Adam Neumann and Bjarke Ingels
Courtesy Alexei Hay Adam Neumann and Bjarke Ingels

WeWork has appointed Bjarke Ingels as its first chief architect. Ingels, founding partner and creative director at his eponymous firm, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), will advise the multi-billion-dollar co-working and office-space company on its "vision and design language for buildings, campuses, and neighborhoods," according to a press announcement by WeWork.

In that announcement, WeWork CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann states, "Bjarke caught my attention because he’s changing the way we think about architecture. His designs inspire as much as they surprise. ... As WeWork’s Chief Architect, Bjarke Ingels will help us reimagine and reshape the future of our spaces, our company, and ultimately our cities.”

Ingels adds, in the same announcement, "WeWork was founded at the exact same time as when I arrived in 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. ... 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."

In a blog post on WeWork's website, Neumann offers more details on Ingels' role in the near- and far-term: "We will be working with Bjarke 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. More immediately, Bjarke and BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group will help us reimagine the historic Lord & Taylor building. 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."

Last October, WeWork announced its purchase of the flagship Lord & Taylor store on Fifth Avenue and West 39th Street, in Manhattan. The company plans to renovate the 679,000-square-foot building, which will retain the Lord & Taylor storefront but as a smaller enterprise, and create WeWork's new headquarters as well as WeWork office space.

Projects by BIG range in scale and typologies, from installations to commercial and multifamily residential buildings, and to entire swaths of cities. Recent projects include the Lego House, in Billund, Denmark; the Waterfall, in Copenhagen, Denmark (designed with COBE); and the ongoing East Side Coastal Resiliency project, initially dubbed as the Big U, in New York.

Courtesy COBE and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) The Waterfall, in Copenhagen, Denmark