Energy plants tend to get a bad reputation for being simple structural boxes of minimal architectural merit; functional rather than aesthetically beautiful. Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is looking to change this perception through their Amagerforbrændingen scheme on the outskirts of Copenhagen, which broke ground on 4 March 2013.
The design team explains: “The ambition of creating added value in terms of added functionality does not stand in contrast to the ambition to create beauty. We propose a new breed of waste-to-energy plant, one that is economically, environmentally, and socially profitable.
“Instead of considering Amagerforbrændingen as an isolated object, we mobilise the architecture and intensify the relationship between the building and the city - expanding the existing activities in the area by turning the roof of the new Amagerforbrændingen into a ski slope for the citizens of Copenhagen.”
As alluded to in this quote, BIG will insert a public ski slope on the roof above the working waste-to-energy plant, transforming otherwise unused space into a social sporting venue. Visitors will reach the dizzying heights of Amagerforbrændingen ski roof via an external lift system which will rise past the plant’s smokestack, ensuring that they are aware of the building’s primal function.
After one tonne of fossil CO2 has been released, this smokestack releases a 30m-wide smoke ring which rises above the plant, bringing attention back to the impact of energy consumption. At night, heat tracking lights will illuminate these rings.
Ulla Rottger, Director of Amagerforbrændingen, commented: “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 the environment and energy issues.”
Now onsite, the waste-to-energy plant is located at the meeting of Amager and Copenhagen with residential units on one side and factories on the other. This site is a prime opportunity for redevelopment and BIG hopes that the creation of this special new facility will initiate a new energy for the area, ‘tying these opposing forces together’. BIG is working with realities:united, AKT, and Topotek 1 & Man Made Land on the design for the new Waste-to-Energy Plant.