November 6, 2007
LEGO Copenhagen: Architecture for the Danish Welfare State
The other day I was trying to pass some pedestrians near Kenmare Street when I accidentally catapulted myself through the pivoting doors of the Storefront for Art and Architecture. Once landed, I spent a long time looking at the current exhibit, The Copenhagen Experiments: 5 New Architectural Species from the Danish Welfare State. These projects by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), all at different stages of the planning and construction process, address how to build contemporary Denmark through a social consensus rather than imposing some god-like architectural solution from the drafting boards on high. The challenge, as I understand it, is to stimulate the many voices of Denmark into articulating an ever-evolving dialectic of better and better taste. Or something like that.
The project, LEGO: Modular Mania, a mixed use high-rise development that serves as a paean to modular construction itself, is sure to delight the juvenile builder in all of us. The project calls attention to the fact that contemporary Danish building practices rely on prefabricated forms and concrete, and so, according to the witty and informative text that accompanies the exhibit, "Contemporary Denmark has become a country entirely made from LEGO bricks."
Based on these projects and the playful and thoughtful risk-taking behind them, I'd like to see developers invite BIG to New York and take on some monumental tasks here. The exhibit continues through November 24. Storefront for Art and Architecture, 97 Kenmare Street. NY, NY.