BIG architects: amagerforbraending waste treatment plant and ski run
BIG architects: amagerforbraending waste treatment plant and ski run BIG architects: amagerforbraending waste treatment plant and ski run
jan 26, 2011

BIG architects: amagerforbraending waste treatment plant and ski run

BIG architects: amagerforbraending waste treatment plant and ski run all images courtesy BIG architects




danish firm BIG architects has won the international competition to design a new waste-to-energy treatment plant on the outskirts of copenhagen, denmark. in an attempt to re-brand the idea and aesthetics of the standard factory, ‘amagerforbraending’ gives a secondary function to the structure by adding a public ski slope on to its roof.

in context




approaching the project not as an isolated object but an integrated feature of that site that is economically, environmentally, and socially profitable, the factory considers the local context: situated on an edge condition – factories on one side, housing on the other; the city of copenhagen on one hand, the water and island of amager on the other – the location receives very few visitors simply by the lack of identity and purpose the site possesses. the design of a factory-ski slope hybrid aims to mobilize the architecture and intensify the relationship between the building and the city, creating a destination in and of itself. ski slope





by integrating the height of the smokestack into the overall form of the architecture, an artificial slope is created. public connection is created by pushing down one corner of the building, associating the street with the roof line/ski run. measuring a total distance of over 1,500 m, three different pistes are made from the geometry of the roofscape.


access to the ski run is provided by an elevator shaft placed adjacent to the smokestack. facing inwards, the ride allows skiers to peer into the activities of the factory. two large ‘sky light’ apertures in the roof also provide a transparent look into the innerworkings of the waste treatment plant.

interior atrium space


office level


exterior green wall – detail




with the intention of raising awareness for sustainable energy, the design proposal includes a modification to the smokestack that will release smoke rings into the sky. activated whenever one ton of fossil CO2 is released, the signal will serve a communicative function and remind the viewer of the impact of consumption. at night, a heat tracking laser light will project a pie chart on the ring to display the actual quota of fossil CO2.


at night


projected laser light on smoke ring illustrating, in pie chart form, the quota of fossil CO2



study on waste-to-energy plant in denmark


site map


rendered fly by


(upper left) a skin is wrapped around the factory’s internal volumes which was largely determined by engineering and technical criteria (upper right) the building is raised in one corner to accommodate the height of the smokestack (lower left) one side of the envelope is expanded to create an administrative and visitor center (lower right) the corner closest to the street is lowered to allow for public connection



the roof of the factory is turned into an artificial ski slope


access to the ski slope is provided by an elevator adjacent to the smoke stack


elevation – model


view from the water


open ‘roof lights’ in the slope offer views into the factory


ski slope


mechanisms for smoke ring


(upper left) when the piston pushes out smoke, the upper gate is open and the ring forms. as the lower gate closes, surplus smoke enters the pressure compensation champer (upper right) smoke is stored when the upper gate is closed. the lower gate opens and the storage chamber starts to refill with smoke as the piston begins to rise. the pressure compensator extends. (lower left) piston continues to rise, building pressure (lower right) when the storage chamer is full, the upper gate is opened while the lower gate closes. piston moves down to push the smoke ring out. the complete cycle takes around 30 seconds.

smoke ring




project info:

client: amagerforbraending collaborators: realities united (smoke ring generator), AKT (facade & structural consulting), topotek 1/man made land (landscape) size: building 95,000 m2, landscape 90,000 m2, roof + ski slope 32,000 m2 facade area: 74,000 m2 administrative + visitor center floor area: 6,500 m2

partner in charge: bjarke ingels, david zahle project leader: brian yang team: jelena vucic, alina tamosiunaite, armor gutierrez, maciej zawadzki, jakob lange, andreas klok pedersen, daniel selensky, gül ertekin, xing xiong, sunming lee, long zuo

  • with collaboration of Berlin Landscape Architects
    Topotek 1 and MANMADELAND

    t. says:
  • amazing idea. …feasibitlity…hmmm
    some grand thermal inventions will be developed…
    although im not to sure about the actual project.

    Go for it!

    sf says:
  • Definitely no “out-of bounds” skiing there!

    Powder Hound says:
  • [url=] Hated [/url]

    architecturehate says:
  • Really cool 🙂 C U there

    Bent-Erik Munch, says:
  • it is great but dangerous because people may be out of ski piste

    Ahmet-Gun says:

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