I read about C!Mine on Landzine during the first few weeks on my trip and was so excited to find a recently completed adaptive re-use/ re-programming project that was within my route!
The re-programming of this site includes the adaptation of existing mine buildings, one into a museum and another into a mixed-commercial use building-which includes an exercise gym, movie theatre and restaurants. A new addition to the square in the Media Arts Design (MAD) campus building. Underground parking is incorporated under the plaza area.
The square is defined by the black slate pavers, which harken back the history of the site as a mining facility, and set the stage for an open programmable space suitable for a wide range of events. The custom benches are bolted into the plaza but are designed to be removed, leaving a flush surface. Water features are a zero-depth misting spray event that turn off to incorporate into the plaza field. The industrial monuments are celebrated with spectacular lighting at night.
C!Mine is described as a new central plaza for Genk, while it isn’t geographically in the city center by the main train station, it is accessible by bus and it is (sort of) at the terminus of the commercial corridor of Vennestraate, making it pedestrian accessible and a relative extension of the urban core. C!Mine is a great example of a cultural landscape that sustains itself with commercial (non-tourism) uses. The cinema, restaurants, MAD design academy and gym keep the place activated when there are no planned festivals or other events in the square.
As I mentioned before, this trip to Genk hadn’t been a part of my original plan, but I had planned on going to Brussels so it was an easy jaunt to get to Genk.
UnFortunately, when searching for my train and hostel accommodations, I searched for GenT instead of GenK. Then seeing that GenT was so close to Bruges, I decided to go there too! (It’s a fairy tale place!) Then on the train to Bruges I passed by the stop for GenT and remembered that I needed to go to GenK… which I later realized is on the other side of the country! (But that’s not such a big deal bc Belgium is teeny.)
So one letter cost me a hundred Euros or so in extra trains and hostels, but it afforded me the opportunity to explore Bruges by sunset: