Bjarke Ingles Group Plans a Ski Slope Atop a Waste Incinerator in Copenhagen
Copenhagen architectural practice, Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG), recently unveiled a winning design for "Amagerforbraending," a waste-to-energy plant that also doubles as a ski slope and recreation center. Waste-to-energy (WtE) plants create energy in the form of electricity or heat from the incineration of waste (more on that here).
This new plant will be on the outskirts of Copenhagen, dividing the local area in two. Factories on one side and housing on the other, Amagergorbraending will exist between Copenhagen and the town of Amager. BIG wants to "tie all of these opposing forces together, forming an identity for a new place in Copenhagen." Their intention is to combine form and function, which can be seen by their claim: "We want to do more than just create a beautiful skin around the [plant]." According to them, beauty and functionality do not have to be mutually exclusive.
BIG proposes a new kind of WtE plant, "one that is economically, environmentally, and socially profitable." Most interestingly (and perhaps ironically), they intend to turn the roof of the plant into a ski slope of all things. The design of the plant is similar to that of a mountain, which is where the form meets function. They have a "hedonistic sustainability" philosophy, whereby sustainability isn't a burden, rather an improvement to the quality of life.
The year-round ski slope is designed by Topotek 1 and Man Made Land. Access to the slope will be by elevator, complete with a glass wall so skiers can check out the internal workings of the waste plant on their ascent. The innards of a waste plant isn't exactly the view of Copenhagen you'd expect on a ski trip. Nonetheless, with more than 1500m of ski run and terrain park, three slopes of different gradients will be available to accomodate skiers with a broad range of abilities.
BIG also wants to make a statement. While WtE is more efficient than a traditional incinerator, the plant will still release some CO2 emissions. However, they want to show the public just what CO2 really looks like. They propose a modification to the smoke stack that will make it so rings of smoke are puffed out whenever 1 ton of fossil fuel is released. According to the group, "These will serve a communicative function as a gentle reminder of the impact of consumption." I wonder how that ski enthusiasts will like that little treat.