Text description provided by the architects. The landscape and fascinating history of the area around the former Winterslag coal mine have created a rich industrial heritage. With the launch of C-mine, part of the site has been reallocated to become an exciting melting pot of culture, education, studios and creative economy.
A new landscape has emerged, characterised by creative and innovative entrepreneurship.
The traditional industry - extracting ‘black gold’ was transformed into an economy in which ‘innovation and creativity’ constitute the new gold of our European knowledge economy.
The C-mine – Terril Side business park, the area at the foot of the 'terrils' (slag heaps), between C-mine and the Genk-Noord industrial estate, is a unique concept. The master plan states that companies that want to set up business there, only buy the footprint of the building from the city. Within this surface area they need to fulfill all their needs. The city of Genk provides the basic conditions, such as parking facilities, a road network and site maintenance.
Deusjevoo, the first occupant of the C-mine – Terril Side location, concentrates on the production of temporary spaces, in the form of stage sets, exhibition stands and interiors. For this company, a2o designed an industrial building with studios for a number of creative enterprises and a caretaker's house. In addition to the stand builder, KHLim's Fablab, Innovation Studio, Sky Eye and Our Care were also housed in the building.
The proposal comprised a refined volumetric design, expressed in curtain wall surfaces in aluminium joinery. The facade's architecture was conceived as a draughtboard. This is made up, on the one hand, by matt black cladding and on the other hand by glazing or glossy black cladding where glazing is not required.
The 4m high glass runs from the top of the parapet to the top of the parapet. This means that the entire floor structure is visible through the glass, avoiding the impression of a thick floor slab or a thick roof structure.
The red staircase is an eye catcher. It is suspended, as it were, from the projecting third floor and has no other visible supports. It rests on the ground and is anchored in the wall at the first floor.
The logistic zone is located entirely in the open air. The building embraces this zone with a wall of perforated metal sheet. This way, vehicles and containers are subtly concealed from view.
The spaciousness of the surrounding landscape a protected green zone ensures a natural, smooth inclusion of the building in its surroundings.