Is Bjarke Ingels Architecture's Sarah Palin?

Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of hot architecture firm BIG, is a media savvy populist who's scorned by the establishment, yet adept at "bringing his message directly to the people". Justin Fowler dissects his strategy for success.

"Few architects working today attract as much public acclaim and disciplinary head-scratching as Bjarke Ingels," observes Fowler. "While his practice is often branded by the architectural establishment as naïve and opportunistic, such criticism is too quick to conflate Ingels’s outwardly optimistic persona with the brash formal agenda it enables."

"Bred as an insider (first at OMA, and then at Columbia and Harvard), he has since 'gone rogue' by positioning himself outside of the elitist currents that make up avant-garde practice. The message is that Ingels is of the people and therefore his work has the people’s best interest at heart."

"Much of Ingels’s work assumes this character of assertion," continues Fowler. "His self-described 'pragmatic utopian' brand of the performative is, in fact, its own kind of Tea Party Express—that undeniably revolutionary platform that somehow manages to reconcile such outwardly incommensurable positions as tax reduction and increased military spending into one loud, populist leviathan. It remains to be seen whether Ingels’s desire to have his cake and eat it too, or 'BIGamy,' [6] is more closely related to the Tea Party’s brand of cognitive dissonance or some imagined urban win-win scenario brought to bear through sheer force of will. But, then again, does it even matter so long as the strategy pays off?"

Full Story: The Prince: Bjarke Ingels’s Social Conspiracy


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