Architecture Style: 8 Must-See Works by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) creates award-winning design projects and buildings that are technically innovative and ahead of its time. 

Inspiring and profound, BIG positions itself as a team that is able to adapt, grow, and change. Their ambitious projects are not only visually striking and large in scale, but are also impacting the social environment of architecture all over the world. 

In an interview with ArchDaily, Ingels shares his perspective on architecture,

 “Architecture is the art and science of making sure that our cities and buildings actually fit with the way we want to live our lives: the process of manifesting our society into our physical world.”

With this mindset, he led his team of talented architects to push their creative boundaries. In his words, he challenges them to “build their own tree and build our own caves” rather than accepting the world as it is.

Ingels believes that he should shape the world around life, rathen than life being shaped by the world. His human-centered approach is the foundation by which his architectural firm lives.

Discover eight astounding architectural highlights by the Bjarke Ingels Group.

Musee Atelier Audemars Piguet, Le Brassus, Switzerland 

Located in a remote valley of the Swiss Jura Mountain, BIG designed a contemporary pavilion to complement Audemars Piguet‘s oldest building and expand its historical premise. With this goal and the client’s brand essence in mind, the architects created a structure that blends tradition and the opulent and forward thinking spirit in the heart of Pigeut’s craftsmanship. 

Bjarke Ingels Group Musee Atelier Audemars Piguet

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Iwan Baan 

The result is this spiral-shaped glass pavilion which resembles a striking sculpture rising from the ground. 

The Musée Atelier’s twisting circular pavilion seamlessly rises on walls of structural curved glass. The spiral and terrazzo floor was also designed to perfectly integrate with the surrounding landscape, adapting to the natural gradient of the land. At the same time, inside, the museum converges clockwise, allowing visitors to travel through the building as they would through the spring of a timepiece. 

Built with sustainability in mind, the museum’s steel roof with brass mesh along the external surface, helps to regulate light and temperature. Also, like other green roof structures, this one helps further regulate temperature while absorbing water. 

Truly a feat of engineering and design, the first of its kind to be built at such an altitude.

Bjarke Ingels Group Musee Atelier Audemars Piguet

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Iwan Baan 

Today, the Musee Atelier Audemars Piguet offers an experiential journey of the brand’s history of watchmaking. The museum showcases the numerous feats of mechanical mastery, design, and story of the Audemars Piguet brand. 

Marsk Watchtower, Hjemsted, Denmark 

Take a quick look at the image below. This 25-meter high structure is the Marsk Tower, or Marsh Tower, due to its proximity to the marshlands of Denmark’s popular National Park

Bjarke Ingels Group Marsk Watchtower

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Rasmus Hjortshoj

From afar, the tower looks like a sculptural art object rising out of the land, similar to a larger-than-life double helix structure of DNA, or a whirlpool seen on eye level. If you endeavor to take the journey upwards, you’ll arrive at the top after 146 steps, which puts the viewing deck 36 meters above sea level.  

Quite a unique building on its own, the tower stands tall as a key tourist landmark and an observation lookout. Standing atop the lookout spot, you will be able to see views stretching to the city of Esbjerg, the Islands Romo and Sylt, and beyond the Wadden sea to the North sea.

The Marsk Watching Tower offers a unique perspective for you to view the beautiful natural environment of the sea, dune, fauna, and wildlife. 

“Because of the earth curvature, visitors will gradually expand their view of the horizon while walking to the top of the tower. On the foot of the tower, you will be able to see 4 km into the distance, but from the top of the tower the view is expanded to an 18 km view into the horizon.”

Jakob Lange, Architect and Partner, BIG
Bjarke Ingels Group Marsk Watchtower

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Rasmus Hjortshoj

With a simple design, it exudes a natural aesthetic that blends with its natural environment. Minimalist but nothing short of extraordinary, the towering structure connects people to their surroundings for an unfiltered, unobstructed view of the landscape. 

CopenHill Energy Plant and Urban Recreation Center, Copenhagen, Denmark

CopenHill, also known as Amager Bakke, offers a unique combination waste-to-energy plant topped with a ski slope, hiking trail and climbing wall. The first of its kind, it embodies the notion of hedonistic sustainability while aligning with Copenhagen’s goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025.

Bjarke Ingels Group Copenhill Energy Plant and Urban Recreation Center

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Dragoer Luftoto

Ingels wanted Copenhill to embody the exploration of clean technology and stand as a bedrock for the social and cultural life of the city. Behind its cool facade and structure, this pioneering innovation also represented a battle for the environment.

