International co-working company WeWork has announced the signing of founding partner and creative director of BIG, Bjarke Ingels, as chief architect.
Ingels and his firm are already working on their first project with WeWork, transforming the flagship department store Lord & Taylor in New York into WeWork's headquarters.
WeWork purchased the landmark Fifth Avenue retail site in late 2017 for $1.1 billion.
“Bjarke caught my attention because he’s changing the way we think about architecture," said WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann in WeWork’s announcement.
“He will continue to lead BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, the architectural firm he founded in 2005 and will offer his insights and ideas to extend and help us push the boundaries of architecture, real estate, technology, and design at WeWork.”
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WeWork was founded in New York in 2010 and now operates 253 shared workspaces and office buildings in 21 countries. It leases globally over 15 million square feet in space.
“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,” Ingels said.
“WeWork’s commitment to community and culturally-driven development is perfectly aligned with our active, social and environmental agendas.
“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 neighbourhoods.”
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WeWork last month announced its fifth premises in Sydney at 64 York Street. In Melbourne, it has locations at 401 Collins Street and 152 Elizabeth Street. The company has also flagged a possible location for Brisbane.
Bjarke Ingels Group has been shortlisted to design Beulah International’s landmark Melbourne project on the BMW Southbank site. Malaysian-backed Beulah International secured the BMW Southbank site for $101,008,888 last December. BIG are partnering with Australian firm Fender Katsalidis Architects on their design for the prominent 6000 square metre site. The mixed-use site will have an end value of about $2 billion.
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Bjarke Ingels Group and WeWork are collaborating on a new type of school for young children, “WeGrow”, which is under the direction of Neumann’s wife Rebekah – WeWork’s founding partner and chief brand officer.