BIG special

THE BIG TEAM - Beat Schenk

Bjarke Ingels credits BIG’s enormous success to the creative team he has built around him, and the studio now has partners spread across the world. Each brings something markedly different to the table, as Kim Megson and Magali Robathan find out


Read on turning pages | Download PDF | sign up to CLAD

Beat Schenk started out working for Frank Gehry’s office in Los Angeles, before moving to Europe. He first met with Ingels when both were working under Rem Koolhaas at OMA, and the pair collaborated together on the acclaimed Seattle Public Library project.

“Bjarke was this young kid, quite brash and totally insane, but with really good energy, directing the team about what to do next,” Schenk remembers. ‘We connected right away.”

He turned down the chance to join Ingels in the early days of PLOT due to family commitments, but was given a second opportunity when BIG won the VIA 57 West project in New York and were preparing to establish an office in the city. This time he agreed readily.

“When we started we were leasing a couple of desks and had 12 people,” he says. “We’re about to make our fifth move since then. I don’t think anyone would have guessed we’d have grown to more than 200 people so quickly.”

Schenk, who has been an architect since 1986, has a lot of technical experience and is closely involved in the latter stages of almost every project the office develops.

Speaking about what has made BIG so successful, Schenk says: “There’s a lot of laughter and togetherness, which we encourage. It’s a cliché, but if you’re happy as a person you’re more likely to put in the sweat and effort required.

“Bjarke has put together a group of talented people whom he feels really comfortable with and trusts not to mess up. That’s the difference between what I experienced at other offices, where you had one master leading everything.”

Bjarke Ingels on Beat Schenk
“He’s an amazing character and the person I’ve known longest in the office. He has so much talent and knowledge. He’s very demanding of everyone around him, but no more demanding than he is of himself.”

VIA 57 West

NEW YORK, US
OPENING DATE: 2016

BIG’s first completed project in New York opened in 2016. Described by the architect as a ‘hybrid between the European perimeter block and a traditional Manhattan high-rise,’ the building features 709 residential units arranged around a courtyard garden with the same proportions as Central Park.

The form of the building shifts depending on the viewer’s vantage point. While appearing like a pyramid from the West-Side-Highway, it turns into a dramatic glass spire from West 58th Street. The sloping roof consists of a simple ruled surface perforated by terraces – each one unique and south-facing. Every apartment has a bay window, and balconies encourage interaction between residents and passers-by.

VIA 57 West’s residential units surround a central courtyard garden  / Iwan Baan
VIA 57 West’s residential units surround a central courtyard garden Iwan Baan
 / Iwan Baan
Iwan Baan
company profile
Company profile: WTS International, Inc.
WTS International’s internal design team collaborates with the client’s design firm to focus on creative aesthetics and functional considerations that impact profitability for spas, fitness centres, and leisure facilities of all types.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Archaeological relics will be stored and exhibited at the museum
Theoni Xanthi Partner XZA Architects
"The design concept is to create a museum that evokes a transition in time, in space, in memory"

The vision for the New Cyprus Musuem

The building, called Sportcampus Zuiderpark
"Whenever you’re looking at it, the elevation is running away from you, so it never looks quite as big as it really is "

FaulknerBrowns’ Dutch sports facility

The MACRO contemporary art museum, Rome
Decq has been recognised for raising the profile of women in architecture
"Things have improved, but not enough"

On women in architecture

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The Folkestone Quarterhouse opened in 2009
Alison Brooks
"The profession is changing"

We need to help the public understand that architects are on their side, argues The Smile designer

Venus Wlliams
DMAC’s Dwayne MacEwen
"The hotel concept came late in the game, but it was an inspired idea"

The newly renovated Chicago Midtown Athletic Club features a boutique hotel, a pool-come-ice rink and spaces designed by Venus Williams

The Yongsan park site is bigger than Central Park
Adriaan Geuze
"The profile of landscape architecture has been raised by international cities competing with one another"

How the West 8 founder is using the healing power of nature on a Korean site with a turbulent history

features
Lund has worked as a designer for Soho House since 2014. She co-led the design of The Ned
"My favourite part of the building is the original bank vault, in the belly of the building. It once stored gold bullion deposits of £335m"

On the challenges of creating The Ned

Tushino district
Moscow, date TBA
Mixed-use residential and leisure quarter
Steven Holl is widely considered to be one of America’s most important and influential architects
" What sound is to music, light is to space "

The acclaimed architect speaks to CLAD about Donald Trump, Zaha Hadid and not being obedient

Work is due to start on the Hotel Valle Sagrado in Cuzco, Peru
Schreibeis Smith set up Vera Iconica Architecture in 2010
"Wellness is essentially an insurance policy to promote physical and mental long term health"

Raising the profile of wellness architecture

cladkit product news
Ben van Berkel launches UNSense startup to boost health and wellbeing in built environments
Kim Megson
Dutch architect Ben van Berkel and his design firm UNStudio have launched a tech startup to “improve the health and ...
Dornbracht debuts Rainmoon wellness shower concept at  Salone del Mobile
Rainmoon is a multi-sensory wellness experience designed to revitalise and reinvigorate the user
Lauren Heath-Jones
Dornbracht, a German-based luxury bathroom specialist, has launched an innovative new shower experience, Rainmoon. Slated as the next generation of ...
London's new pollution-eating living wall has air purifying power of 275 trees
CityTree is a living wall that reduces particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide in the air by 30 per cent
Lauren Heath-Jones
The Crown Estate, a London-based commercial real estate company, has partnered with Westminster City Council and cleantech specialist Evergen Systems ...
cladkit product news
Kvorning wins contest to design aquaculture exhibit at Norway's Coastal Museum
The exhibition explores the history of Norway's fish-farming industry dating back to 1970
Lauren Heath-Jones
Copenhagen-based design studio Kvorning Design and Norwegian advertising agency Vindfang have won a competition, organised by Museums in Sør Trøndelag ...
Empex Watertoys partners with Singapore architecture firm on new splash park
Buds is a new splash park that caters to children aged 12 and under
Lauren Heath-Jones
Empex Watertoys has partnered with Singapore landscape architecture firm Playpoint Singapore Pte to create Buds, an exciting new splash park ...
FAÇADE2017 winners 'diverse and remarkable', says SFE board member
Ramboll was awarded for the Blavatnik Building, Switchouse Extension of the Tate Moder
Lauren Heath-Jones
A trio of British leisure facilities have been honoured in the Façade2017 awards. Established in 2013 by the Society of ...
cladkit product news
AB Concept partners with House of Tai Ping for luxurious rug collection
The collection was inspired by the idea of looking down at the world from a great height
Lauren Heath-Jones
Design house AB Concept has partnered with bespoke rug specialist Tai Ping to create Nephele, an exclusive line of handcrafted ...
Hotel Crescent Court opens new spa following multi-million-dollar renovation
Hotel Crescent Court has reopened its spa after a multi-million dollar refurbishment
Lauren Heath-Jones
Hotel Crescent Court, a luxury hotel in Dallas, Texas, has reopened its spa and fitness centre after completing a multi-million-dollar ...