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WeWork confirms under-fire Bjarke Ingels is no longer chief architect

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Bjarke Ingels is no longer employed as chief architect for WeWork, the shared office space giant has revealed amid mounting criticism of the Danish architect

Earlier this month Ingels caused a Twitter storm when he was pictured with far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro after travelling to the country ‘to gather background information’ for a tourism masterplan he is drawing up for an area in north-east Brazil.

Bolsonaro has previously denied climate change exists, said he is pro-torture, said he would rather have a dead son than a gay son, and told a female representative in congress: ‘I’m not going to rape you because you’re very ugly’.

Ingels responded to criticism by saying that ‘creating a list of countries or companies that BIG should shy away from working with seems to be an oversimplification of a complex world’.

But on the same day as Ingels issued this statement WeWork – which has a mission statement to ‘raise the world’s consciousness’ – confirmed to the AJ it no longer employed the superstar architect.

The trendy co-working company declined to give details about why and when Ingels had left, but said it continued to work with BIG ‘on a project basis’.

WeWork was valued at around $20 billion when co-founder Adam Neumann announced Ingels’ hire with a blog post and a black-and-white picture of the duo crouching on a half-built building.

However, the company has since posted a $1.9 billion loss from a $1.8 billion revenue in 2018, and apparent cash flow problems later in 2019 prompted Neumann’s exit and a collapse in the firm’s valuation.

Emergency cost-cutting measures taken in autumn last year involved several redundancies for architects employed by WeWork – especially in the United States, the AJ understands.

BIG did not respond to a request to comment.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • How fortunate he is, for at least he has some chance of getting money out of the failing company.

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