press Release, May 11, 2015, Prague
The Czech company Sipral a.s., a leading supplier of complex glazed façade systems, is taking part in one of the most prominent investment projects taking place in Copenhagen: the construction of Amager Bakke, a new waste-to-energy incineration plant designed by BIG Architects, a Danish studio.
This building is architecturally and environmentally exceptional – and Sipral has been commissioned to design, manufacture and install its complex cladding. Samples of Sipral’s cladding have just passed rigorous testing at the British VINCI Technology Centre.
Ski slope-topped incinerator
The Amager Bakke incineration plant, set to be completed in 2016, is already aspiring to be the most avant-garde and eco-friendly incinerator in the whole of Denmark. Once up and running, it will be able to process over 400,000 tons of waste a year to supply low-carbon electricity to nearly 550,000 residents and heat to 140,000 households in Copenhagen. The building’s price tag is estimated at 4 billion Danish crowns, i.e. around 15 billion Czech crowns.
But as its architects make clear in their design, the building is not just an incinerator – it is designed to serve also as a site where the whole family can spend time together. The building will be shaped like a hillside, on which visitors will be able to enjoy various sports activities, such as skiing and rock climbing, as well as cycling and hiking. The surface of the slope will be given a special finish and will be covered with grass and trees. This way, it will look like a real hill – and will be used like one, too.
“Our view is that it is absolutely imperative to always bring something completely original to a project. For the Amager Bakke incinerator, we came up with the piste on the building’s roof and the steam rings it will blow from its smokestack. We expected it would be just the thing that would have everyone in the world talking about it. And we were right. Everyone is much more interested in these rings than in the technical ideas behind waste incineration. What can we say? The rings are indeed lovely. Another thing that is exceptional about this project is its location. It will stand not in an industrial area of the city (as you might have expected) but 400 meters from the Royal Palace. The Queen will be able to look at it right from her windows. That is another reason why the building deserves attention. Our intention is for visitors to Copenhagen to want to see it, and, having seen it, to keep thinking back on it,” says Claus Hermansen, an architect and project manager with the BIG Architects studio.
Façade Passes Tests
Sipral is supplying the Amager Bakke project with complex external cladding and a special interior glass partition to separate the administrative and operational sections. Samples of these two different façades have successfully passed rigorous tests for air permeability, waterproofness under static and dynamic pressure (created by an aircraft propeller), resistance to wind load, as well as impact tests. The façade has met all the requirements, and the first modules will be installed in Copenhagen this July.
Once fully installed, the façade envelope will be covered by a second, aesthetic layer of natural-aluminum panels (almost 3,250 units). The façade envelope includes an “attic” element that will also serve as a railing to shelter visitors moving around on the publicly accessible rooftop from the wind. Sipral will also be supplying walk-in gates to the building and various types of drive-in gateways.
“For a European project, this is an out-and-out exceptional enterprise. It is marvelous to work with such a creative team as that of BIG Architects,” says Ing. Leopold Bareš, Sipral’s founder.
Claus Hermansen adds: “We are happy to be working with Sipral. You know, a collaborative relationship cannot be fully encompassed in a mere contract. Projects bring a lot of surprises and are defined and distinguished mainly by communication between partners. If the company supplying the technical elements fails to communicate with the architects and acts as if its only key contractual partner were the project owner, things cannot proceed smoothly. But Sipral understands architects like us and strives to go the extra mile for us. That is one of the reasons why we like working with them so much.”
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