While others may be skiing on snow-capped mountains this winter, residents of Copenhagen may be skiing on the roof of a building! Making the “top ten list of innovative buildings of 2019” by New Atlas, CopenHill (aka Amager Bakke), by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), is a waste-to-energy power plant AND a ski slope that opened last year in Copenhagen, Denmark. Eleven years in the making, the building showcases the architectural firm’s trademark ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking.

The project consists of the power plant itself, with a large ski slope running from top to bottom on its roof. The eye-catching building features a facade made up of glass and stacked aluminum bricks. Copenhill is a Amager Resource Centre (ARC), billed as the world’s cleanest power plant. It provides 30,000 homes with electricity and 72,000 homes with heating across five municipalities, including Copenhagen. 

CopenHill’s facade is made up of glass and stacked aluminum bricks; photo credit: News Atlas

The large artificial ski slope runs from top to its bottom and there’s also a freestyle area and a timed slalom course, plus lower slopes for beginners and kids. The slopes are reached by ski lifts or a glass elevator.

In addition to the skiing, other attractions at CopenHill include the world’s tallest climbing wall, which measures 85 m (278 ft), a rooftop bar, cross-fit area, and a tree-lined hiking and running trail. The man-made mountain contains some 7,000 bushes, 300 pine and willow trees, plus other greenery.

Bjarke Ingels, founder of the Danish architecture practice Bjarke Ingels Group, commented in an article that appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, “Beneath the slopes, whirring furnaces, steam, and turbines convert 440,000 tons of waste annually into enough clean energy to deliver electricity and district heating for 150,000 homes.”

According to an article that appeared in ArchDaily in September 2019, “The plant aspires to embody the notion of Hedonistic Sustainability while aligning with Copenhagen’s goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025.” According to The Aluminum Association, “Today, aluminum is recognized as one of the most energy efficient and sustainable construction materials. The estimated recycled content of aluminum building materials used today is between 50 and 85 percent.”

Photo Credit: Dezeen