Architects around the world are re-imagining how neighbors interact with waste facilities and power plants
- China’s Shenzhen East Waste-to-Energy Power Plant will be the largest in the world, featuring a public park and 1-mile-long skywalk
- In Copenhagen, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) is planning a waste-to-energy plant with a ski slope on the roof and the world’s first ring-blowing steam stack
“There is a continuing waste challenge in Shenzhen, as there are in many large cities around the world,” says Chris Hardie, the project’s lead architect. “In order to really attempt to solve the problem, we need to engage with citizens and educate them about the challenges.”
A people project
Integrating waste facilities and power plants into society is a tall order.
Meanwhile, in Sydney, a heritage building that once housed Carlton & United Brewery has become a discreet power plant. Called The Brewery Yard, and designed by Tzannes Architects, it is nestled on the roof of the now closed brewery. The award-winning design elegantly juxtaposes heritage and technology, with three mesh-like towers crowning the 20th-century red brick building.
Blast from the past
The concept of beautiful industrial design is not an entirely new one. In the 1980s, eco warrior and Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser rallied for “blissfully disguised” industrial facilities. He even designed a few himself.
Hundertwasser’s most famous industrial building is the Incinerator Spittelau District Heating Plant, finished in 1992. Not only does that iconic plant power 60,000 apartments, it’s also a source of national pride. The plant’s golden sphere and colorful checkered façade still stands tall on the northern side of Vienna city. A quarter of a century later, it seems the waste industry is finally catching up with Hundertwasser. Pretty soon we all may be asking: “How about my backyard?”
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