Incineration Line

COPENHAGEN – The Danish town of Roskilde, about 30-km west of Copenhagen, has recently opened a new, unlikely landmark – an incineration energy plant. Designed by Erick van Egeraat, the plant’s striking façade comes to life at night.

Having won an international competition in 2008, the studio set to design an iconic presence in the expansive, flat landscape, which would complement both Roskilde’s historic heritage – in particular its UNESCO-listed brick cathedral – as well as its industrial legacy. The incineration plant burns refuse from nine surrounding municipalities to produce electricity and heat.

In order to unify the industrial structure, the architects have given it a second skin that loosely drapes over the large plant. This monolithic, crystalline form is realised in amber-coloured aluminium panels that feature large perforations, whose frequency and size increases with height. Beneath this layer, a lighting system lights up at night to represent the fire and warmth and the building shines from within.

‘The building is transformed into a glowing beacon, symbolising the energy produced within,’ says Erick van Egeraat. ‘Although this building and the brick cathedral are separated by a millennium, together they represent protectors of the city.’