The Amager Bakke power plant in Copenhagen, Denmark, soon will have skiers talking trash. That’s because the state-of-the-art combined heat and power plant, which is being built on the capital city’s outskirts, is adding an unusual feature to its design: a ski slope.
Construction of the project began in March and completion is scheduled for 2016, with operations to begin early in 2017. The plant will use waste collected from the 700,000 residents and 46,000 companies in the Copenhagen area, then turn 100 percent of the waste into energy. It will collect about 400,000 tons of waste per year and provide heating for 160,000 households and electricity for 62,500 households. The plant is part of the city’s plan to become carbon-neutral by 2025.
Although it will be the largest and most efficient energy plant in Europe upon completion, one set of designers competing for the bid felt that the project lacked something. Bjarke Ingels, head of the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and architect for the project, says he wanted a building that not only looked nice but also benefited the community. Inspired by a waterskiing park, Ingels and his team designed the plant with a 280-foot-high roof that slopes downward, then designed a downhill skiing park that allows skiers to schuss through the snow while the power plant works at turning waste into energy.
In the vision of the design, skiers will ride an elevator to the top then ski back down around a landscape of pine trees. Vents in the roof will double as quarter pipes. The design also includes a climbing wall, presumably to give residents a way to enjoy some recreation at the power plant even when there’s no snow on the ground.
Editor’s note: The Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant was switched on in 2017 and its CopenHill ski and recreation area officially opened to the public in 2019.