"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bjarke Ingels: 3 warp-speed architecture tales for the sustainability age

Well, dang and halleluja! Every time I think I've run out of steam and life is about to get boring, some wonderful new thing pops up (or at least, new to me). Here's my latest. This afternoon I was having serial nap attacks so I started channel surfing and happened upon some great architecture documentaries on Ovation channel. The last, and best, was about this guy and it woke me right up and sent me to the Internet to find out more, and I found this wonderful TED talk from last fall. (The Ovation documentary on Bjarke Ingels will be rerun next Saturday and Sunday, May 1 and 2.) In the Wiki article (just referenced) he describes his work as "A pragmatic utopian architecture that takes on the creation of socially, economically and environmentally perfect places as a practical objective." The creativity is awesome.

Where have I been? I need to go back to following architecture and landscape architecture again. Actually, looking at the dates here, I see that Ingels burst upon the scene while I was remodelling the house, and was hitting it big internationally as I moved here and was focused on local life. I'm in love. This time it's for real. In case you've been living in a cave like me and hadn't heard of Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG, here is a little bit about his work. (Or if this is old hat to you, maybe you need to see this again to get re-inspired about what humans can do besides destroy everything they touch. That is, if, like me, you're inclined to see that side of the coin altogether too much.)

This looks to me how humans should be living now everywhere. And on Mars too, when we get there! The thing is, if the species is doomed to living in a technological jungle and leave the natural world behind (though this is debatable, and probably adjustable once some reasonable parameters have been determined, most people obviously do have this inclination and don't fight it) then we need to bend that talent to better use, and build self sustaining habitats. Thus we'd live the same here, on an asteroid, on Mars, or anywhere else - sustainably. And the minority who are capable of relating in a reasonable and non-exploiting manner to the rest of nature can be free to do so without the hassle of yahoos on snowmobiles or jetskis or whatever. They can do their thing in the urban environment, in yahoo parks, right?

I love this guy and what he's doing. He understands that "sustainable" doesn't mean limited, it means opening up a whole new toybox! I'd love to do a mini version of some of what he's doing right here. In fact, I'd already been envisioning it, and writing about it, for some projects in the community where I live, but failed to succeed in getting my vision across to enough of the others living here to get anything off the ground. (Again, the problem of opening people's eyes to these possibilities. My own situation is the world's in microcosm. But now I'm sounding like one of the outdated rebel architects he refers to.) Maybe if I can get them all to watch this TED talk they'd get it. He'd provide the necessary charisma.

And for a follow-up treat, here's a trailer for a documentary about freerunning and how Ingels is working with urban freerunners! I'd forgotten about this sport; it reminds me of how Kim Stanley Robinson writes about sports (I'm thinking of the outlaw golf game - was it frisbee golf? something, anyway, you don't normally do in the woods while running full speed - in Rock Creek Park, In Fifty Degrees Below, and then there's the extreme sports kid on Mars in one of the Mars books he wrote - oh, and the ice diving game in Antarctica; I'm too beat up to do anything like this now, but time was when I enjoyed a bit of bushwhacking, and my brain remembers the fun it was to run free like that; this is the urban  variety). It's called My Playground: A Film about Movement in Urban Space. It came out last year, apparently, but Netflix doesn't have it. Nor does Amazon, apparently. Maybe the library? Will check now... Above, screencap from the trailer. See the freerunner? Below - yay, I found it on Vimeo. Enjoy!


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