BIG Launches New Engineering Division

BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group has further strengthened its in-house capabilities by hiring Duncan Horswill—former CCO at Søren Jensen Engineers—to lead BIG Engineering, a new specialized unit dedicated to ensuring the structural, mechanical integrity and resilience of BIG buildings globally.

Newly minted BIG ENGINEERING is currently working on a wide range of projects, including the new NOMA restaurant in Copenhagen and the Faroe Islands Education Centre. BIG will continue to collaborate with external engineering firms, including long-time collaborators AKT, ARUP, DeSimone, Thornton Tomasetti, BuroHappold, Schlaich Bergermann Partner, Bollinger + Grohmann, Ramboll, MKA among many others.

“At BIG we practice knowledge-driven design. We have been fortunate to work with some of the best urbanists, landscapers, sociologists, artists and engineers in the world, and will continue to do so. To be able to stretch the boundaries of the physical, financial, regulatory and environmental limits of design, we need to surround ourselves with the best experts in the fields outside our own expertise in architecture, and bring them in-house. As we started onboarding our own engineers, we have learned how much more impactful our design thinking can be when the expertise resides internally. Having engineers join our group of architects, product designers and landscape architects is the inevitable next step towards providing the silo-shattering interdisciplinary design innovation that we want to bring to the world.” Bjarke Ingels, Founder, BIG.

Duncan Horswill joins us as Director of BIG Engineering. Duncan was previously CCO at the Copenhagen-based office of Søren Jensen Engineers, where he led the Competitions Team to win a number of high-profile projects in Denmark and overseas. Prior to, Duncan co-founded the Computational Design Group at Ramboll UK, where he spearheaded a group of engineers and designers’ common ambition to explore how digital technology might resolve structural engineering and architectural design challenges. Duncan’s approach to engineering focuses on integrating technical knowledge into the architectural design process from day one, to co-create building concepts and elevate them to a new level. He advocates using a wide range of tools from analog sketching and physical modelling to high-tech computational design and digital fabrication. Notable projects include BIG’s Astana National Library and Tallinn Town Hall. Duncan will be responsible for building BIG Engineering’s capabilities across the firm and ensuring the highest level of creative engagement and technical excellence.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to work once again with BIG at the highest level of design. Over the past 19 years I have enjoyed working on some of the world’s most ambitious developments and projects for a range of architects and clients. I am now looking forward to breaking down the traditional barriers that have existed between architects and engineers, and to helping redefine the role of the engineer, not as a problem solver but as a genuine creative force who’s aim is to explore, not to reduce.” Duncan Horswill, Head of BIG Engineering.

While engineering has always been a vital part of the design process, BIG has more recently developed technical skills with the establishment of BIG Ideas. This specialist group works closely with architects and in-house disciplines in industrial design, workplace consultancy and materials research to bring wide-ranging expertise to every project.

“Having realized more complex and unprecedented design concepts in the past few years, we have learned that we can be in a better position to save our clients time and money when we have a BIG Engineering team capable of predicting and resolving challenges ahead of time. BIG Engineering will focus on securing the integrity of each project’s design concepts by bringing the structural and mechanical elements into every aspect of the design gestation.” Sheela Maini Sogaard, CEO & Partner, BIG.

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