Six years after breaking ground, CopenHill — a waste-to-energy plant topped with a year-round ski slope — is officially open, marking a major milestone in Copenhagen’s journey to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025. Bjarke Ingels Group, SLA, AKT, Lüchinger+Meyer, MOE and Rambøll designed the new architectural landmark that they describe as the cleanest waste-to-energy plant in the world. The building includes an environmental education hub as well as a landscaped roof for urban recreation including skiing, hiking and climbing.

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Designed to replace the neighboring 50-year-old waste-to-energy plant, the 41,000-square-meter CopenHill — also known as Amager Bakke — boasts state-of-the-art technologies in waste treatment and energy production. BIG, which won the 2011 international competition for the power plant, drew inspiration from the industrial waterfront of Amager that is now a hub for extreme sports.

“CopenHill is a blatant architectural expression of something that would otherwise have remained invisible: that it is the cleanest waste-to-energy power plant in the world,” says Bjarke Ingels in a press release. “As a power plant, CopenHill is so clean that we have been able to turn its building mass into the bedrock of the social life of the city — its façade is climbable, its roof is hikeable and its slopes are skiable. A crystal clear example of Hedonistic Sustainability — that a sustainable city is not only better for the environment — it is also more enjoyable for the lives of its citizens.”

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In addition to the 9,000-square-meter ski terrain, visitors can enjoy hiking the building’s summit with the 490-meter-long hiking and running pathway landscaped with 7,000 bushes and 300 trees to mimic the look of a lush mountain trail. Soaring to a height of 85 meters, the 10,000-square-meter green roof also includes a rooftop bar, cross-fit area, climbing wall and observation area that can be reached via lift or glass elevator that provides views inside the 24-hour operations of the waste-to-energy plant that converts 440,000 tons of waste annually into enough clean energy to power 150,000 homes. The building also houses ten floors of administrative space for the ARC team and a 600-square-meter education center for academic tours, workshops and sustainability conferences.


Images by Laurian Ghinitoiu, Aldo Amoretti, Dragoer Luftfoto, Rasmus Hjortshoj. and Soren Aagaard