Old Mine Science and Art Centre, Walbrzych Building, Poland, Architect, Polish Design
Old Mine Science and Art Centre
Contemporary Visitors Facility in Poland – design by Nizio Design International
26 Mar 2015
Old Mine Science and Art Centre in Walbrzych
Design: Nizio Design International
Location: Wałbrzych, Poland
Stage one of the project to revitalise the Old Mine in Wałbrzych (Lower Silesia region, Poland) has been completed and the facility is now open to visitors. The entity responsible for the revitalisation project and spatial transformations of the former coalmine into a modern science and art centre is the architectural studio Nizio Design International.
The project’s construction stage was finalised in November of 2014. At the time opened to visitors was a part of more than a dozen post-mine objects constituting the historic Coalmine Julia complex. Visitors to the Old Mine Science and Art Centre may now view the revitalised buildings no. 1, 3, 5, 6 and 17.
The no. 1 building (which used to accommodate the so-called Chain Bath House) now is the venue of the Wałbrzych Cultural Centre and Wałbrzych Song and Dance Company. The building provides spaces for theatre shows and concerts. It accommodates a modern dance room, changing rooms, instructor rooms, vocal exercise room, and the stage director’s room. The top floor accommodates the first part of the exhibition designed by the Nizio Design International – a spatial installation depicting the mining tourist trail. Unique light shows will be taking place in a specially arranged space of the chain bath house. In the old smithy (building no. 3) visitors will be able to view a specially designed exhibition of old mining machinery. The machines once used to extract coal – turning lathes, milling machines and other fitout elements of the former workshops are accompanied by the latest multimedia screens and displays and exhibition lighting that provide the setting for the story of coal mining and the mining history of the city. Mirosław Nizio’s studio was responsible for the design and delivery of the objects’ exhibition interiors.
The no. 5 building, i.e. the former boiler room, has been transformed into the Temporary Exhibitions Centre. This post-industrial building, cleaned out of its original fitout, has become a space that will be used to organise large-format temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and multimedia shows.
Already visitors to the Old Mine Science and Art Centre may admire the revitalised Cooling Tower which, in addition to the two mineshafts, represents the complex’s highest observation and light spot. The 25-metre high glazed structure will be filled with green plant coils climbing onto the very summit of the ecology tower. At night the glass that wraps the structure gains an exceptional appearance produced by the lighting system designed by the Nizio Design International. The Ecology Tower has been designed as an exhibition space for presentations of the issues linked to water and ecology, e.g. the region’s water management, sources of drinkable and medicinal waters in the Wałbrzych region, contemporary problems with global warming, etc.
The elevations of the no. 2 building have been renovated, while the buildings no. 4 (Unique Ceramics Centre opened on 13 February), 7-9, 8 and 11 have been redeveloped. At the moment they are undergoing finishing and interior fitout works.
Visitors are led to the facility by a special corridor/installation. Its openwork structure is a stunning architectural element which in an intriguing and modern manner references to the mining heritage of the place. The corridor is made of galvanised steel. Its structure will also serve as a space for temporary thematic exhibitions. Walking through it visitors may pass to the former foreman’s building. This facility, initially intended to be pulled down, has gained an innovative shape. It is fully covered by a specially designed openwork mesh of zinc-titanium steel. This cladding surrounds the building and extends beyond its roof line. The building so arranged gives room to the “Welcome Centre”, where you can buy admission tickets to the Old Mine, enjoy a cup of coffee, or get information of the Wałbrzych Conurbation’s tourist offer.
The Old Mine’s development plan also envisages that attractive family recreation areas will be created on the site of the former mine waste dump. These spaces will be delivered in the subsequent stages of the project. The revitalised space will be comprised of green areas and an entertainment park for little ones. The entire park will be filled with a labyrinth of corridors in the form of massive tubular objects, specially designed for the purposes of educational games. Also, this site will feature other devices designed to provide good entertainment and safety: chain swings suspended from simple wooden structures, slides, wooden gym ladders with, e.g. climbing meshes and ropes.
The Old Mine – Science and Art Centre is a multidisciplinary facility. It is located on the site of one of the oldest and best-preserved post-industrial ensembles in Lower Silesia. In overall it covers an area of 4 hectares with post-coalmine buildings. Each of the revitalised buildings will gain a unique shape, new uses and functions. The designs of the exhibition interiors and redevelopment of the buildings no. 2 and 15 have been prepared by Mirosław Nizio’s architectural studio which is also responsible for, e.g. the design and delivery of the core exhibition of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and revitalisation of the “Świętokrzyski Shtetl” – the former synagogue in Chmielnik.
As a target, in addition to such non-commercial facilities as museums dedicated to permanent and temporary exhibitions, education rooms and workshops, the site of the coalmine compound will also accommodate commercial buildings, e.g. a restaurant modelled on a coalmine canteen. The Old Mine also provides space for, e.g. the Ceramics Centre. Other facilities to be located on the site include the Museum of the Future, Coal and Mining Museum, and Geology Museum. In addition to the contemporary architectural elements and multimedia exhibitions, the site will also feature revitalised equipment of the former coalmine: engines, pumps, ventilators, or modernised elements of underground transport. The project, like other facilities of this kind revitalised in Europe’s brownfields, is intended to revive the cultural and social life in Wałbrzych and the entire region.
The construction and detailed design of the architectural layouts of the revitalisation project were delivered in conjunction with the architectural studio WPA Wilisowski of Wrocław and Pas Projekt bureau.
Old Mine Science and Art Centre in Walbrzych images / information from Nizio Design International
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Website: Nizio Design International