Taking to the slopes

Nick Myall
10 Jan 2018

The final design has been revealed for the Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant Rooftop Park in Copenhagen

Amager Resource Center and SLA have released the final design drawings of the coming Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant Rooftop Park – the 16,000 sq m combined ski slope and rooftop activity landscape that will adorn Copenhagen’s newest and most sustainable waste-to-energy plant as a public and nature-filled green rooftop park. 

Initially masterplanned by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group, the rooftop activity park is designed by Danish city nature experts and landscape architects SLA. When completed in September 2018, the green rooftop park will provide a host of outdoor activities for Copenhageners and visitors alike: Hiking trails, playgrounds, street fitness, trail running, vantage points, climbing walls and shelters – as well as 500+ meters ski slopes designed by BIG. 

Creating a nature-filled activity park on top of the 88m tall waste-to-energy plant is a project without previous references: The extremely steep slope of the roof has put great demands on the planting design and the construction of the landscape, and the complicated wind and weather conditions 88 meters up in the air create difficult living conditions for trees and plants. The heat from the large energy boilers under the roof had to be handled (some places creating ground temperatures around 60 degrees Celsius), and a variety of security and safety demands addressed. ?The project to create an attractive and green activity rooftop park on top of Amager Bakke has been very challenging. Not only because of the extreme natural – and unnatural – conditions of the site and the rooftop itself, which put severe stress on plants, trees and landscape. But also because we?ve had to ensure that the rooftop?s many activities are realized in an accessible, intuitive and inviting manner. The goal is to ensure that Amager Bakke will become an eventful recreational public space with a strong aesthetic and sensuous city nature that gives value for all Copenhageners - all year round?, says SLA partner Rasmus Astrup.

To solve these challenges, SLA has worked with a wide range of nature-based design solutions, testing types of vegetation and materials in 1:1 experiments. Different nature biotopes have been specially selected to accommodate the challenging living conditions of the roof and to provide optimal microclimate and wind shelter for the visitors. The result is a highly wild, lush and resilient green nature design which allows for year-round use of the rooftop while providing a sensuous and diverse environment as a basis for all the rooftop’s activities. 

But SLA’s project will not only provide green attractions on the rooftop. The nature design has been devised so it will naturally spread to the surrounding city. ?The rooftop?s nature is designed to attract and shelter a wide selection of birds, bees, butterflies and insects, which in itself will mean a dramatic increase in the biodiversity of the area. And utilizing natural pollination and seed dispersal will mean that we can spread the rooftop nature to also benefit the adjacent industry area, parking lots and infrastructure. In this way, Amager Bakke will function as a generous ?green bomb? that will radically green-up the entire area?, says Rasmus Astrup. 

The Amager Bakke Rooftop Park will break ground before Christmas and will be completed September 2018.

Nick Myall

News editor

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