As Ingels puts it in an interview with Building.co: “It provides a striking new urban landmark for Copenhagen and argues for a more pragmatic utopian future where environmental challenges can create the conditions for a livelier city”. 

Furthermore, this architectural landmark is a public infrastructure that creates social impact. Having replaced the adjacent 50 year old plant, CopenHill’s new waste incineration facilities integrate the latest technologies in waste treatment and energy production. 

Bjarke Ingels Group Copenhill Energy Plant and Urban Recreation Center

Photo Source: Flickr | News Oresund

If you think you’ve seen it all with that slope, not quite. Upon reaching the summit, the man-made mountain is complete with a rooftop bar, crossfit area, climbing wall and the highest viewing plateau in the city. Recreation buffs and visitors alike can also descend the 490m tree-lined hiking and running trail within a lush terrain designed by Danish Landscape Architects, SLA

Besides catering to outdoor sports and recreation enthusiasts, the 10,000m2 green roof absorbs heat while removing air particulates and minimizing stormwater runoff. 

CopenHill is a symbol of a progressive vision for the city. A shining example of a family-friendly destination that is environmentally and economically profitable. 

Bjarke Ingels Group Copenhill Energy Plant and Urban Recreation Center

Photo Source: Flickr | Nordic Innovation

Noma 2.0 Restaurant, Copenhagen, Denmark 

You’ve probably heard of this place. 

Noma is a world famous restaurant situated between two lakes. It is an intimate culinary garden village consisting of 11 spaces, each built of the finest materials. 

Bjarke Ingels Group Noma 2.0 Restaurant

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Rasmus Hjortshoj

Bjarke Ingels Group Noma 2.0 Restaurant

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Rasmus Hjortshoj

The use of natural materials in the interiors and the exteriors creates a rustic vibe and a warm ambience that gives you a comfortable space to enjoy nature and food. Each part of the restaurant maximizes natural light, effectively augmenting the perception of open space. At the same time, the floor-to-ceiling windows and the skylights throughout the restaurant, offer views of the lush outdoors. 

It’s no surprise that appreciation for the natural environment is a central theme and an integral part of the culinary experience. In fact, each building is connected by glass covered paths for guests to see the changes in weather, daylight, and seasons. 

Outside, the restaurant’s three greenhouses are used as a garden, test kitchen, and a bakery. Offering yet again, another space to appreciate the beauty of nature and the architecture. 

Bjarke Ingels Group Noma 2.0 Restaurant

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Rasmus Hjortshoj

The Twist Museum, Jevnaker, Norway

BIG’s first big project in Norway, The Twist, is a sight to behold. Aptly named, the Twist opens an inhabitable bridge torqued at its center, creating an art piece within the Kistefos Sculpture Park. Also, you might not be able to tell from first seeing it but it’s an art museum, with multiple galleries.

Bjarke Ingels Group The Twist Museum Norway

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Laurian Ghinitoiu

The Twist appears like a beam warped 90 degrees near the middle. The simple, yet unique and eye-catching design doesn’t only give the structure its futuristic appeal, but also functions to lift the bridge from the lower, forested riverbank in the south up to the hillside area in the north. 

As the continuous path in the landscape, both sides of the building serve as main entrances. From either direction, you can experience the twisted gallery as though walking through an all white tunnel or as if walking through a camera shutter.

Bjarke Ingels Group The Twist Museum Norway

Photo Source: Flickr | Astrid Westvang

On the north end, a full-height glass wall offers panoramic views to the pulp mill and river tapers, while curving upwards to reveal a wide strip of skylight. This simple element creates three distinctive galleries: a wide, naturally lit gallery with panoramic views on the north side, a tall dark gallery with artificial lighting on the south side, and a sculptural space with a twisting sliver of roof light. This creative way to divide up the gallery also opens up diverse ways to display exhibits.

To add to that, another full-width glass wall brings visitors even closer to the river below. Extending the viewing space and enhancing the overall immersive experience of being in the beautiful woodlands outside Oslo. 

Bjarke Ingels Group The Twist Museum Norway

Photo Source: Flickr | Henrik Berger Jorgensen

WeGrow, New York, United States

Step into this interactive learning landscape, WeGrow. Borne from BIG and WeWork‘s collaboration, the space supports a “conscious approach to education, nurturing the growth, spirit, and mind of the 21st century child”. The 10,000 feet learning sanctuary is located in WeWork’s HQ in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. 

