Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant
Bjarke Ingels, a Danish architect who heads up the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), had a briliant idea. To metamorphosize an energy power plant on the outskirts of Copenhagen to a radical design montain slop. Amagerforbrænding is a waste-to-energy and recycling company, which already operates an incineration plant that converts the waste from five districts into electricity and heating.
In an attempt to link the industrial area and residential housing problems, the 40-year-old 333,700-square-foot roofing expanse of the power station should be re-designed and converted into an artificial Alpine ski slope. Furthemore, the smokestack will expel rings of smoke 30m in diameter whenever a ton of fossil CO2 is released, acting as a warning signal for the energy consumption and the potential atmospheric consequences for the inhabitants of Copenhagen. During the nights, these moke rings will be illuminated by technological advanced lasers to make them look more impressive.
The roof of the building, will be accessed via a glass elevator running along a smokestack providing visitor views to the inside of the plant on their way up. Skiers will begin their downward journey from the top of the smokestack and according to the designers, three different runs should be available to accommodate varying ability levels. This should be unforgettable experience for almost every visitor, of every age.
The surrounding area will also provide plenty of recreation spaces, green strips, sport facilities, walkways and green areas. Vegetation will be planted in the specially designed exterior boxes around the building perimeter ( 95,000 square meters ) to give a distant green mountain appearance. Vertical green façades with planters stacked like bricks will also improve the aesthtic values of the power plant. The main scope of this 3,5 Billion DKK project, is to convert an epicenter of waste and a deprived area into a happy funzone and area of creativity. BIG has named this approach as an Hedonistic Sustainability, where ecological, economical and social attributes are combined together to establish an environmental friendly and innovative development.
In this very initial project stage development, it is not clear enough how green and sustainable the whole project will be. Unfortunately, artificial ski slopes are notoriously energy and resource intensive and thus, building and infrastructure materials should be carefully considered. However the architects and designers from BIG suggest that recycled synthetic granular could be used as promising and sustainable solution for the slopes and rest outdoor facilities.
Instead of considering this innovative project as an isolated sustainable architectural approach, we should assess and evaluate its characteristics in a more holistic and less deterministic framework. In the next years, this building will be a destination itself but at the same time, it is more than important to understand the progressive vision principles of sustainability. Forward-thinking methods and ideas, building standards and design proposals is the key to a sustainable economy. Yet, living within a nurturing, sustainable and safe environment based on these sysrgistic interactions between societies and environmental conversation.