Tuesday, February 08, 2011

BIG's Peaks

Yesterday Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) unveiled plans for its much anticipated proposal for Durst Fetner Residential on West 57th Street and the West Side Highway in Manhattan. There is coverage of the project all over the place, most thoroughly by Justin Davidson in New York Magazine, so I won't go into detail on the design here.

[W57 - West 57th Street]

But I must extend Ingel's question to Durst after the latter spoke about green buildings in Copenhagen, "Why do all your buildings look like buildings?" with "Mr. Ingels, why do all your buildings look like mountains?" Some examples:

[ABU2 - Khalifa Park]

[AMF - Amagerforbrændingen]

[BAT - Faste Batteri]

[8 - 8Tallet]

[FØR - Førde Rådhus Kvarter]

[HOA - Holstebro Handball Arena]

[HOT - Stavanger Hotel]

[LDK - Little Denmark]

[MER - Dolphinarium and Wellnesscenter]

[MTN - Mountain Dwellings]

[POL - Hambrogsgade Office Building]

[SKI - Trysil Ski Resort]

[TØJ - Tøjhus Mixed-Use]

[VIB1 - Vibenhus Office Building]

[WVWS - World Village of Women Sports]

[ZIR - Zira Island Masterplan]

[Even BIG's web page is mountain-like!]

Keep in mind the above is a small sampling of a larger and more varied output, but it's clear the Danish architect has a predilection for buildings that terrace or angle as they rise; in some cases they are artificial mountains in their own right. Without taking my rhetorical question too far, in just about all of the projects the reasons behind the forms are clear (BIG uses diagrams that show a step-by-step evolution of their preliminary designs and massings), and a common factor is sunlight. In Manhattan catering to the sun would be close to impossible, but a site overlooking Hudson River Park allows an unimpeded southwesterly sun to shape the project. A mountain for Manhattan.