TED Talk Tuesday: Hedonistic Sustainability

Bjarke Ingels’ architecture is luxurious and community-driven. In this talk, Hedonistic Sustainability, he shows us his playful designs. From a factory chimney that blows smoke rings to a ski slope built atop a waste processing plant. Soon after this TED talk it was decided to drop the project. It was estimated that the huge investment would lock the facility into burning more waste. Using soon-obsolete technology for the next 30 years, it would make it hard to reach the goals of reducing CO2 emission. That counters the very title of the TED Talk, as it is not as sustainable as it is clever.


Danish politicians have decided to focus on smaller and more gradual investment in the waste plant and focus more on reaching same recycling standards as neighboring countries Germany and Sweden. Nonetheless, Bjarke Ingels presents powerful and inspiring ideas that are worth listening to.

Bjarke Ingels is principal of BIG, based in Copenhagen. An alumnus of Rem Koolhaas’ OMA practice, Ingels takes a similar approach: experimenting with pure space, but never losing sight of the building as a solution to a real-world problem. His manifesto “Yes Is More” takes the form of a giant cartoon strip, 130 meters long, that reminds people to keep thinking big — to see all our modern problems as challenges that inspire us. (The manifesto is now available in comic-book form.)

His deeply-thought-out and often rather large works — including several skyscrapers and mixed-use projects in a developing section of Copenhagen, plus a project for a new commercial harbor-island —  work to bring coherence to the urban fabric and to help their occupants and users lead better lives. His most famous works include: the Stavanger Concert House, Tallinn’s city hall and the VM Houses. He recently won a competition to design Copenhagen’s waste-to-energy plant with a design that will place a ski slope on top of the structure.


Stay up to date on PJHM News! Follow us on FACEBOOKTWITTER, and GOOGLE+!