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Bjarke Ingels joins WeWork as Chief Architect

Denmark - May 14, 2018 - 02:49   2145 views

Global co-working company WeWork has appointed Danish architect and BIG Founder Bjarke Ingels as Chief Architect of the firm, the announcement come from WeWork's co-founder Adam Neumann with a blog post on May 8, 2018.

In his new role, Bjarke "will offer his insights and ideas to extend and help the company push the boundaries of architecture, real estate, technology, and design at WeWork," said Adam Neumann. Bjarke will also continue to lead BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, the architecture firm he founded in 2005, as Neumann emphasized.

"Everything we do at WeWork should be done with intent and meaning for maximum impact. This starts with every space for every member and scales to every building in every city," said Neumann.

"In 2018, we want to have an impact on the buildings we occupy. In 2019, it will be the neighborhoods WeWork is part of, and by 2020, the cities we live in."

Neumann also explained that they will be working with Bjarke in detail alongside urban planners, mayors, and other business and community leaders around the world to develop and ultimately offer a vision for the future that uplifts, inspires, and connects people around the world.

During this collaboration, BIG's team will help the company reimagine the historic Lord & Taylor building, situated on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, the will building will be transformed into WeWork's flagship. 

"WeWork was founded at the exact same time as when I had arrived to New York. In that short amount of time – the blink of an eye at the time scale of architecture – they have accomplished incredible things and they are committed to continuing their trajectory to places we can only imagine. WeWork’s commitment to community and culturally-driven development is perfectly aligned with our active, social and environmental agendas," said Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner and Creative Director, BIG.

As WeWork takes on larger and more holistic urban and architectural challenges, I am very excited to contribute with my insights and ideas to extend their community-oriented vision to ground-up buildings and urban neighborhoods. BIG and I are incredibly thrilled to take an advisory role in WeWork’s evolution as a company and as a design culture," added Ingels.

"We intend to honor the past and build towards the future by restoring the iconic space into the heartbeat of culture and commerce in New York City," added Neumann.

WeWork is already collaborating on a new project with Bjarke Ingels - called WeGrow, which was unveiled last year. WeWork's new concept is based on a new micro school, focusing on children's abilities and revaling their talents at early stages.  

"Bjarke and BIG have also been instrumental in designing WeGrow. Given their experience with projects like the Lego House, we will reimagine education and the learning environment for children to foster entrepreneurship and creativity," emphasised Neumann.

"When Miguel and I started WeWork eight years ago, we knew the world didn’t need another office building. It needed spaces where people could collaborate on projects, work, come together, and potentially change the world. With Bjarke’s help our vision is one step closer to a reality. We are excited to welcome Bjarke to the WeWork family."

WeWork, founded in 2010, run by three enterpreneurs Adam Neumann, Rebekah Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in New York - the company transforms buildings into beautiful, dynamic environment for creativity with a detailed focus and connection. 

BIG's porposal for WeGrow. Image © BIG

But, WeWork wants to grow in multiple locations and after this year's pilot program, the company will open its first official school next year in WeWork’s headquarters in Chelsea, Manhattan.

Financial model of the WeGrow school is not clear yet, but Adam Neumann and his wife Rebekah Neumann will privately fund the school at first. It can be understood that the school will start as for-profit enterprise but later it will be transformed into a non-profit model at some certain point, to nurture the development of WeWork in other fields. 

All images © Alexei Hay, unless otherwise stated

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