Two of our team members, Sheldon Eaton and Alyssa Miller, recently heard Bjarke Ingles speak at a City Arts & Lectures event. Founder of BIG, Bjarke is known for combining the practical with the fantastical.

In addition to Bjarke’s comments on his most famous and current works throughout the globe, his explanation for the success of an architect’s work really stood out to Sheldon. Bjarke mentioned that a successful building is like a portrait. A portrait relies on the painter’s skill and interpretation of the subject, as well as the intrigue of the subject itself. Similarly, the strength of an architect’s work does not rely solely on the skill and experience of the architect: clients play a large role. The ability for the Architect to listen to the client’s needs and desires, represent those visions in the design phase, and manage the project so they are built into the completed work is crucial to success.

Alyssa was inspired by the story of how BIG began small–in Ingles’ tiny 400 square meter apartment. Through creativity, determination and good fortune it evolved into the prominent international firm it is today. Bjarke was working for Rem Koolhaas when he and a friend left to develop their videography project. Ironically, this project won them three architecture competition commissions, which funded further work and led to breakthroughs with developers. This courage to take a leap of faith to pursue their dream was the start of the chain reaction of growth and success that’s made BIG what it is today.

To hear the entire conversation with Bjarke, which will first air November 20th, check your local public radio affiliate. Most City Arts & Lectures programs can be heard in edited and delayed broadcasts in the San Francisco Bay Area on KQED-FM (88.5) on Sundays at 1 pm, Tuesday evenings at 8 pm, and Wednesday mornings at 2 am.

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