Inside the life of Bjarke Ingels, the architect transforming NYC's skyline

June 9, 2019
This article is featured in Summit Explorer, Summit's local newsletter.

Bjarke Ingels is a new father, long-time Summiter, science fiction-lover — and one of the greatest architects of all time. We spoke with Bjarke to learn what life in the present is like when you’re designing for the future.

Mastermind behind… the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), an international architecture firm headquartered in Dumbo.

BIG's office in Dumbo, Brooklyn

Recent project… is a waste-to-energy plant in Denmark that’s so clean, they’ve turned the roof into a public park and ski slope.

Born and raised… in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he owns a boat home.

Now lives… in Dumbo, which reminds him of a visually striking version of Copenhagen with its cobblestone streets, hodge-podge buildings, and waterfront.

Interesting reads… include Daemon by Daniel Suarez and Lifespan by David Sinclair (he has a preview copy, expected release is September 2019).

Spends the most time with... his 3-month-old son, who has already traveled to Spain, Denmark, Japan, Mexico, and the U.S.

His work is inspired by… science fiction, because design is about giving form to the future (the danish word for design literally translates to “form-giving”).

2 World Trade Center designed by Ingels
Via 57 West designed by Ingels, located in New York’s Midtown West. Photo credit: Pavel Bendov/ArchExplorer

Morning commute… is either a 2 minute walk or a flight across the Atlantic.

Can’t pass up... getting his shoes shined because it reminds him of an old-timey film.

Grabs a bite… at Gran Electrica for its incredible courtyard underneath the Brooklyn Bridge.

Favorite place to visit… is Japan for its ability to create coexisting worlds - you’ll find a 7/11 next to a small gate that leads to a 450-year-old Bonsai garden and tea room.

Starts his day… at 5am with his son before practicing The 5 Tibetan Rites (give it a go).

Loves Powder Mountain… because it feels like the Wild West.

A surreal moment… was during breakfast at Amazon’s MARS conference when giant robotic dragonflies began flying around.

Go-to neighborhood spot… is Usagi, a Japanese bookstore/gallery/cafe.

Everyone in NYC should… visit Dustin Yellin’s Pioneer Works for its beautiful warehouse and outdoor garden (check out our interview with Dustin here).

Thanks to Summit… he became friends and business partners with Sebastian Sas, owner of Nômade, during Summit at Sea (fun fact: Nômade is one of the hotel properties Summit takes over for Summit Tulum).

Future of design… for both architecture and technology is the coexistence of virtual and physical worlds (think driverless cars, robotics, the Internet of Things).

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