Today, co-working giant WeWork announced that globally renowned architect Bjarke Ingels will join the company as chief architect. Ingels will advise WeWork on their vision and design language for buildings, campuses, and neighborhoods, all while maintaining his role as founding partner and creative director at BIG–Bjarke Ingels Group.
Since founding his eponymous firm in 2005, Bjarke Ingels has been widely celebrated for his creative yet practical approach to architecture and design. One recent commission is a waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen that boasts a sky slope, hiking trail, and the world’s largest climbing wall, making formerly off-limits industrial architecture accessible—and attractive—to the public. And the Big U, an in-progress protective system that hugs ten continuous miles of lower Manhattan’s coastline, will shield the island from floods and storm surges. It's a solution that offers much-needed resiliency following devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy in late 2012.
Such innovative ideas may explain why WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann tapped Ingels, a collaborator since 2015, for the newly created role. The company has recently reported staggering growth and ambitious expansion plans. “We will work with Bjarke alongside urban planners, mayors, and other business and community leaders around the world to develop and ultimately offer a vision for the future that uplifts, inspires, and connects people,” says Neumann. Ingels will also lend his design expertise to reimagine New York’s historic Lord & Taylor Building, in which WeWork will establish its global headquarters in late 2018.
“WeWork was founded at the exact same time as when I arrived in New York,” says Ingels. “In that short amount of time—the blink of an eye at the time scale of architecture—they have accomplished incredible things and they are committed to continuing their trajectory to places we can only imagine. I’m very excited to extend their community-oriented vision to ground-up buildings and urban neighborhoods.”
Bjarke's new position as WeWork's chief architect is effective immediately.