How do you avoid making architecture that is not ‘either naively utopian or petrifyingly pragmatic’? This according to the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels (b. 1974) is the key challenge that modern architecture has to tackle
Ingels believes the solution to be, "A pragmatic utopian architecture that takes on the creation of socially, economically and environmentally perfect places as a practical objective".
Today Bjarke Ingels is one of the world´s top young architects, yet it is hard to believe that his only dream for a long time was to draw comics. He only applied to the Danish Academy for Architecture because at least the study involved a lot of drawing.
"I knew absolutely nothing about architecture. I only knew the name of one architect, namely Jørgen Utzon. I was completely without prerequisites", says Ingels about his early attempts with architecture. Later he got his lucky break by working with Dutch star-architect Rem Koolhaas and founded his first company PLOT with fellow architect Julian de Smedt.
Today his own studio BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) is one of the leading companies in the field of innovative contemporary architecture. BIG has won competitions all over the world and Bjarke Ingels´ list of awards is rapidly expanding. Among his most famous projects are ‘8-tallet’, a progressive apartment complex and ‘The Mountain’, which has received numerous awards including the World Architecture Festival Housing Award.
Apart from his company Bjarke Ingels is a visiting professor at Harvard, Columbia and at The Royal Danish Academy of Arts.