be-MINE, a postindustrial landscape in Beringen
Welcome to the new adventure mountain in Belgium! Be-MINE is an spectacular touristic and recreative giant playground that aims to breathe new life into the monumental coal-mining 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 is unique in the relatively flat surrounding landscape of 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 design consists of three parts, that create a unity with the mountain and its past: a 1.600 pole forest as a landmark, an adventurous prismatic play surface on the flank of the mountain and a coal square on the top. The spine of the ensemble is a straight stairs that provides access to all levels.
The rounded poles refer to the mining past; they were used for supporting the kilometers long underground mining shafts. It is a strong spatial gesture and an intervention that relates to the scale of the hill and the industrial heritage on this location. A part between the poles has been dedicated to an adventurous play course with balancing beams, climbing nets, hammocks, a labyrinth and a rope course. The poles are placed in a grid, which results in an interesting perspective effect: the sightlines create an experience that reminds of the dark mining shafts of the past.
Wedged in between the pole forest lies a large, prismatically shaped play surface. This tectonic landscape offers space to an endless variation of play options, and is scattered with crawling tunnels, climbing surfaces with climbing grips and ‘giant stairs’.
Its spectacular highlight is the more than twenty meters long slide, which is placed halfway up the hill and is integrated within the relief of the concrete play surface. The various prismatic surfaces invite children to climb, slide, hide and discover.
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. On top, at sixty meter height, there is a ‘Coal Square’. It was created to reflect both the past as the present.
Together, the pole forest, the prismatic play surface and the Coal Square create a unique addition to the Master plan Adventure Mountain. It is a valuable contribution to the transition of Flanders’ largest industrial heritage towards a touristic, recreative project.