Amager Bakke / Copenhill Story by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group Amager Bakke / Copenhill Optimization of the aluminum structure Story by Dr. Lüchinger+MeyerBauingenieure AG Optimization of the aluminum structure
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
Lighting iGuzzini
Fire safety insulationROCKWOOL International A/S
ProRox PS 960, Wired Matts WM 960, WM 960 ALU
Concrete hollow-core slabs and wallsConsolis
Dry ski slopeNeveplast
Smoke Ring GeneratorRealities:United

Product Spec Sheet
Fire safety insulation
ProRox PS 960, Wired Matts WM 960, WM 960 ALU by ROCKWOOL International A/S
Concrete hollow-core slabs and walls
Dry ski slope
Smoke Ring Generator

Amager Bakke / Copenhill

BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group as Architects

The waste-to-energy plant, Amager Bakke / Copenhill, is located in an industrial area, that throughout the years, has turned into an extreme sport destination for thrill seekers. Different extreme sports activities take place in the raw industrial facilities such as cable wake boarding, go-kart racing, and rock climbing among others. Amager Bakke / Copenhill is the most significant landmark in the area and the building is in need of renewal. We propose a new breed of waste-to-energy plant, one that is economically, environmentally, and socially profitable. Instead of considering Amager Bakke / Copenhill as an isolated object, we mobilize the architecture and intensify the relationship between the building and the city—expanding the existing activities in the area by turning the roof of the new Amager Bakke into a ski slope for the citizens of Copenhagen.

The new plant establishes Amager Resource Center as an innovator on an urban scale, redefining the relationship between the waste plant and the city. It will be both iconic and integrated, a destination in itself, and a reflection on the progressive vision of the company.


CopenHill, also known as Amager Bakke, opens as a new breed of waste-to-energy plant topped with a ski slope, hiking trail and climbing wall, embodying the notion of hedonistic sustainability while aligning with Copenhagen’s goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025. CopenHill is a 41,000m2 waste-to-energy plant with an urban recreation center and environmental education hub, turning social infrastructure into an architectural landmark.

CopenHill is conceived as a public infrastructure with intended social side-effects from day one. Replacing the adjacent 50-year old waste-to-energy plant with Amager Ressourcecenter (ARC), CopenHill’s new waste incinerating facilities integrate the latest technologies in waste treatment and energy production. Due to its location on the industrial waterfront of Amager, where raw industrial facilities have become the site for extreme sports from wakeboarding to go-kart racing, the new power plant adds skiing, hiking and rock climbing to thrill seekers’ wish lists.

The internal volumes of the power plant are determined by the precise positioning and organization of its machinery in height order, creating an efficient, sloping rooftop fit for a 9,000m2 ski terrain. At the top, experts can glide down the artificial ski slope with the same length as an Olympic half-pipe, test the freestyle park or try the timed slalom course, while beginners and kids practice on the lower slopes. Skiers ascend the park from the platter lift, carpet lifts or glass elevator for a glimpse inside the 24-hour operations of a waste incinerator.

Recreation buffs and visitors reaching the summit of CopenHill will feel the novelty of a mountain in an otherwise-flat country. Non-skiers can enjoy the rooftop bar, cross-fit area, climbing wall or highest viewing plateau in the city before descending the 490m tree-lined hiking and running trail within a lush, mountainous terrain designed by Danish Landscape Architects SLA. Meanwhile, the 10,000m2 green roof addresses the challenging micro-climate of an 85m high park, rewilding a biodiverse landscape while absorbing heat, removing air particulates and minimizing stormwater runoff.

Beneath the slopes, whirring furnaces, steam, and turbines convert 440,000 tons of waste annually into enough clean energy to deliver electricity and district heating for 150,000 homes. The necessities of the power plant to complete this task, from ventilation shafts to air-intakes, help create the varied topography of a mountain; a man-made landscape created in the encounter between the needs from below and the desires from above. Ten floors of administrative space are occupied by the ARC team, including a 600m2 education center for academic tours, workshops and sustainability conferences.

