BIG special

THE BIG TEAM - Brian Yang

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

US born Yang studied at The Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he applied to BIG for an internship and then coincidentally found out that Bjarke Ingels was one of the examiners for his final review. “It turned very quickly into a de facto job interview,” says Yang. “I guess it went well because that summer I ended up at BIG.”

Yang has been with BIG since 2007, and has worked on a wide range of projects including the Lego House, the Amager Resource Center, Tirpitz Museum and the Shenzhen Energy Mansion.

Yang particularly enjoys what he describes as the conscious naivete of BIG’s approach to architecture, as well as the socially level atmosphere at the practice. “Day to day, there’s no real hierarchy in the office,” he says. “There is for decision making, because you need that, but it doesn’t influence who speaks in a design meeting. You can be an intern on your first day and be expected to contribute to the design conversation. That’s something driven strongly by Bjarke.”

Yang was project leader for the competition phase of the Amager Resource Center, and remembers the idea of putting a ski slope on the roof of the building as being born from “the sheer anxiety of having to submit something brilliant in a very short timescale.

“We didn’t have a scheme until about two weeks before the submission date,” he says. “We sat down with the team to discuss what the hell we were going to do. Someone mentioned the fact that Denmark is flat and that Danes drive three hours to Sweden to ski there, and Bjarke said, ‘We have to do a ski slope on top of the factory’. I remember that moment – all of a sudden the energy in the room turned.”

Brian Yang married fellow BIG employee Cat Huang in Texas in 2013.

Bjarke Ingels on Brian Yang
“He’s a Swiss Army knife of an architect. He really has the ability to command the room and he has such a professional attitude to architecture.”

Amager Resource Center

Copenhagen, Denmark
OPENING DATE: 2018

The BIG-designed Amager Resource Center is a combined waste-to-energy plant and ski centre located in an industrial area of Copenhagen that’s being transformed into an extreme sports destination. The 85m-high building will act as a ‘mountain’ for Copenhagen, with an artificial ski slope on its roof, a climbing wall on one facade and a rooftop hiking trail.
As a way of raising awareness about climate change, the plant’s chimney will emit giant steam rings in order to illustrate the amount of carbon dioxide being saved by the factory.

The 85m-high sloped roof at the Amager Resource Center doubles as a ski slope / Photo: Julien Lanoo
The 85m-high sloped roof at the Amager Resource Center doubles as a ski slope Photo: Julien Lanoo
company profile
Company profile: SPARCSTUDIO
Sparcstudio offers a bespoke and comprehensive design service with real attention to detail. Logical and inspiring space planning forms the bedrock of all Sparcstudio projects.
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
The Hilton Innovation Gallery showcases the company’s latest brands, products and vision
"Millennials are pushing us architects to design hotels with distinct personalities"

Sameness is out, authenticity is in when it comes to designing for millennials says Greg Keffer

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Snohetta’s underwater restaurant
"Should a thousand year wave occur, you’ll be completely safe"

A sneak preview of one of the world’s largest underwater restaurants

features
"Now we’re talking about pedestrians as the most important members of the street community"

The new US neighbourhood designed to improve the health of its residents

The foyer at the Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre
Toyo Ito was born in Seoul in 1941. He studied architecture at the University of Tokyo
"I have one dream with my work. Architecture should equal nature"

The Pritzker Prize-winner talks about inspiration, battling bureaucracy and the Tokyo National Olympic Stadium saga with Kim Megson

Wellness: Living well
"The entire way of living is changing in Asia, and the need for communities is on the rise"

The new wellness communities changing the face of residential design in Asia

featured supplier
Featured Supplier: EXF supports Third Space to create London’s largest functional training space at The Yard
Bespoke fitness manufacturer EXF has extended its relationship with Third Space, by supplying the luxury fitness group with London’s largest functional training rig at its Canary Wharf club.
cladkit product news
Baux creates plant-based acoustic panels
Baux has worked with scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology to create Baux Acoustic Pulp, a plant-derived acoustic solution
Lauren Heath-Jones
Baux, an acoustic products brand based in Sweden, has developed a line of biodegradable acoustic panels, using a plant-based material ...
Water inspires Zaha Hadid Design x Rosenthal collaboration
The collection consists of three smaller collections: Weave, Strip and Lapp. Weave was inspired by 'the fluid lines of Zaha Hadid's sketching hand'
Lauren Heath-Jones
Zaha Hadid Design has partnered with porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal to create a new collection of vases. Called the Lapp collection, ...
David Rockwell partners with Jim Thompson for dream-inspired fabric collection
Rockwell has designed 12 multi-use fabrics inspired by dreams with long-time collaborator Jim Thompson
Lauren Heath-Jones
Renowned architect David Rockwell has created a collection of fabrics with long-time collaborator Jim Thompson. Called Dreams, the collection was ...
cladkit product news
Zaha Hadid Design partners with Royal Thai to create carpet collection celebrating Zaha Hadid's legacy
The carpets capture Hadid's notable use of layering and interweaving as well as her use of light and shadow
Lauren Heath-Jones
Zaha Hadid Design has partnered with carpet manufacturer Royal Thai to create a new carpet collection inspired by the work ...
Volvo partners with Reef Lab Designs to encourage ocean biodiversity
The tiles are made from marine-grade concrete and recycled plastic fibres
Lauren Heath-Jones
Car manufacturer Volvo has partnered with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Reef Design Lab to create an environmentally-friendly ...
Bartok Design installs 'transformative' soaking tubs in SpaFusion at Pallazzo Varignana
Bartok Design creates traditional Japanese soaking tubs
Lauren Heath-Jones
Bartok Design, a Japan-based supplier of Ofuro (Japanese bathtubs), has completed a major installation at the newly opened SpaFusion at ...
cladkit product news
Tredje Natur launches Climate Tile to bring green spaces to urban settings
Tredje Natur has installed the pilot system of its Climate Tile system in the Nørrebro area of Copenhagen
Lauren Heath-Jones
Danish company Tredje Natur (Third Nature) has recently installed the pilot system of its innovative street paving system in the ...
Aotta launches sound panels made from hemp husks
The panels are designed to maintain 'healthy spaces' and consist of Hemp husks fashioned into a natural porous membrane that absorbs sound
Lauren Heath-Jones
Russian design studio Aotta has developed a range of eco-friendly, sound-absorbing panels made from the waste products of hemp seeds. ...
John Pawson reimagines oil lantern for Wästberg
The Holocene No. 4 reflects Pawson's pared-back style and neutral palette
Lauren Heath-Jones
Swedish lighting company Wästberg has expanded its Holocene collection, with a new addition, Holocene No. 4, designed by acclaimed architect ...