The city of Uppsala invited BIG to design a biomass cogeneration plant that would offset its peak energy loads throughout the fall, winter and spring as part of an international competition (ultimately won by Liljewall Arkitekter). Home to Scandinavia’s oldest university and landmark Uppsala cathedral, the plant proposal’s biggest challenge was to respect the city’s historic skyline.
Considering the project’s proposed seasonal use, BIG envisioned a dual-use power plant that transcends the public perception; in the summer months, the “crystalline” proposal was designed to transform into a venue for festivals during the peak of tourism.
“BIG’s design proposal fuses two conventional industrial archetypes into an unconventional hybrid: the plant and the greenhouse. Both have been developed to provide a rational and efficient form of enclosure to massive industrial facilities: for manufacturing and agriculture respectively,” stated the practice in a press release.
“By harnessing the economies of scale associated with greenhouse structures it is possible to provide a 100% transparent enclosure to provide the future massive silhouette on Uppsala’s skyline with an unprecedented lightness while allowing the citizens to enjoy educational glimpses of what happens within. Rather than the conventional, alienating hermetic envelope of traditional power plants the crystalline volume serves as an invitation for exploration and education. The next generation of creative energy.”