Rather than consider ARC as an isolated architectural object, the building envelope is conceived as an opportunity for the local context while forming a destination and a reflection on the progressive vision of the company. CopenHill’s continuous façade comprises 1.2m tall and 3.3m wide aluminum bricks stacked like gigantic bricks overlapping with each other. In-between, glazed windows allow daylight to reach deep inside the facility, while larger openings on the southwest façade illuminate workstations on the administrative floors. On the longest vertical façade, an 85m climbing wall is installed to be the tallest artificial climbing wall in the world for new world records to be broken with views inside the factory. At the bottom of the ski slope, a 600m2 après-ski bar welcomes locals and visitors to wind down once the boots are off. Formerly a piece of infrastructure in an industrial zone, CopenHill becomes the new destination for families, friends and celebration, one that is economically, environmentally and socially profitable.

Copenhill. A ski slope on the roof

iGuzzini as Lighting

The new waste-to-energy power plant created on the island of Amager, officially opened in October 2019, is an example of Copenhagen’s sustainability-based urban policies, environmental focus and war on climate change that culminate in its aim to become the first zero carbon city in the world by 2025. 
The origin of the project dates back to 2011 when an international competition was launched to replace the old and obsolete incinerator that had been active on the island of Amager for over 40 years. This island is located between the mainland and nearby Malmö, and is an extremely popular destination for sport and nature lovers and citizens in general. 
The latest generation waste-to-energy power plant, which is one of the most advanced in the world, was designed by Ramboll engineers and ensures high efficiency and minimum emissions. Copenhill produces energy that is used to heat water and create electricity, which is then transferred to the national grid. 15% - 20% of the incinerated waste is also used for road construction. In addition to being one of the most important installations constructed in the environmental sphere in the Danish capital in recent years, in 2019 the waste-to-energy power plant also became a new urban landmark thanks to its iconic architecture designed by the Bjarke Ingels studio. 
The architect covered the building, whose original shape is based on the machines that it once contained, with a shiny perforated shell, made from a series of stainless steel rectangles. But what makes this plant particularly innovative is the fact that it is covered by a 600m long slope that starts from an 85m high peak and then slants down, changing direction twice, until it reaches ground level. 
The project created by BIG and the SLA Architects landscape designers has transformed the building into an urban park that expresses a concept of invisibility, as it hides a waste-to-energy power plant that is so clean, open air sports can be held right under its chimney. 
SLA Architects has reproduced a part of the island’s mountain with a slope, grass, rocks, earth, trees and small bushes on which a wide range of sports can be enjoyed all the year round. These include, hiking, uphill running, walking and outdoor climbing (on the artificial climbing wall located on a section of the external shell). The ski slope that covers most of the descent has three pistes with different difficulty levels and two ski lifts that can be used all the year round as the synthetic mantle it is covered with allows visitors to ski on it even where there is no snow. 
The top of the building also houses a viewing terrace and a café that are an ideal place for both sporting and non-sporting visitors to relax in.
During the day, the natural light penetrates the metal grid and illuminates the inside of the building, making its stainless steel shine. During long periods of darkness, the building’s artificial lighting is designed to make it stand out on the landscape.
To illuminate the slope, Jesper Kongshaug chose Platea Pro floodlights, with a mixture of optics positioned at 4°,12° and 28°. The luminaires are installed at a significant height on the roof of the building and on the top of the chimney in order to illuminate the descent evenly and ensure the pistes are perfectly visible. The floodlights are fitted with anti-glare screens and operate in groups of 5 positioned side-by-side on a specially designed coupling system. Other Platea Pro floodlights are located around the circumference of the chimney. The fact that these luminaires are so high constituted a real challenge in terms of both installation and controlling the required effect. Along the paths that allow visitors to walk to the top of the building the light is less diffuse, so Miniwoody floodlights have been used with a flood optic positioned at 40° The luminaires are attached to special poles that light up the pedestrian paths and are installed with outer casings that allow them to adapt to the slope of the hill. Both the client and the Lighting Designers were extremely satisfied with the end result, which is also very popular with Copenhagen’s inhabitants.

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Optimization of the aluminum structure

Dr. Lüchinger+MeyerBauingenieure AG as Facade Engineers

Due to the large façade area, the optimization of the aluminum structure was crucial. It was achieved mainly by using finite element analysis in combination with real tests carried out in Horw at the HSLU. Another important task was the thermal optimization of the building envelope. The façade system was being designed according to its specific demands, all in collaboration with suppliers and manufacturers.


The entire information exchange process between architects and the other specialised planners was based on a 3D model. The design in a 3D workspace offered a great opportunity to detect conflicts in an early project stage.

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