Back in February, it was revealed that the world-dominating Danish architecture firm headed by ethereally coiffed artificial ski slope enthusiast and sustainable hedonist, Bjarke Ingels, had been selected to co-design LEGO House, an “experience center” in the construction toy's ancestral home of Billund, Denmark, that’s due to break ground in early 2014 and open to public in 2016.
Naturally, there was a whole of oohing and ahhing over the involvement of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in the not-quite-a-museum project described by billionaire plastic brick honcho Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen as being “a place where people can enjoy active fun but at the same time it will be an educational and inspirational experience — everything that LEGO play offers.”
But mostly, the selection of BIG (along with the museum specialists at American firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates) to design LEGO House was met with non-surprise. But of course Bjarke Ingels, reigning king of hyperbolic — yet oh-so-playful — architecture, is involved with the creation of an institution that celebrates his native country’s most cherished export while attracting an anticipated quarter of a million LEGO lovers from across the globe annually.
As for Ingels himself, the commission is a match made in heaven:
It is one of our great dreams at BIG that we are now able to design a building for and with the LEGO Group. I owe a huge personal debt to the LEGO brick, and I can see in my nephews that its role in developing the child as a creative, thinking, imaginative human being becomes ever stronger in a world in which creativity and innovation are key elements in virtually all aspects of society.
And naturally, the initial renderings of BIG’s vision for LEGO House, released late last week, is an appropriately blocky affair. And that’s just what the folks at LEGO wanted. Exclaims LEGO House marketing head Hans Peter Folmann:
Architect firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has designed a building that encapsulates what LEGO play and LEGO values are all about. The creative use of the LEGO brick shape is a true visualization of the systematic creativity that is at the core of LEGO play, so we believe that this is the right look for the LEGO House. And it simply looks amazing.
It is our wish that the LEGO House is used by both visitors and the citizens of Billund; the birthplace and hometown of the LEGO Group. For this reason a large part of the building – 1,900 square meters - will be a covered square with free access for the public, and we hope it will be a natural gathering point for people living in Billund as well as visitors. We do not know what specific activities will be in the house.
Clocking in at a total of about 75,000 square feet, the 98-foot-tall structure will include exhibition areas, cafés, a store, and the aforementioned public square. There will also be rooftop public gardens, a touch that’s pure Ingels (8-Tallet, a BIG-designed eco-village outside of Copenhagen won the 2010 Scandinavian Green Roof Award and most Ingels projects incorporate vegetative roofs and/or an ample amount of public green space).
Wired takes a stab at describing BIG’s palace o' LEGO:
Ingels avoided the obvious design motifs in his proposal and instead offered a structure as minimal and modern as any contemporary art museum. Multi-colored bricks are used as accents, but Ingels instead tried to infuse the building’s structure with the interactivity Lego is known for. The Lego House features a series of terraces, equal parts Lego and Q*bert, that allow children to climb to the top of the building and experience the landscape from an entirely different perspective. A 1,900-square-meter covered courtyard is open to the public and free play. There will also be copious opportunities for kids of all ages to stack a nearly limitless number of bricks. Unlike other themed destinations, the Lego House encourages creativity over media tie-ins.
AFOL (Adult Fans of LEGO)-ites: Any initial thoughts on BIG's design for LEGO House? The work of Ingels can no doubt be polarizing but it would seem that his firm truly aimed to please with this one.
Via [Wired], [Gizmodo]