In Walbrzych, Poland there is a cluster of abandoned buildings, the shadow of a former life full of industrial activity. From 1770 to 1996 this was a busy mining community with a flourishing economy but recently the area has become quiet as the mining ceased and the buildings emptied.
As with many such developments, Stara Kopalnia (The Old Mine) has been recognised as a prime opportunity for an adaptive reuse programme and local architects have been brought in to draw up potential transformations of the space.
Nizio Design International has been appointed to reimagine these lost buildings and has presented a series of engaging public spaces which it hopes will breathe new life into the development.
The site itself encompasses sixteen buildings over 40,000 sq m and over 2.5km of underground tunnels. Nizio Design International has composed plans to transform the entire complex into a multi-functional centre for science and art which will educate both tourists and local visitors about the history of the site and engage them in creative pursuits.
Once complete in 2014, Stara Kopalnia will incorporate a museum of coal, art and design studios, an amphitheatre, dance studios and a gallery for contemporary art. The museum space will supply background information about the physical and chemical properties of carbon, the history of the site, and information on ecology and ceramics.
Walbrzych has a high rate of unemployment and it is hoped that the large-scale development will present much-needed opportunities for local residents.