The C-mine square is situated on the grounds of a former coaling mine and is the central open area of the new cultural heart of Genk. The former mine buildings around the square have been renovated and were transformed into buildings with a cultural program; a large theatre, a cinema and restaurants. At the Westside of the square a new building has been added: the Media, Arts & Design Faculty.
One level surface
HOSPER has made the site into a vibrant cultural heart of Genk and has designed the square so that it provides space for all sorts of events and activities. An obstacle-free surface was chosen with removable seating. Of course, at times of activities and a large number of visitors, the square will be lively and marvelous. However, it will remain a square with a dynamic and lively character even when there aren’t any events. The square is paved with Belgian black slate as a reference to the “black gold” of the former mine. It is the same stone type as the waste material from the mining activities that ended up on the terrils (cairns) of Genk during the reclamation of the mines. The slate is used in big sized flagstones and much smaller chips of slate. The floor gets a lively character due to the integration of a water surface, mist fountains, removable seating and lighting elements. The seating elements “Single Scatter” were designed by Carmela Bogman together with HOSPER. These chairs and stools, made of folded stainless steel, shine as glittering diamonds on the dark square floor.
The proposals for the light on the square have been brought towards construction by Painting with Light. The buildings around the square are illuminated with great respect for the historical character of the site. The two original shaft towers on the square are illuminated with LED lamps, thus providing a lighted beacon from a large distance. The lighting on the square, with light lines in the paving and illumination of the mist fountains and the seating, gives the square a spectacular appearance during the night. The basic color of all the lighting is warm white, but special color effects during events are possible. The fountains and a large part of the lighting are included in an integrally controlled program.
For the design and construction of the square, HOSPER collaborated with the Belgian office Atelier Ruimtelijk Advies. The Belgian office NU architectuuratelier designed the C-mine expedition. An attractive route that follows the former mining corridors under the oldest shaft tower and the ruins of the former mining reception building and ends with a fantastic view on top of the youngest and tallest shaft tower.Location: Genk, Belgium Designers: Hosper | Hanneke Kijne, Petrouschka Thumann, Han Konings, Remco Rolvink, Ronald Bron, Hilke Floris Partners:
Carmela Bogman, art and design in public space
Painting with Light
Atelier Ruimtelijk Advies
NU architectuuratelier Client: City of Genk Area: 0.5 hectares Year of design: 2006 – 2012 Completion date: 2012 Photography: Pieter Kers Awards & nominations:
First prize design competition cultural square
Nominated for the Belgian Public Space Award 2013