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: Fashionizer Ltd
Fashionizer is an international designer of bespoke uniforms for luxury hotels, resorts and spas. We design and manufacture high quality, stylish uniforms that fully reflect the atmosphere and brand values of each property.
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
Meis and Sharapova are designing training facilities for operators  in the hospitality sector
Meis has helped design some of the world’s most successful stadiums
"It’s one of the tragedies of the US that so many of our stadiums get replaced after 20 years"

The Everton and AS Roma stadium architect talks through the challenges and rewards of sports facility design

Musée de la Romanité is next to an ancient amphitheatre in Nîmes
French-Brazilian architect Elizabeth de Portzamparc designed the museum
"This museum is the smallest public facility I’ve worked on, but the most symbolic"

On her futuristic new museum

David Collins Studio: The leadership team on legacy and the fun of collaboration
Dublin-born David Collins moved to London in the 1980s and founded David Collins Studio in 1985
"The Studio is such a big part of our lives, that it just continued, albeit through a very challenging period"

David Collins was behind the design of many of London’s hottest destinations Today his legacy lives on via the studio’s glamorous international projects

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Stacks of cement roof tiles make up the walls of the structure
Mexican architect Frida Escobedo runs a practice in Mexico City
"I hope visitors will find a space in which the passage of time feels a bit hazy — fun yet meditative"

Creating the Serpentine Pavilion

Bullock is currently leading the Destination Crenshaw project in LA
Gabrielle Bullock studied architecture and fine art at the Rhode Island School of Design
"I’m one of 424 black female licensed architects in the US. We represent 0.2 per cent of the profession"

Architects must reflect the world they design for, says Perkins+Will’s director of global diversity

features
According to Ole Scheeren, the best buildings are the ones that tell us stories
"Economic value can be achieved by a sense of generosity towards the public domain"

The architect behind Beijing’s CCTV Headquarters and the Taipei Performing Arts Center talks form, fiction and fantasy with Kim Megson

An interactive Fun House is Snarkitecture’s design for Summer Block Party
"Part museum exhibition and part immersive environment, the project invites visitors to explore Snarkitecture’s work"

Reimagining the traditional home

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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
cladkit product news
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 ...
Parkside opens flagship Chelsea showroom
The showroom is designed to inspire its clients
Lauren Heath-Jones
Parkside, a designer of contemporary porcelain and ceramic tiles, has opened its first showroom in the UK. Located in Chelsea ...
Carlo Ratti's 'wonder wall' robot could become reality with kickstarter campaign
Unveiled at Milan Design Week, as part of Ratti's Living Nature installation, the Scribit is the result of Ratti's ongoing investigation into and development of writing machines
Lauren Heath-Jones
Carlo Ratti Associatti has developed an intelligent robot capable of writing and drawing on vertical surfaces. Called Scribit, the device ...
cladkit product news
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 ...
Bright Buildings to create UK's first 'open sky' swimming pool
Bright Buildings will create the retractable roof for the Open Sky pool at Ivybridge Leisure Centre
Lauren Heath-Jones
Leisure operator Fusion Lifestyle has announced that it will invest millions of pounds over the course of the next three ...