Architect denies ‘ski slope’ incinerator will be unsustainable

A Danish architect who plans to build an incinerator that doubles up as a ski slope in Copenhagen has denied reports the project is about to be scrapped over concerns it won't be sustainable.

Bjarke Ingels came up with the idea last year to replace a 40-year old incinerator in the Danish capital with a state-of-the-art energy recovery plant that would feature an artificial ski slope on its roof.

The centre of the building will house a massive smokestack with lifts running alongside it to ferry skiers up to the top, enabling them to see inside the plant as they ascend. The smokestack will also emit giant smoke rings into the sky every time a tonne of CO2 is released to remind people of their carbon impact.

Despite the award-winning design, which Ingels dubbed a vision of “hedonistic sustainability”, recent reports have surfaced claiming that city planners have scrapped the idea over fears it will damage the environment.

However in an interview with business design magazine Co.Design, Ingels has disputed the claims saying that Copenhagen’s City Council still had to vote on the matter and that four other municipalities had already approved the project.

According to reports, the stumbling block isn’t the design itself but the capacity of the facility, which could raise emissions from 140,000 to 200,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. City officials apparently want to slash the incinerator’s capacity in half and focus more on recycling waste.

“What they’re saying is a bit like peeing their pants to get warm in the cold. It works in the short term, but will create a lot of problems in the end,” said Ingels told Co.Design.

“They’re proposing to reduce capacity to half then export waste to adjacent municipalities, which means it will be disposed of in a less environmentally friendly way. If Copenhagen doesn’t go forward with this project, they’ll have 200 trucks of garbage a day. I’m not sure that they actually considered the bigger picture.”

Maxine Perella

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