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. The project is the single
largest environmental initiative in Denmark with a budget of 3,5 Billion DKK, and replaces the adjacent 40 year old Amagerfor-
braending plant, integrating the latest technologies in waste treatment and environmental performance. The shortlisted offices
included Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Dominique Perrault Architecture, 3xN, Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects & Gottlieb Paludan Archi-
tects who were selected to compete out of 36 international proposals in Fall 2010. The winning team is announced by an unanimous
”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 en-
ergy issues”, Ulla Röttger, Director of 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. The roof of the new Amagerforbraending is turned
into a 31.000 m2 ski slope of varying skill levels for the citizens of Copenhagen, its neighboring municipalities and visitors, 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.
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 100m above giving sightseers an unobstructed view from one of the tallest structures in
Copenhagen. All of this while the smokestack is modified to puff smoke rings of 30m in diameter whenever 1 ton of fossil CO2 is
released. These smoke rings which are the brainchild of Germany-based art studio realities:united 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 mea-
suring stick that will allow the common Copenhagener 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.
“Designing a façade for a building is like wrapping a gift without having to consider its content. Instead of concentrating on the
wrapping paper we have instead invested our energy on creating a gift for the citizens of Copenhagen & its visitors no matter if they
are adults or children, professionals or beginners. I can’t wait to ski on a base of clean and green energy with a view over the city in
2016”, David Zahle, Partner, BIG.
From a distance, the entire building is wrapped in a vertical green façade formed by planter modules stacked like bricks turning it into
a mountain from afar. The surrounding topography is sculpted by Topotek 1 & Man Made Land 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.