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Bjarke Ingels, the architect for U.S. Immigration Fund projects West 57th and 76 Eleventh Avenue in New York, has become an international success and one of the most popular names in the architectural world. Ingels explains in an interview the importance of the relationship between a client and an architect. 

2 February, 2018 | Equipo Editorial | Translated by Marina Gosselin

  [caption id="attachment_25060" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Image Courtesy of UDEM[/caption]

In just 13 years since its inception, Danish firm BIG has earned world renown for its inventive architecture and its founder, Bjarke Ingels, has become one of the most popular names in the architectural world. However, with success comes criticism; BIG has been called out by some critics for what they believe is the "infantilization of architecture," referring to their designs as isolated, self-admiring and solely photogenic.

On her most recent visit to Spain, Spanish journalist Anatxu Zabalbeascoa spoke with Ingels about the impact of the Danish office on architecture and how their work wavers on a tightrope between "breakthrough projects for the world of the powerful" and "a face for people who are not happy with existing architectural models."

The conversation addresses the impact of IT giants such as Google on urban planning, Ingels' relationship with Rem Koolhaas – at whose firm, OMA, Ingels worked for a year and a half – his personal life and the hectic world of architecture, specifically regarding the commission for 2 World Trade Center, for which BIG was hired to replace an original design by Foster + Partners. Speaking on the relationship between client and architect, Ingels explains:

"In the world of architecture, there are many things beyond the control of architects, than there are under their control. No matter how wonderful a building is; if there is no client, it doesn't get built."

The office is behind iconic projects in its native Denmark such as the Mountain Dwellings and 8 House in its early years, to the new Google headquarters in London and San Francisco, and projects in Manhattan such as VIA 57 West. All can be reduced to their key architectural move or symbol – which is in fact how BIG's website is organized, as a library of symbols. When Zabalbeascoa wonders if "different has to be photogenic," Ingels defends his vision:

"Rethinking architecture implies being prepared to accept oddities. We aren't interested in the definition of beauty as a proportion. We don't want to disguise them as normal buildings."

The twisting towers of 76 11th Avenue, a U.S. Immigration Fund project, are advancing in construction progress. The project is adjacent to the High Line in West Chelsea and will consist of luxury residential units as well as a Six Senses Hotel and Spa. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2019.
The development will hold luxury condos, hotel and spa

By Emily Nonko Jan 25, 2018

[caption id="attachment_24773" align="aligncenter" width="593"] Photos by Field Condition[/caption]

Construction is moving right along at 76 Eleventh Avenue, home to one of starchitect Bjarke Ingels’s many New York City projects. Developed by HFZ Capital Group and to be known as The Eleventh, the development will consists of two twisting towers atop an 85 foot podium adjacent to the High Line.

Field Condition spotted progress at the construction site, with at least one of the buildings rising up from the podium. The west tower is set to rise 400 feet and will consist of residential units and amenities. The east tower will top out at 300 feet, holding residential units on the upper floors and a 137-key Six Senses hotel and spa on the lower floors. The towers, which will be the tallest in West Chelsea, will hold a total of 240 luxury condos between them.

[caption id="attachment_24774" align="aligncenter" width="574"] Photos by Field Condition[/caption]

The stone and metal buildings keep with Ingels’s style; a press release stated that he "draws inspiration from New York City’s classic Modernist structures and cultural institutions, while skewing traditional skyscraper geometry with rotating forms that maximize views from both towers."

[caption id="attachment_24775" align="aligncenter" width="597"] Photos by Field Condition[/caption]

HFZ also announced that the firm is teaming up with Friends of the High Line to collaborate on creating an open-air pedestrian promenade for the development that will run adjacent to the elevated linear park. The whole shebang is expected to open in 2019.

[caption id="attachment_24776" align="aligncenter" width="554"] Photos by Field Condition[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_24725" align="aligncenter" width="592"] 76 Eleventh Avenue[/caption] 76 11th Avenue, also known as The Eleventh, has finally started to show itself. Construction began in the Fall of 2016, and YIMBY has been following its progress closely. Running the length of 11th Avenue between 17th and 18th Street, the site is one of the largest parcels of land to be developed since the recent surge of construction started along the High Line, and the latest photos from BIG and Tectonic show that the transformative project is finally beginning its climb into the West Chelsea skyline. [caption id="attachment_24768" align="aligncenter" width="534"] This weekend, photo by Bjarke Ingels Group[/caption] Purchased in April of 2015 by HFZ Capital for $870 million, the site will be the home of two mixed-use towers. The first is slated to rise 25 stories and 302 feet, and will be operated by Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, with 137 guest rooms.  This will be the Bangkok-based hotel chain’s first location in the United States. The second tower will rise to 35 floors and 402 feet, and is set to become a 240-unit residential tower. Both buildings will share a four-story base, which will offer up 181,893 square feet of commercial space. [caption id="attachment_24769" align="aligncenter" width="602"] One week ago, photo by Tectonic[/caption] The concrete base of the project is now visible, which will presumably hold the shared lobby and commercial space which the two towers will rise out of. Comparing the photos, it appears work is moving up at the pace of about a floor per week. The design should be a fitting addition to the area, and neighbors include the Frank Gehry-designed IAC Headquarters, and Jean Nouvel’s 100 11th Avenue. [caption id="attachment_24770" align="aligncenter" width="569"] One week ago, photo by Tectonic[/caption] Funding for the project will come in the form of a $1.23 billion senior loan, a $258 million EB-5 mezzanine loan, and $225 million in developer equity. In addition to the purchase of the site itself, HFZ purchased 800,000 square feet of air rights. Omnibuild is overseeing the project’s construction which will offer 360 degree views of the Hudson River and Manhattan alike. Completion is expected to be sometime in 2019.
 

By Michelle Mazzarella | January 26, 2018

Bjarke Ingels' pair of torquing towers has erupted out of the ground and are beginning to rise above their West Chelsea neighborhood. Named The Eleventh, the project is being spearheaded by Ziel Feldman's HFZ Capital Group.

[caption id="attachment_24744" align="aligncenter" width="599"] Skyline rendering of The Eleventh via Bjarke Ingels Group[/caption]

The two-building complex is sited between the High Line and Chelsea Waterside Park at 76 Eleventh Avenue between West 18th and 17th streets. The towers will share a platform on a full city block site. At the base, a separation between the buildings will create the illusion that the buildings are being pulled apart — maximizing city skyline and Hudson River views. Ruled corners create additional separation and emphasize the movement of the towers, more noticeable as they rise and reorient. Renderings also show punched window facades said to be inspired by the Meatpacking District’s historic warehouses.

[caption id="attachment_24745" align="aligncenter" width="604"] Construction progress as of late January 2018 (CityRealty)[/caption]

The Eleventh’s east tower will be home to the first American location for Six Senses Hotel and spa. It will occupy the third through tenth floors and have condos on top. The taller, 34-story west tower will be solely residential. Unique podium bridges will allow for a through-block connection between buildings. Completion is anticipated for 2019.