If BIG architect Kai-Uwe Bergmann’s BEC Conference presentation shows anything, it’s that a lot can change in five years–the Danish firm’s work in particular. The first time I heard Kai-Uwe speak was in 2011. At the time, he said only about 10 percent of the projects they’d designed actually got built. Based on the presentation he gave this week in Las Vegas, that’s changed.

Bergmann showed a vast range of projects in an even more vast range of climates. The key for BIG is designing based on the specific location of the project. In other words, what they design for Miami is very different than what they might design for Vancouver.

Kai-Uwe Bergmann spoke recently during the GANA BEC Conference.
Kai-Uwe Bergmann spoke recently during the GANA BEC Conference.

One of the coolest things about Kai-Uwe is he’s actually a glass guy. He apprenticed as a glass blower under the great Dale Chihuly. I got the chance to ask him a few fast questions and decided to share them here; note that he added the words in () in the first question below.

  1. Best city for (blown) glass architecture? In the Americas it’s Seattle, in Europe it’s Venice, in the Middle East it’s Hebron, in Asia it’s Firozabad.
  2. I would love to see a glass that could: do more than Gorillas and Fibers.
  3. I wish the glass industry knew: that most frustrated architects wanted to grow up to be glaziers.
  4. Compared to other trades contract glaziers are: floaty, slumpy, with a dusting of a low-E coating yet very tempered.
  5. My architectural hero is … the inventor of LEGO.

As the mom of a 5-year old, I too, find the inventor of LEGOs heroic. I mean come on, it keeps my son busy for hours!

If you ever get a chance to hear one of Kai-Uwe’s presentations, drop everything and do it. You will leave with a whole new perspective on what’s possible when you think outside the box.