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Final design drawings revealed for power plant's rooftop ski slope and park

By Kim Megson    04 Jan 2018
Hiking trails, playgrounds, street fitness zones, trail running, vantage points and shelters will be incorporated into the rooftop scheme at Amager Resource Center / SLA
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
– Rasmus Astrup, SLA partner

Danish landscape architects SLA have revealed their final design drawings for the rooftop park set to adorn Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) forthcoming Amager Resource Center – one of the most-anticipated buildings of 2018.

The centre, located in an industrial area of Copenhagen, is a waste-to-energy plant with unique public offerings – including a climbing wall on one facade and a 500m+ ski slope down its descending roof.

Both the slope and a surrounding rooftop park and activity landscape have been masterplanned by BIG, with SLA collaborating with the firm to deliver the 16,000sq m (172,000sq ft) project.

Their newly-released design drawings reveal how hiking trails, playgrounds, street fitness zones, trail running, vantage points and shelters will be incorporated into the nature-filled scheme.

“The project has been very challenging,” said SLA partner Rasmus Astrup. “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 realised 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.”

To ensure the park’s flora and fauna could survive 88m (288.7ft) above ground – where the wind and weather conditions can be unforgiving – and withstand heat from the large energy boilers beneath the surface, SLA tested various types of vegetation and materials in 1:1 experiments.

Different nature biotopes have been specially selected to accommodate the challenging living conditions and provide an optimal microclimate and wind shelter for visitors.

According to the practice, the result will be “a highly wild, lush and resilient green nature design which allows for the year-round use of the rooftop.”

Astrup added that the design will also bring environmental benefits 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,” Astrup said.

“Utilising 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.”

Construction work began on the park last month and it is due to be completed by September 2018. Engineering firm MOE and landscape contractor Malmos are working alongside SLA and BIG on the project.

The Amager Resource Center has attracted headlines since the design was first revealed in 2011, thanks to innovative touches like the ski slope and the building's chimney, which may emit giant steam rings to illustrate the amount of carbon dioxide being saved by the factory.

In CLAD’s recent special feature into the world of BIG, partner Brian Yang – the project leader for Amager’s competition phase – revealed how the idea of putting a ski slope on the roof was born from “the sheer anxiety of having to submit something brilliant in a very short timescale.”

“We didn’t have a scheme until about two weeks before the submission date,” he said.

“We sat down with the team to discuss what the hell we were going to do. Someone mentioned the fact that Denmark is flat and that Danes drive three hours to Sweden to ski there, and Bjarke said, ‘We have to do a ski slope on top of the factory’. I remember that moment – all of a sudden the energy in the room turned.”

When fully operational, the plant is expected to provide 160,000 homes with hot water and power 62,500 homes in the Danish capital.

Landscape architects SLA are working with Bjarke Ingels Group to realise the nature-filled project / SLA
The project has drawn attention for the unique public facilities it is bringing to a waste-to-energy plant / SLA
According to SLA, they have created a 'highly wild, lush and resilient green nature design which allows for year-round use of the rooftop' / SLA
SLA  BIG  Bjkarke Ingels  Copenhagen  Denmark  architecture  Amager Resource Center 
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