Bjarke Ingels has a habit of recounting the final moments of his architectural forebears, for anyone who can stomach them: Antoni Gaudí struck by a trolley on his way to church in Barcelona, Le Corbusier drowned in the Mediterranean. Of particular interest to the Danish-born architect, whose unwavering grin has a way of putting a bow on the macabre, are those ends met in his adopted hometown of New York City: Louis Kahn, newly returned from India, suffering a heart attack in the men’s room at Penn Station; Stanford White shot by the jealous husband of his former lover on the roof of the second of four incarnations of Madison Square Garden, which he happened to design. “The history of New York is so much about perpetual rebirth,” Ingels explains. We are sitting in a pair of neon wool chairs in the otherwise rather underadorned offices of the Bjarke Ingels Group—known far and wide as BIG—which in 2015 moved its American headquarters near Wall Street.
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