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You can go skiing at Denmark’s new power plant

The waste incinerator, located outside of Copenhagen, is topped by an artificial ski hill.

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After eight years of planning and construction, we’re finally getting a look at the near-complete, $660 million Amager Bakke Waste-To-Energy Plant, aka Copenhill. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, it’s the most whimsical garbage incinerator in the world.

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Through furnaces, steam, and turbines, the Copenhagen plant will process 440,000 tons of waste annually, providing electricity for 62,500 households and heat for 160,000. Just feet above all of this machinery, visitors can ski down a 337,000 square foot artificial ski slope–no snow required. The plant is like its own mini mountain resort, complete with a restaurant and 270-foot climbing wall, all wrapped in a modern urban skin of aluminum and glass paneling.

[Photo: Rasmus Hjortshoj/courtesy BIG]

It’s a perfect articulation of Bjarke Ingels’s own philosophy of “sustainable hedonism,” or the idea that we can create a greener world that isn’t about drab sacrifice–but rather, design that’s even more impactful and vibrant because it’s green.

One detail worth noting in the new photos is the single smoke stack on the building’s side. BIG’s design originally promised it would blow rings of steam into the air like some architectural vape lord. Tragically, the steam rings can’t be seen in these photos, which instead feature a more expected wafting trail of steam. A BIG spokesperson confirmed their absence over email. “The steam rings were part of the original competition proposal and we further developed the technology to blow rings by creating a prototype that demonstrated the viability of the idea…That said, the steam rings are on hold for the moment and might happen later once Copenhill is officially open!”

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In any case, Copenhagen expects the site to become a major tourist destination when it opens later this year. And if people do travel from far and wide just to see a waste incinerator? That will be a spectacle unto itself.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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