After a period of time where it looked like it would be scraped from the drawing board, Amagerforbraending, a Danish waste-to-energy plant designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), is a go: the City of Copenhagen broke ground on the project on March 4. While waste-to-energy plants have hardly been public destinations in the past, the BIG project incorporates public use as a main design element: the $650 million facility on the outskirts of the city will combine a waste-to-energy plant with a 333,681-square-foot ski area, including a mile of ski runs and a terrain park. Skiers will access the slopes via an elevator adjacent to the incinerator’s smokestack, which will transport them to the top of the ski slope. Plans also include having the smokestack puff smoke rings for each ton of carbon dioxide released to remind Danes of their carbon footprint.

“Most of the recently built power plants are merely functional boxes, wrapped in an expensive gift paper. The main ‘function’ of the façade is to hide the fact that the factories are having a serious image/branding problem,” according to BIG’s website. In this project “we want to do more than just create a beautiful skin around the factory. We want to add functionality.”

The project is slated for completion in 2016. Read the original report form ECOSTRUCTURE here and then let us know whether you think this is the future of waste-to-energy plants in the comments below.