The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd

BIG special

THE BIG TEAM - Kai-Uwe Bergmann

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


When Bergmann first met Ingels at the Venice Biennale in 2004, the two seemed destined to collaborate as Bergmann was planning his move to Copenhagen that same year. They met up again and Bergmann brought along his portfolio. “It was a funky combination of glass blowing and a clay temple in Central Africa. I really liked Kai and offered him a job,” says Ingels.

Bergmann is head of business development, or as Ingels refers to him, “BIG’s foreign minister”. He also spearheads BIG Landscape and works on BIG’s Urbanism projects. Recent examples include the Pittsburgh Lower Hill masterplan, the Smithsonian Institute campus overhaul and the BIG U, BIG’s leisure-orientated storm barrier for Lower Manhattan.

“BIG U is us starting the foundation work for a future resilient city,” says Bergmann. “What we’re looking for is investment in flood protection – we asked ourselves: instead of just having a basic grey floodwall, could we raise the quality of life in these neighbourhoods by leveraging the flood protection investment to create parks? We asked the people who lived there what they lacked most, and they all put open green space as their number one choice.”

Bergmann also takes his role as the BIG culture ambassador seriously, ensuring that ‘BIGsters’ share their knowledge through BIG schools, are inspired through the BIG Picture lecture series, enjoy BIG study trips and above all stay in touch with the global network of ‘BIGster’ alumni everywhere.

One of Bergmann’s favourite experiences with BIG was cycling from Mendoza, Argentina, over the Andes to the coast of Chile in 2004. “We spent six days, all together. It was an endurance; up to 200km a day, uphill, but it was absolutely amazing,” he says.

Bjarke Ingels on Kai-Uwe Bergmann
“Kai-Uwe is a unique blend of American extroversion and Germanic structure, which makes him a force of nature as a networker. His secret strength is his endurance and ability to take on and manage the complexities of creating opportunities for us. It’s liberating!”

THE BIG U

NEW YORK, US
COMPLETION DATE: PHASE ONE 2024/2025

Developed in collaboration with New York City, the BIG U proposal was developed to protect Lower Manhattan from floods, storms and other impacts of climate change. A storm barrier-cum leisure amenity, it stretches around Manhattan from West 54th street south to The Battery and up to East 40th street: a high water barrier incorporating public space with parks, seating, bicycle shelters, sports facilities and skateboard ramps.

The architect says of the project: ‘The BIG U consists of multiple but linked design opportunities; each on different scales of time, size and investment; each local neighbourhood tailoring its own set of programs, functions, and opportunities.

‘Small, relatively simple projects maintain the resiliency investment momentum post-Sandy, while setting in motion the longer-term solutions that will be necessary in the future.’

The BIG U high water barrier is 16km long, and incorporates community facilities
The BIG U high water barrier is 16km long, and incorporates community facilities
company profile
Company profile: Robert D. Henry Architects + Interiors
Robert D Henry Architects (RDH-Architects) was founded in 1990 in New York City by Bob Henry, known as the “sensuous architect of serenity.”
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
BIG is working closely with Virgin Hyperloop One on the Hyperloop plans
“If BIG had been founded for one project, it would have been Lego House,” says Ingels
"We want to take responsibility and initiative in giving form to our future"

The BIG founder talks about Lego House Mars Science City and the role of his team in BIG’s success

Andreas Nygaard
"Should a thousand year wave occur, you’ll be completely safe"

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

Partners clockwise from bottom right: Alexandra Champalimaud, Ed Bakos, Winston Kong, John Kastl
Bakos joined Champalimaud in December 2012. He previously worked for the Rockwell Group
"Construction is one of the largest generators of landfill waste, so it is important to create spaces that transcend trends"

It’s time for a new approach to sustainability, argues Champalimaud’s managing director

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Meis argues integrated landscapes and natural materials promote green healthy lifestyles
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

Our vision is to facilitate reconciliation, through the essential values of cricket
RCSF
"The inspiration for the design comes from the green rolling hills of Rwanda and the trace of a bouncing cricket ball - Michael Ramage"

The people creating a pioneering cricket stadium that’s helping to heal wounds in Rwanda

Scheeren decided to leave OMA and establish his own practice in 2010. 
He now has offices in four major cities
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

features
Christoph Ingenhoven has championed sustainable architecture for more than 30 years. He is Super Jury member at this year’s World Architecture Festival
"At Lanserhof, you spend your money and it’s difficult and exhausting, but you feel as though you’re doing something very good for yourself and maybe also for others "

How Ingenhoven’s experience as a guest informed the design of the Lanserhof medical spas

Mikyoung Kim created a sculptural fog fountain for Chapel Hill
Mikyoung Kim
"Nature isn’t rigid. It’s open-ended; that’s its beauty"

The Boston-based landscape architect on blending art and science to design creative spaces that bring communities closer

Jason McLennan: A love of nature
"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

cladkit product news
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
Siminetti unveils iridescent decorative panelling range inspired by plants
The Clematis design
Megan Whitby
The Botanicals is Siminetti’s newest Mother of Pearl decorative panelling collection, inspired by the distinctive patterns found in botany and ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
cladkit product news
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
Ojmar introduces battery-free electronic locker to cut carbon footprints in health clubs and spas
Ojmar says the batteryless lock is easy to install and features a user-friendly interface
Megan Whitby
Smart lock manufacturer Ojmar has released the OTS20 Batteryless – the first battery-free electronic locker lock on the market. The ...
CSI Design Expo Americas 2024 announces new Attractions & Entertainment Technology Zone
The event will allow buyers and suppliers to meet
Magali Robathan
Cruise Ship Interiors (CSI) invites cruise lines, shipyards, design studios, outfitters, and suppliers to take part in CSI Design Expo ...
cladkit product news
Eco Resort Network conference to convene in Mauritius this May
The event will be hosted in the Mauritius in 2024
Megan Whitby
Hospitality industry event Eco Resort Network is set to take place at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel, Turtle Bay, Mauritius, from ...
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd