The Real Deal New York

Bjarke Ingels on avoiding “formulaic boring box” designs: VIDEO

Danish architect reflects on career and talks 2 WTC and Via 57 West

March 14, 2016 01:45PM

Bjarke Ingels, the 41-year-old starchitect and BIG founder, has risen even faster than his convention-shattering buildings.

“If you’re just reaffirming the status quo,” Ingels told CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday night, “then you are missing the point that the city is never complete.”

Ingels currently has over 60 projects in the works, including Google’s new headquarters – the Googleplex – in Silicon Valley and the new home of Lego in Copenhagen, along with five New York City projects including 2 World Trade Center and Via 57 West.

“It’s the unlikely child of a New York skyscraper and, if you like, a Copenhagen courtyard building,” Ingels told “60 Minutes,” referring to the Durst Organization’s tetrahedronic 750-unit luxury residential building at 625 West 67th Street.

Asked if he was happy with the building, the architect expressed a classic artists’ lament. “It’s paradoxical for an architect,” Ingels told host Morley Safer. “The only thing you can see is all the battles you lost, all the compromises that had to be made, all the fuck-ups that couldn’t be fixed.”

Ingels also described the honor of his being chosen to design 2 World Trade Center, now in limbo after News Corp and 20th Century Fox’s decision to back away from a letter of intent the companies signed to anchor the project. The architect also highlighted the complexities of building on iconic the downtown site, citing the multiple subway lines and subterranean accesses roads criss-crossing it.

“I was really scared that now we were getting the opportunity of a life and we would be so restricted that it would be almost impossible to come up with something,” Ingels told Safer.

The architect told “60 Minutes” that the name of his company, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), was originally a bit of a joke.

“Denmark is one of the smallest countries on the planetand there was something funny about calling a company BIG,” he told Safer. “If I’d started BIG in America, I never would have called it BIG.” [60 Minutes]Ariel Stulberg