CopenHill: an example of “hedonistic sustainability”


La Cuisine International


CopenHill is the best example of hedonistic sustainability and as such, proof that architecture can work in favor of the environment. This power plant transformed by the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and the landscape architecture firm SLA, is a model that many will want to follow, and we’ll tell you why.

The space also known as “Amager Bakke,” has already been opened to the public in Copenhagen, Denmark. The project, which began in 2013, had as main goal transforming the Danish capital into the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025, incorporating the concept of “hedonistic sustainability” by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. This view of a “sustainable city” not only considers the improvement of the environment, but also the creation of more pleasant surroundings for the life of its citizens.

Thus, CopenHill or “Amager Bakke,” is a heat and waste-to-power plant that has an environmental education center and an urban recreation center with a ski slope, hiking trail and rock-climbing wall. Or in the words of Bjarke Ingels, the genius who created this concept, “CopenHill is a site that has been able to turn its mass of construction into a center that gives social life to the city thanks to its scalable facade, walkable roof and ski slopes.”


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When desire and technology come together

The project, conceived as a public infrastructure piece with “social side effects,” has in its core a power plant that works 24 hours a day with state-of-the-art technology. To make this possible, the BIG team organized the precise positioning and organization of the plant machinery based on the height. All this with the objective of creating a roof inclined enough for a ski terrain of 9,000 square meters.

In addition to housing the machinery required to convert 440,000 tons of waste annually into clean energy for 150,000 homes, the building also houses ten floors of administrative space, including an educational center for academic visits, workshops and sustainability conferences. A very interesting detail about it’s the fact that the plant offers the best environmental performance with hardly any environmental emissions, allowing you to have neighbors just 200 meters away and be located less than 2 km away from the Danish Royal Palace.

The facade of the building is formed by stacked aluminum bricks, with integrated glazing to allow daylight to enter. The longer vertical facade has an 85-meter-high (280-foot) climbing wall with a view of the interior of the factory. Finally, at the bottom of the ski slope, there’s a bar that allows visitors to relax after a day on the slope or to enjoy the beautiful view. 

But not everything is about skiing at CopenHill. The project includes a natural park at the rooftop and a hiking trail that invites you to enjoy -in the heart of the city- a mountain landscape with plants and rocky areas, where there are about 7,000 bushes and 300 pine and willow trees. This place is also a generous green blessing that will radically renovate the adjacent industrial area. So, the hedonistic sustainability to which this project aimed at will soon be part of the new proposals of the green architecture that seems to have arrived to stay.


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