Ski Bunnies & Smoke Rings

New waste-to-energy plant wrapped in a ski slope by BIG.

When Kim Derby first introduced me to Bjarke Ingels, I was smitten. I still am.

BIG (the Bjarke Ingels Group) keeps flirting with design, architecture, and earth lovers through innovative projects and BIG ideas (pun intended). Here’s the latest vision from Bjarke Ingels (a collaboration between BIG, realities:united, AKT, Topotek 1, Man Made Land, and Glessner Group). And, fair warning, it’s so delicious you may want to move to Copenhagen.

Amagerforbraending is a new waste treatment plant; it shatters all pre-conceived notions you may have about waste treatment plants. The project straddles the line between two districts, industrial and recreational, in Copenhagen and was designed to link the two neighboring areas through a functional duality: a waste treatment plant all wrapped up in a ski slope. Yes, a ski slope. Fifteen hundred meters (almost five thousand feet) of ski runs to be exact. The slopes will be accessed through an elevator complete with a glass wall, allowing skiers a glimpse into the plant and a subtle reminder of the functional building.

“Most of the recently built power plants are merely functional boxes wrapped in an expensive gift paper. The main ‘function’ of the façade is to hide the fact that factories have a serious image and branding problem. We want to do more than just create a beautiful skin around the factory. We want to add functionality. The ambition of creating added value in terms of added functionality does not stand in contrast to the ambition to create beauty. It does not have to be either/or, it can be both. We propose a new breed of waste-to-energy plant, one that is economically, environmentally, and socially profitable.”

BIG is even changing the way carbon is emitted. The smokestack at Amagerforbraending will release puffs of smoke rings (how did BIG manage to make a contribution to global warming sexy?). The hope is to draw awareness to consumption. The cylindrical rings will even be illuminated by lasers at night, projecting a pie chart onto the smoke, allowing the actual quota of fossil carbon dioxide to be read.

“The new plant is an example of what we at BIG call Hedonistic Sustainability – the idea that sustainability is not a burden, but that a sustainable city in fact can improve our quality of life.  The Waste-to-Energy plant with a ski slope is the best example of a city and a building which is both ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable.” Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Partner, BIG

So who’s moving to Copenhagen with me?  If you still need coaxing, devour the entire project slideshow.

(Images from BIG, spotted here.)