Space for the spectacular!
The C-Mine square, situated on a former coalmining site, is the central open space of the new cultural centre of Genk. It will become an urban square with a cultural, creative, design and recreational function. Most of the buildings around the square are former mining buildings, renovated and transformed into buildings with a cultural program; a large theatre, a cinema, restaurants and the (newly built) design academy of Genk. The design of the square interacts with the surrounding buildings and will facilitate and create space for all sorts of spectacle. The square makes a spectacular open space; the events and activities planned on the square enhance the square as the cultural heart of Genk.
One level surface
The need to create opportunities for a wide range of activities on the square results in a “one level surface”. An obstacle-free surface ensures that the square can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Of course, at times of activities and a large numbers of visitors the square will be lively and marvellous. However, it will remain a very special square even when there are fewer visitors, no activities and the surrounding buildings are outside normal opening hours.
The square is paved with black slate slabs of different sizes and laid in an informal pattern. The black slate refers to the “black gold” from the mines and is the same material as the waste material from the mining activities that was placed on the terrins (cairns) around Genk. The paving includes lighting in the surface as well as the possibility for a water surface, the creation of mist just above the surface and removable seating. A great deal of attention is given to the night-time appearance of the square, with lighting illuminating the surrounding façades and the former mining shaft towers. The two shaft towers are both given a function on the square. The Belgian office Nu architectuuratelier designed an attractive route that follows the former mining corridors under the oldest shaft tower and the ruin of the former mining reception building and ends with a fantastic view on top of the youngest and tallest shaft tower.
The seating furniture ‘single scatter’ was especially designed for the square by Carmela Bogman industrial design, in cooperation with HOSPER.
Genk C-mine has been nominated for the Belgian Public Space Award 2013, has won the third prize of the city.people.light award 2012 and has been the winner of 'Thuis in de stad 2011'.
Location: Genk, BE
My Role: design public space & Single Scatter furniture
Additional Credits: Single Scatter: Carmela Bogman
Photography: Pieter Kers
Other: ARA Atelier Ruimtelijk Advies, Painting with Light, NU architectuuratelier