob Solbakken

Edited by: Klaus Elmer

Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018

Supported by Dreyers Fond

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