'Starchitect' Bjarke Ingels changing the face of New York City

Thursday, November 30, 2017
'Starchitect' Bjarke Ingels changing the face of New York City
Sandy Kenyon has the latest on the architect's new documentary.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Bjarke Ingels is the man behind some of New York's most iconic new buildings, now, he is the subject of a new documentary.

As a visionary who is changing the face of the Big Apple, Ingels has been called a "STARchitect." And it doesn't hurt he has the charisma of a movie star and the charm of a born diplomat. His truth is contained in the title of the new documentary, called "Big Time."

He's hit the heights at the age of 43, years before most architects are so well known.

"We want to give the world something the world has not yet seen," he says in the film. "And therefore doesn't fit in to any of the boxes."

Originally from Denmark, he's now reshaping the skyline of our city, and the stakes are as high as some of his designs.

"New York is like a gigantic loudspeaker," he said at the headquarters of BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group). "If you have something to say, and you say it in New York, then the whole world can hear it."

His first completed building is a unique, pyramid shaped apartment building called VIA 57 West overlooking the Hudson River on West 57th street. His design features a European courtyard within a Manhattan skyscraper.

"(It's) the architectural equivalent of surf and turf at a restaurant," he said. "Two things that you can't imagine combined, and then you combine them in the most unlikely way, and something magical happens."

Magic is also happening in Harlem and in the Bronx, where Bjarke has designed a new station house for the 40th Precinct in the Melrose section. In Lower Manhattan, "The Big U" is a massive project designed to prevent future flooding while making the surrounding area more enjoyable for residents.

Bjarke has been seeking input from the community, but his favorite comment concerns his plans for Two World Trade Center at Ground Zero.

"I got a letter from a relative of a firefighter who gave his life at 9/11," he said. "He saw in our design this kind of staircase to heaven, an ascension to heaven of the innocent souls that died in 9/11."

His goal is "to see abstract ideas become concrete reality," because he yearns to "make the ordinary, extraordinary."

"Big Time" is showing on the big screen at Landmark Cinemas, located in that pyramid he designed at 657 West 57th Street in Manhattan.