From the architect. The team of Carve and Omgeving (design) and Krinkels (contractor) won the international competition to design an adventurous play-scape and landmark on a 'terril' in Beringen, Belgium, in January 2015. The adventure mountain is part of the touristic, recreative project be-MINE, that aims to breathe new life into the monumental coalmining site in Beringen, the largest industrial-archeological site in Flanders. The former mining city asked to add new function to the 60 meter high rubble mountain, and to redevelop the old industrial buildings into a cultural hotspot where its history can be experienced in a playful way.
The spectacular scale of this site – regarding both the height of the terril as well as its industrial heritage - is unique in the relatively flat surrounding landscape of Limburgian-Flanders. The intervention is a landmark on a large scale, but through its playable character it also reflects the small scale of a child. The values of the industrial heritage have been a continuous leading theme in the design process that resulted in an unprecedented playscape. The mining 'terril' has been given a new meaning, rooted in both the past and the future.
The design consists of three parts, that create a unity with the mountain and its past: a pole forest as a landmark, an adventurous prismatic play surface on the flank of the mountain and a coal square on the top of the 'terril'. The spine of the ensemble is a straight stairs that provides access to all levels. At night, a light line along the stairs makes the topography of the terril visible.
All integrated play-elements in both the pole forest and the prismatic play-surface have one thing in common: they challenge children physically, to play together and use their motor skills. The sensation of an increasing height and difficulty level of the 'parkours' – the higher you climb, the more difficult it gets – asks for collaboration and mutual encouragement, until one reaches the top. Cooperation and stimulation are therefore intrinsically connected with the play experience, as an immaterial reference to the hard physical work of the old mine-workers, who had to trust one another unconditionally.
Together, the pole forest, the prismatic play surface and the Coal Square create a unique addition to the Masterplan Adventure Mountain, drawn by Antea Group, and are a valuable contribution to the transition of Flanders' largest industrial heritage towards a touristic, recreative project. On the 9th of September 2016 the Adventure Mountain was festively inaugurated.
Architects: Carve , OMGEVING
Location: Beringen, Belgium
Architect in Charge: Elger Blitz, Jasper van de Schaaf (Carve), Luc Walleys, Maarten Moers, Peter Swyngedauw (Omgeving)
Area: 1200.0 sqm
Project Year: 2016
Photographs: Courtesy of Carve, Benoit Meeus
Main Contractor: Krinkels
Subcontractors: Van Vliet BV, IJreka BV