Danish-born architect Bjarke Ingels discusses his circuitous path to prominence, why he named his newborn Darwin, some of his latest undertakings, and why architects, developers, city planners, and others all need to take a longer view when it comes to creating our built environments.
Bjarke Ingels communicates the value—and world-changing potential—of architecture with the giddy enthusiasm and excitement of a sci-fi obsessive anticipating the next big Hollywood blockbuster. This is an analogy that especially makes sense when one gets deep into conversation with Ingels, as Andrew Zuckerman recently did for this episode of Time Sensitive.
At age 44, the Danish-born Ingels has become one of the most widely known and talked about practitioners in his field, reaching a level of fame and notoriety that most leading architects don’t see until they’re nearly twice his age. How did he do it? The answer lies largely in comics, or at least that’s where his success story starts. Dreaming of becoming an illustrator or cartoonist, Ingels found a path to architecture through art school. This background allowed him, over time, to shrewdly distill compelling narratives into everything his firm, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), does, whether a Copenhagen waste-to-energy plant that doubles as a ski mountain, a proposed floating city in the sea, or a Shenzhen skyscraper.
On this episode, Ingels discusses his circuitous path to prominence; why he named his newborn Darwin; some of BIG’s latest undertakings, including The Dryline masterplan in New York; and why architects, developers, city planners, and others all need to take a longer view when it comes to creating our built environments.