Copenhagen residents will soon be able hit the slopes, not on a ski mountain, but on top of a waste-to-energy plant. Looking to replace their current 40 year old industrial plant, Amagerforbraending held an international competition and unanimously chose this ski slope design by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in an effort to turn what is normally an eyesore into a useful and beautiful recreational facility for the city of Copenhagen. BIG, an innovator in revolutionary design and architecture, promotes the idea of Hedonistic Sustainability, which they define as “the idea that sustainability is not a burden, but that a sustainable city in fact can improve our quality of life”.
With a 1,500 meter descent, the artificial ski slope, made of a recycled synthetic granular material, will offer terrain for all skiing ability levels: from the bunny slope to moguls. To get to the top, skiers will take a glass elevator that ascends alongside the converted smokestack so visitors can view the interior activities of the waste-to-energy plant. Yet another function of the design is to remind the public of the effects of over-consumption. With every ton of fossil CO2 that goes up the smokestack, a 30 meter smoke ring will be released into the atmosphere. These smoke rings will be illuminated at night. So you can literally count the amount of CO2 being emitted on a daily basis.
Surrounding the “mountain”, will be a terrain park featuring rock climbing, sailing, and kart racing. To help resemble a mountain from afar, the 95,00 square meter exterior will be covered with a green facade made of a combination of windows and planter modules stacked like bricks. Though many environmentalists argue that governments should focus more on recycling than using incinerators, Denmark sends only 4 percent of its’ garbage to landfills, while 42 percent is recycled and 54 percent is burned, according to Eurostat data.
Scheduled for completion in 2016, time will tell if people can embrace hanging out at the local power plant, but residents of ultra-flat Copenhagen may very well enjoy the view of their new mountain while finally being able to do some year-round downhill skiing without having to travel to their Scandinavian neighbors to the north.