The Daring
Diagonal
Virtual
Museum

A division of the Center
for the Study of Diagonality
in World Culture

Daring Diagonal Virtual Museum
VIA 57 West
VIA 57 West, New York
BIG, architect
2013
Executed by:
Date:

Bjarke Ingels is the founder and guiding light of the Danish design firm BIG. When you hear him speak, you know he is a man with a mission. Ingels is a deep and daring thinker not afraid to take risks. He spreads his inquiring mind like a wide net in order to draw in considerations about an architectural assignment that allow him to shape his buildings in a totally innovative manner. The firm, with offices in Denmark, London, and New York, has major projects all over the world. Although the diagonal motif is not used on every BIG project, it does appear with great frequency. It seems as though Ingels can see wherever the angled line makes sense and serves an architectural, social, environmental or aesthetic purpose.

The firm’s project VIA 57 West in NYC is emblematic of the firm’s affection for Diagonality. This housing project, as their website states, “combines the compactness and efficiency of a courtyard building with the airiness and the expansive views of a skyscraper.” Viewed from the West Side highway, the building spirals up 450 feet to its peak. In plan the building looks like a rectangular donut. Seen three dimensionally, it looks like its mass was sliced off at an angle with the sweeping cut of a giant Samurai sword. The sloping profile creates a transition in scale between nearby low-rise structures on one side and high-rise structures behind. The highly visible sloping roof creates an arresting and novel sight from near and far.

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