Waste-to-Energy Plant

by | 16. Jul 2012

Industrial | Project | Public/ leisure | Sustainable

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Located in an industrial area near the city center the new Waste-to-Energy plant will be an exemplary model in the field of waste management and energy production, as well as an architectural landmark in the cityscape of Copenhagen.


Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

The project is the single largest environmental initiative in Denmark replacing the adjacent 40 year old Amagerforbraending plant, integrating the latest technologies in waste treatment and environmental performance.

BIG’s proposal contributes to the city with something useful and beautiful. We see this creating a lot of opportunities and with this unique building, we can brand the Danish knowledge and technology to show the world our abilities within environmental and energy issues.
/ Ulla Röttger, Director Amagerforbraending

Instead of considering the new Amagerforbraending as an isolated architectural object, the building is conceived as a destination in itself and reflects the progressive vision for a new type of waste treatment facility.


Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group


Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group


Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

The roof of the new Amagerforbraending is turned into a 31.000 square meter ski slope of varying skill levels, mobilizing the architecture and redefining the relationship between the waste plant and the city by expanding the existing recreational activities in the surrounding area into a new breed of waste-to-energy plant.

The new plant is an example of what we at BIG call Hedonistic Sustainability – the idea that sustainability is not a burden, but that a sustainable city in fact can improve our quality of life. The Waste-to-Energy plant with a ski slope is the best example of a city and a building which is both ecologically, economically and socially sustainable.
/Bjarke Ingels Founder and Partner, BIG

Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group


Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group


Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group


Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels GroupSmoke storage begins.


Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels GroupSmoke ring released.


Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group


Image courtesy BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

The slope is ecological using a recycled synthetic granular, upending the convention of the energy intensive indoor ski resort. Access to the slopes is via an elevator along the plant’s smokestack providing views into the plant, giving glimpses of its internal workings finally reaching an observation platform 100 meter above giving sightseers an unobstructed view from one of the tallest structures in Copenhagen.

From a distance the entire building is wrapped in a vertical green facade, formed by planter modules stacked like bricks, turning it into a mountain from afar.

All of this while the smokestack is modified to puff smoke rings of 30 meters in diameter whenever 1 ton of fossil CO2 is released. These smoke rings will form due to the condensation of water in the flue gases as they as they slowly rise and cool, serving as a gentle reminder of the impact of consumption, and a measuring stick that will allow people to grasp the CO2 emission in a straightforward way – turning the smokestack, traditionally the symbol of the industrial era, into a symbol for the future. At night, heat tracking lights are used to position lasers on the smoke rings into glowing artworks.

The surrounding topography is sculpted to form a park which offers informal sport activities in summer and winter. Along its western border a field of hills will mimic a mogul piste. A path system throughout the park interconnects the whole site and creates good connections to the neighboring residential area.

BIG won First Prize in the International competition in collaboration with: Realities:United (Smoke Ring Generator), AKT (Facade & Structural Consulting), and Topotek 1/Man Made Land (Landscape)


ARCHITECTBjarke Ingels Group