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Formgiving by BIG Architects

post updated 14 February 2024

Giving form to the future

BIG releases the latest installment of its taschen trilogy:

Formgiving. An architectural future history

Formgiving BIG Architects book

Images by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

29 Nov 2020

Formgiving Book by BIG Architects

BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group’s third Taschen book, Formgiving. An Architectural Future History, takes readers on a chronological journey across time and space through a collection of exclusive essays, a selection of BIG projects from the last decade, planetary proposals, and a glimpse of Masterplanet.

BIG’s trilogy with Taschen began with the architectural graphic novel Yes is More, followed by a round-up of adaptive architecture in Hot to Cold, and now continues with Formgiving. An Architectural Future History. Rooted in the Danish word for “design”, “formgivning” literally means to give form to that which has not yet taken shape. In other words, to give form to the future.

The 700+ page catalogue debuts one year after its namesake exhibition opened to the public at the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen, which welcomed over 85,000 visitors. Formgiving also includes award-winning photography by Iwan Baan, Laurian Ghinitoiu, Rasmus Hjortshøj, and others, along with imagery of 20 LEGO master-builder models of BIG’s work.

Formgiving BIG Architects book

Presented in a logarithmic timeline, Formgiving spans from the dawn of time with the Big Bang and stretches into the distant future. Starting in the Past, the first chapters explore the built world through six evolutionary trajectories—“Making,” “Sensing,” “Sustaining,” “Thinking,” “Healing,” and “Moving”—to serve as markers for architects and designers to navigate time rather than just space, when mapping the future.

Formgiving BIG Architects book

“To feel that we have license to imagine a future different from today, all we have to do is look back ten years, a hundred years, a thousand years, to realize how radically different things were then than they are today. The same will be true if we can look ahead with the same clarity of vision. As we tackle the complexities of everyday life, these six evolutionary trajectories allow us to place a firm gaze on the horizon of time to prevent us from being derailed by the random distractions of today. Since we know from our past that our future is bound to be different from our present, rather than waiting for it to take shape on its own, we have the power to give it form.”
Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

Formgiving BIG Architects book

In the Present section, more than 65 projects document BIG’s global work through the eyes of its users, from the drawing board of the studio’s iterative process to construction sites and completed projects. Culture, climate, and landscape, as well as all the energies derived from the elements—the thermal mass of the ocean, the dynamics of currents, the energy and warmth of the sun, the power of the wind—are essential considerations within the design process.

The projects in this section represent specific fragments of the future, each revealing opportunities for architecture to go beyond the brief and give a gift to the world.

Bjarke Ingels continues: “With each project, we have the ability and power as Formgivers to go above and beyond what we have been asked to do and give the world a Gift that no one asked for – but now that it has been given – the world would be a lesser place without it and future generations will be better for it. By giving a Gift to the future with every project we do, each groundbreaking becomes a concrete step towards a world that is more like our dreams: Pragmatic Utopia.”

Formgiving BIG Architects book

As we look to the Future, it becomes essential for architects and designers to collaborate with scientists, biologists, politicians, entrepreneurs, and other experts to address the complexity of the challenges faced by the built environment. Formgiving shares insights into developments that reach five, ten, or fifty years into the future, and urges architects to navigate fields as diverse as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, urban metabolism, longevity, robotic enhancement, and interplanetary migration.

The last chapters reveal plans for habitats that support human life on the Moon and Mars, before returning to Earth with the first sample of BIG’s Masterplanet, a collective and crowd-sourced framework suggesting how planet Earth can reach the ultimate goal of 100 percent sustainable human presence. Formgiving provides the first drafts of what it would take to plan for climate action at the scale of the planet.

Formgiving BIG Architects book

Masterplanet aims to establish a master plan for achieving a carbon-neutral planet Earth, while addressing the fundamental challenges of energy, transport, industry, biodiversity, resources, pollution, water, food, and prosperous living conditions for a world with up to 10 billion inhabitants. The idea is to present and visualize in a tangible way, what it would actually take to achieve a fully sustainable human presence on planet Earth.” Andreas Klok Pedersen, Partner, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

Considering the collective effort necessary to sustain our planet in the future, Formgiving concludes with a remark from Bjarke Ingels on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on developing design solutions for our cities. The commentary on 2020 reflects on the changes that have taken place in BIG’s projects and the team’s workflows, as well as the promising response of a global community tackling an issue that affects us all, and how the same rigor can be applied to the climate crisis.

Formgiving. An Architectural Future History is available for purchase here.

Editor-in-Chief: Bjarke Ingels

Project Leader: Paula Madrid

Team: Andreas Klok Pedersen, Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Geetika Bhutani, Ipek Akin, Jesslyn Guntur, Morgan Day

BIG Architects

Previously on e-architect:

BIG Architects Books

21 Oct 2013
BIG Architects Monograph
BIG Architects Monograph

18 Sep 2012
BIG Architecture Book : RECENT PROJECT
image from BIG
BIG Architects Book

6 Jan 2011
Yes is More eBook
Yes is More Exhibition: BIG Architects Book
image from BIG
Yes is More BIG Architects Book

Bjarke Ingels Group

BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group Architects News

Architectural Design

European Architecture Walking Tours : city walks by e-architect

Architecture Design Books – chronological list of publications

Yes is More Exhibition, Arc en Rêve, Bordeaux, France
Yes is More Exhibition
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BIG Architects Exhibition

Modern Architecture Books

New Architecture Books
New Architecture Books
picture from architect

BIG Architects

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