BIO4, Power Station, Amagerværket,
Copenhagen, Denmark

Activated by dynamic light the building hosts an extraordinary immersive experience within its 'forest' façade, designed to engage the community and embed it into the psyche and identity of Copenhagen.
Gottlieb Paludan
Systems Integration
Speirs Major
Systems Delivery Partner
Stouenborg ApS
Landscape Architects
Møller & Grønborg
Photographer + Videographer
Allan Toft
LiteNordic Spaces with the support of Martin Professional

The projected light gently reveals the depth and texture in the façade, while the energy in the animation celebrates it as a source of power for the city. Although the 6m thick 'forest' appears only on the main façade, we took care to light the single skin of trunks that clad the east and west facades so that there is no obvious differentiation, preserving the building's three-dimensionality after dark. Appearing in tones of warm white under normal circumstances, the facility to apply colour for special and civic occasions has also been provided to boost community engagement further.

Sandwiched in the façade and immersed in dappled 'sunlight', the sensation is of having entered a remarkable alternate reality juxtaposed against the context of a powerplant in a city.”

Bio4 began with a competition-winning proposal developed in collaboration with Gottlieb Paludan architects in 2014. For this new woodburning powerplant, we teamed up to create an intervention of architecture and light that would celebrate the story of Copenhagen's positive transition to sustainable energy, referencing the forest as a source of renewable biofuel. Sited only 2km from downtown, diagonally behind the opera house, it is also visible across the harbour when viewing the iconic statue of the Little Mermaid.

By day, the unique, organic wooden cladding system helps to soften the lines of the vast building, adding nuance and texture. After dark, we designed the visual image to be strong yet subtle, managing the light intensity so that the building sits comfortably in the city context. 

Clad in a 6m thickness of hanging tree trunks, the main façade of the powerplant is cut through with an accessible staircase that leads to a viewing platform. Moving onto and up the stairs from the platform beneath the façade, we shaped the experience to feel as if one is moving through a luminous forest. Layers of light filtering through the tree trunks continually shift in speed, focus and intensity, casting patterns of light and shadow that never appear the same way twice.