BIG TIME is look at Danish “starchitect” Bjarke Ingels, (following him for 7 years from 2009 to 2016) named “one of architecture’s biggest innovators” by The Wall Street Journal. In 2016, Time Magazine named him one of “The 100 Most influential People” on the planet.
The film opens with Bjarke in a cab in NYC. He is there to take on two high-profile projects that will change the Manhattan skyline, the VIA 57 West, a pyramid apartment complex with a courtyard inspired by Central Park. The other is Two World Trade Centre.
At one point in the documentary, a character, Mr. Sullivan praises the man to be one where creative juices are flowing and how people working with him are on a high exhilarating level. That feeling of exhilaration occasionally rubs off the film onto the audience as the audience witnesses the man’s work.
Often, Bjarke (as he is more affectionally called) stands in front of a table, white paper in front of him, holding a felt pen. He outlines his designs while speaking aloud articulating both the design and the philosophy behind it. These few segments are the best in the doc that show how the creative genius thinks and how the ideas flow. Bjarke is at the age of 40 with a lot of his successful work done between the age of 31 (when he started) and 40. Bjarke also says in the film that one should not wait but continually create and build, with the example given of past architects that have suddenly died. Louis Kahn died of a heart attack in a restroom at Manhattan’s Penn Station. Le Corbusier drowned while taking a swim in the Mediterranean Sea.
Antoni Gaudi was hit by a tram on his way to church in Barcelona.
It is within reason that Bjarke speaks this way. The film begins too with music accompanying weird patterns on the screen. It becomes apparent only later in the film what these patterns are. They are the patterns obtained from the MRA and MRI scans of Bjarke’s brain. Bjarke has what could be a small tumour which is discovered at the mid-point of the film. It gives him incredibly bad headaches preventing him from working any further.
Bjarke’s triumphs include Copenhagen’s Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant with a
ski slope on its roof and a chimney that emits “smoke” rings that are actually steam. Ingels is also the brain behind Vancouver House, set to open in 2018. He also talks about Sydney’s Opera House as the world’s greatest architecture design.
Director Schröder (RENT A FAMILY) also reveals Bjarke’s personal life thus making the doc more personal. Bjarke at 40 is finally finding his partner in life in the form of a Spanish lady who he intends to marry, by buying her a unique engagement ring.
The film ends with Bjarke and fiancee walking through the completed VIA 57 West complex, ending the doc on an appropriate high.