The idea of topping a municipal plant with an urban ski resort won a string of accolades for the Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) before the first shovel was even lifted. Time Magazine judged it one of the most innovative 50 ideas of 2011. Two years ago the architectural model went on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The building is wrapped in a facade of aluminium planters which will later drip with greenery. In the original plan, the chimney was to blow smoke rings, one for every tonne of CO2 generated.
But turning BIG’s inspired architectural sketches into reality has been challenging, says Patrick Gustafsson, the project manager who was hired “to prove it is actually a sound idea and not just a fantastic idea”. “No one has ever done this before, and that’s maybe for a reason, I sometimes think,” he laughs.
Above the carpet lifts, workers in fluorescent orange jackets are still finishing the landscaping on the steeper black and red runs and on the button lift that will serve them. “The roof is very steep, actually too steep for a ski slope. It has an incline of 45%,” Gustafsson explains. “You can’t just shovel earth up there, you need to find a way of anchoring it, and then you also have to anchor a ski surface, plants, trees. It starts to get complicated.”
The ski resort alone has ended up costing 92m Danish kroner (£8m). The first day of skiing is more than a year late and it is only a two-day preview, with the slope now scheduled to be finished by May.