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Five Fun Facts about Magic Mountain Designer Bjarke Ingels

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Architect Bjarke Ingels is the man behind the magic pyramid planned for 625 West 57th Street?a building currently known as W57. Ingels earns a profile in this week's New Yorker, which includes one of our favorite descriptions yet of Hell's Kitchen's future magic mountain: "The form of W57 is what you might have if snow drifted steeply into the corner of a yard, and then you removed the yard." There are lots of other good tidbits in the article about earlier versions of W57 and other potential Bjarke Ingels projects in NYC, and because the full piece is available only to subscribers, we've excerpted a few of our favorite parts. Take a look:

5) On how architects play Rock, Paper, Scissors: "'There's an iconic image of
Nouvel smoking a cigar, so this was him,' he said, taking a hand o? the steering wheel to make a V, with two ?ngers. 'Toyo Ito, the Japanese architect, was doing ovals back then, all the time, so it was like an egg shape.' He made the shape with thumb and fore?nger. 'And then Rem Koolhaas'?the celebrated Dutch architect, who became Ingels's ?rst and only boss?'was "Fuck context!"' Ingels raised one ?nger. 'We all loved all three architects, but we all had our favorite. My favorite was obviously Rem Koolhaas. The system was that Rem Koolhaas was more brutal than Toyo Ito, and Toyo Ito was more poetic than Jean Nouvel, and Jean Nouvel was more...French than Rem Koolhaas.'"

4) "Durst invited Ingels to bring ideas about W57 to a meeting, in April, 2010. A BIG team presented a few ideas; one was a perimeter block with the appearance of having been assembled out of adjoining but separate buildings?a Hollywood mockup of Midtown."

3) "Even before opening BIG's New York office, Ingels had planned to spend a few months in the city to write a novel, a conspiracy thriller based on the fact that several illustrious modern architects had un-peaceful deaths: Le Corbusier (drowning), Antoni Gaudi (trolley-car accident), Louis Kahn (heart attack in a Penn Station men's room). He didn't write the book, but still intends to?perhaps, he said, with a protagonist named Bjarke Ingels, and with a final violent struggle on the sloping exterior of W57?.Ingels may call his novel 'The Big Plot.'"

2) On a studio class Ingels and developer Douglas Durst are currently teaching at Yale: "His students would be asked to incorporate real estate into new bridges. Half of them would design a new crossing where the Tappan Zee now stands; the other half would create a crossing, perhaps for pedestrians only, spanning the East River at Forty-second Street. (Ingels told me that Amanda Burden, the New York City planning commissioner, had encouraged him, in a recent conversation, to consider this location.)" Hints of BIG's next Manhattan project?

1) There are a few great BIG disses, too, including one from NYC architect and editor Kyle May: "Ingels offers little beyond the primary gesture: the twist, the slope. If you've seen the video accompanying the initial pitch, May argued, 'you know the building.' When he visited the 8 House, he looked in vain for the 'moments of discovery' that he is used to finding in masterworks. 'Look at what he's building these things out of: window wall, the same thing that condos in Williamsburg are made of?.I mean, he's been mentioned for the Pritzker!'"

· High Rise: A bold Danish architect charms his way to the top [New Yorker]
· Bjarke Ingels coverage [Curbed]

625 W 57th St

625 West 57th Street, Manhattan, NY 10019