Bjarke Ingels Group: CPH Experiments
Tuesday October 2, 2007 – Saturday November 24, 2007
BIG is a Copenhagen based group of over 80 architects, designers, builders and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research and development. BIG’s architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes. In their projects, BIG tests the effects of size and the balance of programmatic mixtures on the triple bottom line of the social, economical and ecological outcome. Like a form of programmatic alchemy, they create architecture by mixing conventional ingredients such as living, leisure, working, and shopping.
The exhibition will showcase some built works and a number of large-scale models illustrating proposals for innovative residential typologies, all of which are situated in Copenhagen. Focusing on Kløverkarrén, BIG House, the LEGO project, Mountain Dwellings and VM Houses (both designed in conjunction with JDS Architects), the exhibition presents a broad spectrum of the research that has gone into varying housing solutions for different generational attitudes and economical backgrounds.
Each project’s effect and reception is showcased dependant on to what extent it is already manifest in the public realm, ranging from images of life in the VM houses post-occupation, through the 250.000 piece LEGO model inhabited by 1000 LEGO people, to the excessive political debate about Kløverkarreen.
If people are different, why are all apartments the same? The VM houses compile 85 different housing types into a 225 unit complex, providing the residential diversity of an entire neighbourhood in to a single block.
Can you combine the splendours of a suburban lifestyle with the convenience of urban density? By placing a 100 unit residential slab on top of a block of parking, we create a new hybrid typology half villas half urban block. The result is 11 stories of terraced residences with generous garden courtyards, nested on top of a south facing slope of parking. In a country flat as a pancake, the only way to get a south facing hillside, is to do it yourself.
Copenhagen used to be the city of towers, but in a post-modern disappointment with the urban residue of modernism the city has grown agoraphobic. Towers are seen as urban aliens that invest all their efforts in the skyline, rather than in the urban space. The Scala Tower focuses all its qualities from the waist down. A slim simple tower, that melts towards the city, merging with neighbouring blocks and public squares. The stepped and twisted volume allows the public to invade the facades, extending the public realm to the Copenhagen skyline.
The last 50 years the Danish building industry has been exclusively devoted to prefabrication. Denmark has become a country built from LEGO bricks. Rather than seeing the modular mania as a straightjacket, this project is a homage to Danish building industry. By turning the site in to a modular matrix of 12X12ft we created an elastic field of peaks and valleys. A thousand plateaus ascending and descending, separating and merging to form a fluid space of private and public plateaus. Combining the rigorous and the adventurous. The box and the blob.
Architects always wait for the phone to ring or someone to announce a competition. As a profession we are always the last to get involved, and then only to “make it nice”. When the social democratic mayor of Copenhagen announced a plan to provide 5000 affordable homes in Copenhagen, we saw an opening for short circuiting the good old dilemma between development and preservation. Copenhagen’s former airfield, now home to 40 football fields, turned in to the gargantuan courtyard of a 3 kilometer long building block, would accommodate 5000 people without sacrificing a single football field. Rather than choosing between football or affordable homes . . . this project provides both.