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: Dornbracht GmbH
Dornbracht is turning the bathroom into a LifeSpa: Dornbracht’s LifeSpa vision has taken the idea of health-oriented bathroom design to a new level.
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
McLennan developed the Living Building Challenge certification in 2006
"If you look closely at the walls, they almost look like layers of the Grand Canyon. When you use rammed earth, you get wavy lines where the material has been compacted"

Well building guru Jason McLennan opens his home and shares his thoughts about environmental design with Well Home

Chris Godfrey heads up the global residential business at Hirsch Bedner
"Vastu can be dated back to at least the 6th century and is deeply rooted in the physical and spiritual fabric of Hindu society"

Chris Godfrey of global architecture practice Hirsch Bedner, on bringing a spiritual dimension to residential architecture in India

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
9. Ebbsfleet in Kent, the biggest of the new developments
"The Healthy New Towns initiative aims to design out ‘obesogenic environments’ and design in health and wellbeing"

The UK government is building 10 new towns based on health, with wellbeing incorporated from the ground up. Stu Robarts investigates

Floor to ceiling windows let in natural light and offer views of the vegetation. The pool provides a sense of coolness
"Even brushing your teeth in the right space can elevate a daily routine into a ritual"

With a lap pool at the heart of the home, this property is a sanctuary for Rene Gonzalez

Birch plywood interior walls eliminate the need for primer or paint
"We’re not built for constant comfort. When we live in spaces that connect us to our surroundings, we feel better, stronger and happier – and that is the very definition of being well"

Early-onset MS inspired Adria Lake to explore resilience as both a healing modality and an approach to design in the creation of her new home and company headquarters in Colorado

features
"I’ve used my own life as a living lab to study the hurdles from a busy career mom’s perspective"

Veronica Schreibeis Smith couldn’t find a kitchen which worked for her plant-based diet, so she invented the wellness kitchen

Euphoria Retreat
"Come to Euphoria Retreat if you’re looking for a full health-boost, you’ll leave feeling completely rejuvenated"

Wellbeing Escapes and Well Home have partnered to bring you this special offer for the Euphoria Retreat in Greece

The Bacots moved to Serenbe in 2014, attracted by the sense of community
"We love being surrounded by people who teach us and make us better. Serenbe has also really enhanced our thinking about the value of nature and being outside on a daily basis"

Eliza Bacot and her husband Benton talk about living at Serenbe with their family

cladkit product news
EAS PREVIEW: Bright Buildings to exhibit BrightOpen designs
Bright Buildings will be showcasing its range of BrightOpen buildings
At this year’s Euro Attractions Show (EAS), design and architecture firm Bright Buildings will be exhibiting its range of BrightOpen ...
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. ...
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
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 ...
Dornbracht launches 'next generation' experience shower
Rainmoon is an innovative sensory shower experience designed for use in the home
Dornbracht is taking experience showers to the next level with its multi-sensory Rainmoon concept. “Rainmoon is a culmination of bliss ...
Designworks launches new glow-in-the-dark tile collection
The tiles contain light-absorbing luminous pigments so they glow-in-the-dark
Lauren Heath-Jones
High-end tile supplier Designworks has created a range of illuminous mosaic tiles for commercial use. Designed to bring light into ...
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 ...
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 ...
Artemide excites with latest lighting collection
Designer Alejandro Aravena created O to 'reconcile the needs of the natural and the urban environment'
Lauren Heath-Jones
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Herzog and de Meuron, Neri & Hu, MAD Architects and Elemental, the firm of Pritzker winner ...
x
Email this to a friend or colleague
I am happy for Leisure Media to contact me occasionally by email and understand that I can opt out at any time.
BIG special: Beat Schenk
BIG partner Beat Schenk on meeting Bjarke Ingels at OMA and VIA 57 West