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BIG's waste-to-energy ski slope opens in Copenhagen

By Stu Robarts    07 Oct 2019
The power plant has a 450m (1,480ft) ski slope running down its roof, a trail for hiking or running and a climbing wall up its side / Dragoer Luftfoto
CopenHill is a blatant architectural expression of something that would otherwise have remained invisible: that it is the cleanest waste-to-energy power plant in the world.
– Bjarke Ingels

This weekend saw the opening of Bjarke Ingels Group's (BIG) ski slope-topped waste-to-energy plant, CopenHill.

The 41,000sq m (441,000sq ft) power plant in Copenhagen, also known as Amager Bakke, is said to be the cleanest in the world, incinerating waste and cleaning the smoke created to produce electricity for around 30,000 households and central heating for 72,000 households. Uniquely, though, it also features a variety of recreation and leisure facilities that extend its use beyond that of just city infrastructure.

The building, which is 85m (280ft) high at its summit, has a 450m (1,480ft) ski slope running down its roof with four lifts to transport people to the top and inclines of up to 45 per cent, as well as a 500m (1,640ft) trail for hiking or running and a climbing wall up its side. In addition, there is a restaurant on the building's rooftop terrace and a ski centre at the bottom with a cafe, a bar and a ski equipment rental and sales store.

Discussing the significance of Copenhill's multiple uses, founder and creative director of BIG Bjarke Ingels said: "CopenHill is a blatant architectural expression of something that would otherwise have remained invisible: that it is the cleanest waste-to-energy power plant in the world.

"As a power plant, CopenHill is so clean that we have been able to turn its building mass into the bedrock of the social life of the city – its façade is climbable, its roof is hikeable and its slopes are skiable. A crystal clear example of Hedonistic Sustainability – that a sustainable city is not only better for the environment – it is also more enjoyable for the lives of its citizens."

BIG's design for the building was chosen in 2011 via an international competition and construction began in 2013. The final drawings for the plant's rooftop ski slope and park were revealed early last year.

The plant covers 41,000sq m (441,000sq ft) in Copenhagen / Laurian Ghinitoiu
It is said to be the cleanest waste-to-power plant in the world / Laurian Ghinitoiu
The building is 85m (280ft) high / Aldo Amoretti
The ski slope has inclines of up to 45 per cent / Rasmus Hjortshoj
There are four lifts to transport people to the top of the ski slope / Rasmus Hjortshoj
The hiking trail is 500m (1,640ft) long / Laurian Ghinitoiu
The plant produces electricity for around 30,000 households / Soren Aagaard
The plant produces central heating for around 72,000 households / Soren Aagaard
Bjarke Ingels Group  Copenhagen 
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