BIG is an international architectural firm whose designs are programmatically and technically innovative as they are cost and resource conscious.
In our architectural production, we demonstrate a high sensitivity to the particular demands of site context and programme. Our designs relate to human scale, are identifiable and memorable, and offer a visual richness. Outdoor green space is critical in our designs for encouraging physical activity. BIG’s health promoting projects include Helsingør Psychiatric Hospital (2006); Gammel Hellerup Multi-purpose Hall (2013); Copenhagen’s Harbour Bath (2003) and latest the first-phase winning proposal in the competition for the New North Zealand Hospital in Denmark (2014).
We work with sustainable building certifications such as LEED, Green Mark, Minergie, German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), BREEAM and Passive House Standards. Our sustainability strategy, however, does not stop with the many different globally used certification systems but delves into a deeper understanding of how we create and then use the energy we need in our lives. Our strategies always look at the ongoing life cycle value by reducing material, money, and time dedicated to maintenance.
We have extensive experience in leading workshops and conducting user surveys. By considering all input, we come to the crux of the problem. To achieve the best discussions and the most precise communication, we work simultaneously with drawings, physical models and computer visualization. By illustrating, what we hear and think we become more involved in the process and gain a greater awareness of the direction the project is moving in. The aim is to turn vague feelings or intuitions into precise tools and benchmarks for future development.
Buildings are never stand-alone entities. Instead, they are part of a larger network, a campus tied together by rich public spaces and the complex urban context. The vast majority of BIG’s projects have a large public space component, which has meant that they play a transformative role in the cities where they are located. For example, Superkilen an urban park (completed in 2013) designed around the idea of collaborative curation. In the mile-long space, three distinct parks plays host to 108 objects curated by local residents from around the world.
Accessibility, security and human psyche were focus areas when BIG designed the Psychiatric Hospital in Helsingør, completed in 2006. In our design research, we not only made intensive analysis of the program and user needs, we also interviewed the daily users of the clinic. The different input from the interviews pointed out several paradoxes and ambiguities that we brought into the project by transforming them into conflicting qualities of the program - to be AND not to be a psychiatric hospital. A psychiatric hospital requires a clear, centralized functionality. At the same time it needs to look and feel like anything but a hospital. The snowflake structure lets all departments radiate in separate directions from a central node, leaving informal spaces within and around them. The 6,000 m2 was conceived for a budget of €10.3 mill.
BIGs proposal for the 128,000 m2 and € 510 mill hospital, New North Zealand Hospital, draws on the best of Danish hospital buildings and landscape art combined with international experience and evidence-based design solutions. We designed the hospital with the patient as the focus and starting point - a hospital designed from the inside out. The design consists of eight interlocking composed rounded rectangles that vary in height to create access to green surfaces. As a result, each patient room has a relationship either to an internal landscaped courtyard or to the surrounding woodland. Instead of creating linear circulation corridors, the hospital is built up around a central node that allows access to all the departments. To optimize the flows, the ground floor is free from bed transportation making the foyer a welcoming public space. The result is a modern, healing, sustainable and flexible hospital design.
The 7,800 m2 building serves as a framework for the exhibitions, events, workshops, conferences, visitors and staff in the future Cité du Corps Humain. The building is flexible in its concept in order to be able to follow the evolution of the program and through its architectural language reflect on the human body to archive a complete holistic experience. The roofscape of the Museum of the Human Body is conceived as an ergonomically garden, a dynamic landscape of vegetal and mineral surfaces that allow the parks visitors to explore and express their bodies in various ways—from contemplation to the performance, relaxation to exercise, soothing to challenging. The building will respond to the highest standards concerning sustainability and technical performance thus these levels are achieved through the conception of the building and its nature, naturally integrating elements with little technical complexity and maintenance needed. The museum opens in 2018.