Bjarke Ingels Group WeGrow New York

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Dave Burk

Minimalist, open, and featuring playful pops of color, the space creates a fun environment for children to move freely and interact with each other. Communal spaces comprise more than half of the school. There are four classrooms, flexible workshop areas, community space, multi-purpose studio, art studio, music room, and other playscapes to support the energy of creation and a nurturing environment. 

Each learning station within WeGrow includes modular furniture carefully designed by BIG. These modular classrooms promote movement and collaboration among the children. Puzzle tables and chairs also come in kid and parent sizes to offer equal perspectives.

Bjarke Ingels Group WeGrow New York

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Laurian Ghinitoiu

Bjarke Ingels Group WeGrow New York

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Dave Burk

Other fun furniture like the mushroom shelves and magic meadow creates a calm area for more focused study. Moreover, the reading hives act as a mini library for a relaxed and organic learning hub.

Throughout the space, natural light is maximized to mimic a homelike and comfortable place. Flexible lighting systems also emit an ambient glow that nurtures child-like curiosity, and encourages a conducive environment to discover, learn, and grow.

Klein A45, United States (and anywhere else)

While Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) usually works on big and bold projects (as they are aptly named), they have also built a tiny home that’s nothing short of amazing. 

The Klein A45 was the winner of the American Institute of Architects Small Project Awards 2019 for its innovative design and high standard of craftsmanship. Incredibly, it is a completely off-grid sustainable tiny house designed to be built within 4-6 months in any location, for any purpose. 

Bjarke Ingels Group Klein A45

Photo Source: Klein A45 Website

Taking its inspiration from a Danish heritage and Nordic home, the Klein A45 is built with a strong connection to nature. It makes use of biophilic elements to create a restorative space. From the Douglas Fir floor to the insulating natural cork walls, the tiny home makes use of high quality natural materials which are 100% recyclable. Additionally, it was constructed primarily using certified materials and an optimized process that ensures zero-waste production.

This amazing architecture evolved from the traditional A-frame cabin, except this time, the roof twists at a 45 degree angle to raise the tiny home to a soaring 13 feet height. This growth spurt helps make the space feel more expansive and open. At the same time, it creates more freedom of movement all throughout the house. 

Bjarke Ingels Group Klein A45

Photo Source: American Institute of Architects

With the logo, “Built for fun, for work, for life”, the Klein A45 offers flexible spaces for focused work, relaxing, or simply having a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It can easily be constructed, whether in the woods, mountains, or the shore, for a comfortable home anywhere, all year long.

At the core of its design, the Klein A45 is about simplicity, functionality, and possibility. 

“With the Klein A45 Bjarke Ingels and I decided to take everything we learnt from high-end residential and boil it down to the essentials.

Soren Rose, Co-founder

Rooted in organic minimalism and thoughtful design, it is everything you need and nothing you don’t.

Photo Source: Arquine

VIA 57 West, New York, United States

The VIA Courtscraper 830,000 square feet high-rise resembles a hyperbolic paraboloid or a warped pyramid. This eye-catching building in New York City combines the density of the American skyscraper and the communal space of the European courtyard. 

Bjarke Ingels Group VIA 57 West

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Iwan Baan 

The shared green space is one for the books. Designed by the landscape architecture firm, Starr Whitehouse, it features 80 newly planted trees and 47 species of native plants. 

By keeping one area of the courtyard low, it opens the residents to views across the Hudson River and allows them to see the western sun set. Whereas the area surrounded by the higher buildings, creates a shaded forest in the east of the courtyard, creating a beautiful dichotomy.

Bjarke Ingels Group VIA 57 West

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Iwan Baan 

The Courtscraper, a fusion of two seemingly separate typologies, the courtyard and skyscraper, signifies the integration of the greenery and the bustling city. 

“In recent decades, some of the most interesting urban developments have come in the form of nature and public space, reinserting themselves back into the postindustrial pockets, freeing up around the city; the pedestrianization of Broadway and Times Square; the bicycle lanes, the High Line and the industrial piers turning into parks”

Bjarke Ingels

This project, along with several of the works above, is a testament to BIG’s vision of creating sanctuaries and building a visual and physical connection to nature.

Bjarke Ingels Group VIA 57 West

Photo Source: Bjarke Ingels Group | Iwan Baan 

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