BIG is an architecture firm based in and practicing mainly in Copenhagen that has been churning out some pretty innovative ideas. One of our favorites is their VM Bjerget (VM stands for Vestamager, the neighborhood in which it’s located, and bjerget means “mountain”). This apartment complex doesn’t hide its parking structure underground or behind an ugly façade. Instead, the garage rises up several stories, shrouded in perforated metal which, when you stand back, forms the image of a mountain range. The apartments sit on top of the stepped structure, giving each its own terrace.
But BIG wasn’t satisfied just making the outside of the building attractive. The metal façade hides a surprising and innovative interior. The hallways on each floor leading to the apartments have walls of windows looking down into the parking, and each is painted a different color. From inside the garage, these hallways form a rainbow of light overhead. The walls of the garage have murals stained into them, and even the traffic markings on the floor are different from anything we’ve seen before.
Another of BIG’s recent projects is a tower designed for a site near the center of Copenhagen. The city is known for its extensive network of pedestrian public spaces, and BIG used this to their advantage. They tempered the possible negative reaction of having a building taller than its surroundings by incorporating a public space that climbs up the façade of the building.
The building starts out as a giant stairway rising out of the ground, leading up to the various facilities in the building—a store, a library, a hotel—gradually twisting and getting steeper. Eventually the stairs gracefully turn into a vertical tower rising out of the public plaza they’ve created.
BIG also has an extremely informative website. Make sure to check it out and watch the animations explaining how they come up with the inventive forms of their buildings.