Gottlieb Paludan Architects have been selected as the winners of an anonymous two-stage competition to design a new biomass unit at the Amagerværket power plant in Denmark. The combined heat and power unit (CHP), dubbed BIO4, will power the facility with biofuel, upholding local efforts to make Copenhagen the world’s first CO2-neutral capital by 2025.
To be located just two kilometers from Copenhagen’s downtown, BIO4 will lie within close proximity to significant cultural sites and occupy a prominent location along the city’s skyline, making its appearance a paramount concern. As such, the designers adhered to the theme of an urban forest in both function and architectural expression. A loose facade of suspended logs will create visual interest from the city, and lend a unique spatial quality to the CHP’s interior. The forest aesthetic will be furthered by native plants that inject a green perimeter around the site.
The suspended tree trunks have an estimated lifespan of around 30 years, after which they will become wood chips and fuel the plant’s furnaces. Immediately beyond the suspended logs, the internal facade will feature gold-hued metal cladding that reflects light and exudes the “natural glow of the forest.” A portion of the boiler house that extends above the log facade will be similarly clad, producing a distinctive illuminated dome to distinguish the building.
While BIO4 aims to serve the community through sustainable heat production, it also strives to be an example of such technologies to locals and tourists alike through public elements. Visitors can experience the facility’s energy production firsthand by ascending a staircase woven within the log forest. At its apex, a vegetated viewing platform will further enlighten guests on the issues of energy production, consumption, and sustainability.
“In this way, we create a story that you can actually enter, a story about the forest and about the transition to sustainable energy," explains Jesper Gottlieb, Creative Director of Gottlieb Paludan Architects.
BIO4 is slated for completion in 2020.