Forecourt be-MINE Beringen – Limburg by

2024 Public Projects / Belgium / Built in 2020 /

Forecourt be-MINE
The Limburg Investment Company (LRM) is developing the old be-MINE mine site, which is 32 hectares in size, in Beringen. The site is being repurposed as a tourist-recreational project. Urban functions such as housing, work, shopping, and catering are interwoven in a balanced way. Not only are new functions accommodated on the former mine sites, but new plans are also being made for the open space around the buildings and the surrounding landscape. This is based on an image quality plan drawn up by Sweco / UAU Collectiv / Buro Landschap.

The mine buildings are gradually being put back into use with new functions, and the open space is being redesigned accordingly. With the conceptual plan, we pay tribute to the identity of the place, determined by industrial heritage (where you can feel the mining past and sniff the history), by the new urban functions (tourism, recreation, housing, school, etc.), and the ecological structure that has developed.

We would like to take you to the historical ‘Forecourt’, one of the recent realizations of the open space near the historic bathhouse complex.


The former mine sites have a history, and since their closure, they have been neglected. In the last decade, we have begun to appreciate their value as a location for urban activities by repurposing the buildings. The developing nature also creates a unique synergy between history and nature. This combination offers opportunities to preserve the history of mining heritage and embed it in our society. The social life in the city, the interaction between past and present, embedded in a unique ecological landscape context, gives the mine site a meaningful place in our society. The design for the (partial) spaces is based on that social and ecological importance and focuses on a tailor-made range of amenities.


A recent realization is the Forecourt, the space around the old main buildings. Historically, this was an open space that formed the entrance to the site, now used for large events. Therefore, the existing open character is preserved with respect for the different visual axes. The nature that ‘takes over’ the place is strengthened. It does not focus on a ‘gardening’ of the site, but on development opportunities for pioneer vegetation. The typical image of archaeological heritage in a green context is preserved.
The poor subsoil on the be-MINE site creates a unique environment plant growth. Only carefully selected places will receive new ones standard trees or adapted planting. An important starting point here is ‘Design with nature’. This principle emerged in the late sixties and refers to the design of the landscape and the environment based on based on ecological principles based on a clear and sharp approach analysis of soil, climate and hydrology.


The tree stock on the Forecourt fits in with the existing trees. Typical pioneer species such as black pine, downy birch, acacia, willow and butterfly bush form the basis of the new tree structure, supplemented with white alder, honey tree and pedunculate oak. These trees were planted very randomly. The planting areas are designed in such a way that it appears as if the plants have started spontaneously new grow. Please note that events are also organized in this zone and that there must therefore be sufficient opportunities to place tents and other infrastructure.

At the entrance and terrace of the Mine Museum, the principle is temporarily broken, and room was made for prairie planting. The prairie garden, linked to the two old trumpet trees, forms a colorful oasis and is a strong contrast to the larger natural places on the site where vegetation can simply grow freely. Here, there is a strong focus on a collection of perennial plants with color and special inflorescences in different seasons, plants that are drought-resistant and can take root in the typical barren, rocky ground on the site.


Three paving materials are chosen for the Forecourt. The majority of the square is finished in a fine gravel coating with a hardened sublayer. For this choice, we looked for a material that can withstand heavy traffic (in the context of events) and a material with a soft character in ‘look and feel’ that fits within the concept of natural, spontaneous overgrowth. The gravel (without the hardened layer) is also continued in the areas where no paving is necessary and runs between the trees and the different vegetation strips. This results in a consistent image.

At the location of the Mine Museum and the terrace, a richer material is chosen. Flat stones (granite cobbles with a flat top) ensure good accessibility for everyone, including wheelchair users and people with mobility impairments. On the axis between the Cathedral and the water castle, a slightly elevated Corten steel path crosses the Forecourt to emphasize the main visual axis on the be-MINE site. This elevated path is accessible to everyone. It leads visitors to and from the various functions such as the current Mine Museum, the swimming pool, climbing wall, etc. Moreover, this Corten steel promenade also connects be-MINE with the adjacent Houtpark.
By choosing Corten steel, the path is not only a functional axis, but is an eye-catcher as well in itself. The use of this Corten steel, referring to the many rusted elements (the ravages of time) in, on, and around the buildings, is also continued in all street furniture.

Last year, this special place received a Public Green Award of the VVOG, Association for Public Green. The entire site also won prizes. Together with other projects in Beringen, the city received the European Green in 2020 City Award.

Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape: Buro Landschap, Tongeren
Architecture offices involved in the design: UAU collective, Hasselt
Location: Koolmijnlaan 203, 3582 Beringen
Design year: 2019
Year Completed: 2020


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