September 18, 2012

Bjarke Ingels Profiled in The New Yorker

A Bold Danish Architect Charms His Way to the Top
Photograph by Joachim Ladefoged/VII
In “High Rise” (p. 77), Ian Parker profiles the architect Bjarke Ingels, who, at thirty-seven, is the owner of the Bjarke Ingels Group and the leader of “more than a hundred employees, working on everything from skyscrapers to salad servers.” Ingels, Parker writes, “is in the first rank of international architects, or nearly so,” and he cites Ingels’s body of admired work in Denmark and his upcoming projects abroad, including an extensive apartment complex on the West Side Highway in New York City, for the Durst Organization. Ingels is known for his imaginative yet pragmatic designs and his awareness of the social atmosphere created by his buildings, and he “has ambitions to set precedents.” Kent Martinussen, the director of the Danish Architecture Center, tells Parker that, for Ingels, “the details are not that important. What’s much more important is: what kind of social impact does it have? Are people playing—having a laugh, rather than being self-contained, serious, aesthetic people? So it is more childish in that respect, but in a good way.” However, Parker writes, “some critics acknowledge the wry intelligence with which Ingels presents his designs but wonder if the work sometimes lacks nuance, or polish, or is too pliant to the needs of powerful clients.” Douglas Durst, the chairman of the Durst Organization, tells Parker and Ingels in conversation, “Bjarke designs buildings for each site. You might be able to guess a building was designed by him, but I don’t think you’d say you have a style.” But “no architect is better than Ingels at … concise, relaxed storytelling,” Parker writes. “I must say, I think I’m a true extrovert,” Ingels tells Parker. “I speak, therefore I think. If you’re a sculptor, you can work with a hammer and chisel on a block of marble until it looks like the woman you’re trying to portray. If you’re an architect, you can’t do anything with your own hands. You need a whole team, you need to involve clients and politicians and city officials. Your capacity to communicate ideas is your hammer and chisel.” Please see this link for the New Yorker website:

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