Although the last mine in Limburg only closed about thirty years ago, this still sounds like a scene from the dim and distant past. The region is putting great effort into keeping its mining history alive. In 2012, the C-mine Expedition opened on the site of the Winterslag mine in Genk. It comprises a circuit that allows the visitor to imagine what it was like to be a miner.
Developing this circuit was a job perfectly suited to NU architecture studio. The firm is known for placing an intense focus upon the creative process, and for paying extraordinary attention not only to details but also to the material execution of projects. This is a company that designs and makes its own scale-models. You can sense this when you visit the site. The labyrinthine nature of the passageways and shafts is subtly accentuated using a number of strategically positioned mirrors and perforations. The white installations – the suspended viewing tents, the rotating panoramic viewer, the sound box and the double-helix staircase – create a unique and luminous world that makes the weight and blackness of the past feel even heavier and even darker.
Author: Oswald Devisch. This text has been published in the Architecture Review Flanders N°11. Embedded Architecture.