state: A

C-mine Expedition

Experience trail in C-mine, Genk

The former Winterslag mine site in Genk is in full development. C-mine expedition fits perfectly in the series of reconversion and extension projects that have transformed the site into a cultural centre for a broad visiting public.

The concept of C-mine expedition focuses on the visitor’s physical and sensory experience. The route revolves around the contrast in experience between the enclosed and disorienting spatial conditions of the subterranean level and the expansive views when climbing the shaft tower.

C-mine expedition is literally interwoven in, under and above the site.

The discovery tour starts underground in the ventilation tunnels of the old mine shafts and finishes on top of the highest shaft tower in Belgium.

C-mine expedition starts in the cultural centre and establishes a new link between the existing underground and above-ground spaces. For this purpose, new connecting structures were built, conceived from diverse architectural experiences.

At the same time, the expedition introduces new artistic and spatial interventions that are included as independent elements along the route.

The shaft tower is a protected monument that was made newly accessible to the general public. The stairs consist of three different systems: stacking, hanging and cantilevering.

The first staircase is a stacked concrete rotating helix rising up to 15 metres, the second is a hanging spiral staircase with a structural skin that takes visitors up to 54 metres. Lastly, a cantilevering staircase leads further towards the plateau of 60 metres above ground: the highest point of C-mine expedition. Here, the spatial connection is made with the surrounding landscape which has been radically transformed by the mining industry and continues its evolution today.

The project is a cultural translation of a tourist programme, focusing on stronger experiential elements in a dynamic architectural walk. As a result, C-mine transcends the concept of a mining museum. Historical interpretation of mining history is translated by various artists into creative stories and experiences. NU, in collaboration with Kab. Mathilde recorded and developed the curatorship of this content.

  • client City of Genk
  • location Genk
  • date 2012
  • status finished
  • icw Kab. Mathilde Geens, Ruben Nachtergaele
  • contractor Bruns bv / El Systems / Driesen nv
  • engineering office Grontmij, Sweco (stability and techniques)
  • photography Stijn Bollaert
  • nominations & awards Nomination Mies Van Der Rohe Award, 2013, Nomination Belgian Architecture Prize, 2013, Flemish Monument Prize 2013 (C-Mine)
  • team NU Pieter Vansteeger, Saar Tilleman, Christophe Pham, Arunas Arlauskas


– A+ (B), no 236 2012; C-Mine Expedition – De Standaard, 17 January 2008; Creative future for mining history; p. 32-33 – Het Belang van Limburg, 28 April; C-Mine Expedition – De Standaard, 4 June 2012; C-Mine Expedition – Uitingenk, Jaargang 5 – N°8; C-Mine Expedition – Vlaanderen Vakantieland (TV), ÉÉN – Het Journaal (TV), ÉÉN