Architect Bjarke Ingels on Philosophy: Yes is More!

My current favorite architect is Bjarke Ingels. His firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has left an indelible mark on his homeland of Denmark, but his architecture is certainly not exclusive to that country, as he has already completed projects in at least four continents.

Why do I like Ingels so much, and yet despise so many other architects? Part of it has to do with his disregard for convention. Lots of architects (especially starchitects like Gehry, Hadid, Pei, et al. who can afford to reject clients) defy the convention of previous design concepts. Unlike other architects, Ingles isn’t designing monuments to his own ego – he is creating spaces that actually impact the lives of end users.

The main reason I think Ingels makes such an impact is because at the core of all his work is philosophy. And it is a philosophy that is influenced by both Charles Darwin and Friedrich Nietzche

Danish online magazine, Grasp, just published an article about the Bjarke Ingels Group manifesto called, Yes is More. Here is an excerpt:

The traditional image of the radical architect is the angry young man rebelling against the establishment. The avantgarde is defined from what it is against rather than what it is for.

This leads to an oedipal succession of contradictions where each generation says the opposite of the previous. And if your agenda is dependent on being the opposite of someone else’s – you are simply a follower in reverse.

He goes on to state:

Rather than revolution we are interested in evolution. Like Darwin describes creation as a process of excess and selection, we propose to let the forces of society, the multiple interests of everyone, decide which of our ideas can live, and which must die. Surviving ideas evolve through mutation and crossbreeding in to an entirely new species of architecture. Human life evolved through adaptation to changes in the natural environment. With the invention of architecture and technology we have seized the power to adapt our surroundings to the way we want to live, rather than the other way around. This is what makes it interesting to be an architect: as life evolves, our cities and our architecture need to evolve with it.

The stereotypical view, perhaps shaped too much by Ayn Rand, is that the architect is in constant conflict with everything. The architect is in conflict with the owner, the contractor, the rules of physics, the land itself – all in the name of ART!

In the philosophy that Ingels advocates, the architect embraces the conflict. It is inclusive, not exclusive. Differences are integrated and incorporated. It is not chained to a single idea. It is evolutionary more than revolutionary.

Moreover, it is a philosophy and approach to architecture that embraces all aspects of humanity, including the conflict.

As Ingels concludes, “Yes is More, Viva la Evolución!”

The full manifesto is presented in the form of a comic book (or graphic novel, if you prefer) that is available at Amazon:

Via Grasp

Image courtesy designboom magazine