Gallery: BIG Unveils a Ski Slope Waste Incinerator for Copenhagen


Bjarke Ingels Group just announced their winning design for an entirely new kind of building — a waste-to-energy plant that doubles as a ski slope and recreation center. Dubbed Amagerforbraending, the project is tucked between the industrial and residential sectors of Copenhagen and will act as a link between the two. The award came as a bit of surprise to the cutting-edge design firm, but given the poetic and functional nature of the project, it may be even more forward-thinking than they thought.

BIG has designed a lot of mountain-like buildings, but this would qualify as their most ambitious in terms of scale and use. They wanted to avoid just wrapping an industrial building to make it look nice. The philosophy from the onset is to use “Hedonistic Sustainability – the idea that sustainability is not a burden, but that a sustainable city in fact can improve our quality of life.” The design is all about the public good, as it stitches two very different aspects of the city together, making an industrial development a tourist attraction.

A ski slope designed by Topotek 1 & Man Made Land is built into the roof of the huge building, creating a unique recreational area in the region. Instead of making snow, the rooftop slope will be covered in a ‘recycled synthetic granular’ material. Bunny hills, plenty of downhill slopes, and even moguls make up the park. An elevator that runs along the smoke stack peers into the interior workings of the plant as skiers head to the summit. The façade features a modular grid of planters and windows that add greenery to the building and help it mimic a mountainside from a distance.

Waste-to-energy technology has come a long way, and complex and poisonous molecules are no longer discharged into the atmosphere. What does go up the smoke stack is carbon dioxide and water vapor, so the plant will make smoke rings — one for each ton of carbon. Lasers lighting up the rigs at night is even proposed to drive the point home. The plant will sit adjacent to the one it will replace.


Although certainly an example of “hedonistic sustainability”, BIG’s multitasking proposal combines a clean waste to power plant with a green wall system and a ski slope.

+ Bjarke Ingels Group


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