In Hillerød, north of Copenhagen, what could have been a potential problem has become a positive process. Purification plants are often disadvantageously placed in our landscapes, and do not give more than clean water back to our communities. But with the new Solrødgård Environment and Energy Park, Hillerød sets out an ambitious agenda of planning a sustainable urban park, with emphasis on reutilization, energy development and recreational spaces.
Part of this energy park is the construction of a high-tech water treatment plant, designed by Henning Larsen Architects. The plant will be part of a larger area, where the production of energy, recycling and stormwater management will be united with a recreational landscape. The overall plan further includes an educational component, engaging the public in the processes of the complex. To make the area an attractive place for excursions, the hilly terrain will be swept up over the plant, covering it with a usable green roof. The seamless transition between architecture and nature will optimize the conditions for flora and fauna, while minimizing the potential drawbacks inherent in traditional water treatment plant designs.
Visitors can walk right up to and peer through the large glass facades along the hermetically sealed waste-cleaning system, and thereby be educated about the process. A number of paths lead from the park onto the green roof, where extensive public roof gardens are dotted with skylights into the building, providing visitors with another vantage point from which to observe the treatment.
Denmark has a well-established reputation of being frontrunners in developing sustainable cities that solve problems and meet demands, while qualitatively improving urban areas: Climate changes that put a toll on our sewage systems become positive opportunities for urban development and can create green recreational areas to mitigate the effects of increasing amounts of rainwater. This way of including water treatment plants in urban developments might be the next green step.
By combining industrial and recreational areas with an open communication about the processes, the park can become a sustainable ideal, repeatable in other cities. The Water Treatment Plant in Solrødgård Environment and Energy Park will act as both a sustainable resource for the surrounding community and tell the story of how we convert wastewater into clean water. This knowledge about systems and sustainability can be crucial for our future climate.