NeoCon 2013 begins with a keynote speech from Bjarke Ingels—Danish architect and founder of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
in New York and Denmark. Ingels’ reputation for designing innovative, programmatically conscious buildings have culminated in numerous awards, including the Danish Crown Prince’s Culture Prize in 2011 and the ULI Award for Excellence in 2009, among others.
The Copenhagen-based architect commenced by discussing the architect’s role in society and the lack of political and often financial power architects face. “We only have the power of our ideas,” said Ingels.
With these ideas, Ingels suggests that architects have a different take on sustainability and instead look at how sustainable structures and cities can increase quality of life. BIG in turn designed the Copenhagen Harbor Bath to give people the feeling of swimming in the city and the joy of riding bicycles. Ingels also referenced the recent installation of city bikes in New York City—an alternate transportation method also used in Copenhagen.
Projects like the 8 House in Copenhagen also take the community into account. With lifted townhouses and surrounding sidewalks on each level, the residential and office community enjoy the sun without the glare and have more potential for community growth. The Miami Beach Square will also use landscaping and tiered buildings for shady areas, as well as a changing rooftop art gallery that can be viewed from the hotel.
“Public participation is very important,” said Ingels. In Copenhagen’s Red Square, the diverse community attributed to the design by nominating elements from their home country. A Moroccan fountain, iron British litter boxes, Finnish bicycle parking, and Jamaican outdoor speakers bring the community together and take into account the well being of the city and its people.