Former coal mine transformed into a modern culture and science center in Poland

One of the oldest and best preserved industrial complexes in Poland – Stara Kopalnia (The Old Mine) in Wałbrzych is being renovated. It will become one of the biggest centers of science and arts in Eastern Europe. Nizio Design International, a studio which is well-known for projects of museums in Poland (e.g. exhibition of The Museum of The History of Polish Jews), is responsible for the project and the adaptation.

40,000 square meters, sixteen historical buildings, more than two and a half kilometers of underground tunnel – all that will be revitalized and transformed into a modern, interactive center. The key idea of the project is to transcend the carbon era without completely eradicating the history of the Lower Silesia region (southwest Poland). The tissue of the space will be retained and at the same time enriched with modern solutions, thus the new mine will represent the best of the old and the new. 

The center will include the museum of coal with an interactive laboratory. Visitors will not only have a chance to learn the history of the region, but also to explore the physical and chemical properties of the carbon. Inside the complex, innovative arts and design studios will be located. Every building in the new mine will be dedicated to a specific issue – the past and the present of the coal, the ecology, ceramics. The concept envisages among others occurrence of amphitheater, dancing rooms, the gallery of contemporary art.  As the most innovative project of the year, the Stara Kopalnia has received the “TopBuilder 2013” statuette, awarded by the “Builder” – a Polish construction and architecture magazine. 

The former mine in Wałbrzych was active in the years 1770–1996. The area of the mine is dominated by 19th and 20th century architecture. After its years of prosperity, the buildings stood abandoned. Wałbrzych was and still is a rather poor city, plagued by a high unemployment rate. The science and art center can help change the city's situation and image. It will be the first Polish mine transformed into such a modern complex. The project is to encourage Polish and foreign tourists to visit the region. It is a part of a larger effort to revitalize the agglomeration for its citizens. The project will be completed by the end of 2014.

Nizio Design International was founded in 1996 by Mirosław Nizio. The studio, seated in Warsaw, designed the exhibition of the most popular museum in Poland – Warsaw Uprising Museum, the building of the Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, the monument of KL Gross-Rosen which will commemorate the labour camp,  The Recreation and Educational “Nature Zoom” ecological park. NDI is currently designing the exhibition of The Museum of The History of Polish Jews.

Comments are closed.