Environmental protection, architecture and ski tourism in Denmark are entering a new era: the new designer Waste-to-Energy Plant with a ski slope on its roof will be built in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2016.

The project will be managed by the leading Copenhagen-based architecture company Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). BIG has been selected as the winner of an international competition to replace the 40-year-old industrial plant in Copenhagen. The new Waste-to-Energy Plant will be one of BIG's most innovative and original projects. Along with fulfilling its purpose of waste management and energy production (generating heat and electricity for 140,000 homes), the new plant will also become the desired recreational and social centre of Copenhagen.

The new plant will be located in an industrial area near the city center and will become an architectural landmark in the cityscape of Copenhagen. Instead of being an isolated architectural object, the plant will be involved in an active relationship with the public and become a popular destination for Copenhagen's citizens and visitors. The unique design offered by BIG will allow the new Waste-to-Energy Plant to be both useful and beautiful for the city.

Along with fulfilling its purpose of waste management and energy production, the new plant will also be the recreational and social centre of Copenhagen

The vacant roof space of the new plant will be utilised as a 31,000 m2 artificial Alpine ski resort, which will add to the existing recreational and sport activities in this area. The climate of the city is encouraging ski tourism, however, the landscape has always been a constraint for its development. The new plant will offer a long-desired solution, allowing sports enthusiasts to enjoy the fun of a year-round ski resort without having to invest in travel and expensive equipment. Why go somewhere far and frosty, if you can ski in your bikinis right in the city center?

All visitors will have a chance to take an elevator to the top of the plant, get a glimpse into the plant's smokestack and the internal activities and enjoy breathtaking views of Copenhagen. The new Waste-to-Energy Plant is one of the tallest buildings in Copenhagen. To put its size and height to good use, a new observation platform will be built, providing a magnificent and unobstructed view of Denmark's capital city and southern Sweden.

The vacant roof space of the new plant will be utilised as a 31,000 m2 artificial Alpine ski resort with three different slopes

Finally, after reaching the top, visitors will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to ski down the roof of the unique plant. There will be three different slopes available for skiing, graded by difficulty and ski level. One of the slopes, according to the project, will be ‘black' and available for professional skiers. Those who are not big fans of skiing can also enjoy cycling and other sports on the sloping building.

The ecologically friendly slopes will be built using recycled materials. While creating the project, BIG Architecture Company was taking into consideration building conventions of the energy intensive indoor ski resort, widely used in Europe and North America. From a distance the 95,000 m2 the new hi-tech building looks like a snow-covered mountain (which is in fact a white plastic shell). The plant will be surrounded by a new park, which will be used for summer and winter sports, such as karting, sailing and rock climbing, and greatly enjoyed by the community.

Visitors will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ski down the roof of the unique plant . . . the ecologically friendly slopes will be built using recycled materials

The ski slope is not the only surprising and fascinating feature of the new plant. In order to highlight the issue of pollution and make it more open and easily understood, every time one ton of CO2 is dumped into the atmosphere, the smokestack will discharge into the air a smoke ring 30 meters in diameter as a reminder of the impact of consumption and a call for CO2 emissions reduction. After dark heat tracking lights will continue to illuminate the smoke rings, turning them into glowing artworks. Thus, the smokestack will change its symbolic meaning. Instead of being a symbol of industrial era and pollution, it will become a new symbol of hope for the future.

The construction of the new Waste-to-Energy Plant will begin next year. The estimated cost of the project is $570 million, which makes it the largest environmental initiative in Denmark that will help cut its C02 emissions by 60,000 tonnes a year. The economic and political importance of this project should not be underestimated. The new plant will put Denmark on the global map of environmental and energy issues, as well as becoming a major tourist attraction.

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