BIG’s commitment to pushing boundaries is unrivalled. Taking an unshackled approach to the past and putting human experience at the centre of every creation, BIG’s view is that future cities are going to be a lot more about how we live and work together.
“We all inherit our way of life from previous generations,” says Kai who points out that many of the houses and apartments we live in represent the way people lived 50 to 100 years ago. BIG believes in designing for the future by being sustainable and creating flexible spaces that are malleable enough to adapt to the needs of future generations, as well as the current ones.
One question BIG often asks itself is how to create environments that are equitable and at the same time generous for people. “We can all see that more and more people are moving towards cities,” explains Kai. “A few years ago, it was 50% of the world’s population, by 2050 it will be around 70%.”
This kind of generosity is evident in one of BIG’s current projects, the Dryline (also known as the BIG U) in New York. An increased number of weather events means the design of waterfront areas is regularly being put to the test. BIG was tasked to come up with a solution that would provide flood protection for Manhattan’s waterfront areas, without segregating the city from the surrounding sea.
Inspired by the High Line in New York, BIG designed a protective sea structure that would enhance the liveability for residents. Co-designed with people in the local areas, the Dryline incorporates seating pavilions, art walls and cycle paths.
Dryline cycle path (credit: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group)