The Arch by ConstructLab activated a former mining area in Genk

The Arch, a social experimental laboratory for construction that engaged with the community of the Belgian mining city.

The former mining area of Thor has strongly defined the identity of Genk, Belgium, where also the site of the company Ford was once located. The Arch by ConstructLab is part of the city’s effort to rethink its past in order to shape its future identity.

The project has represented a social experimental laboratory where the multi-disciplinary team of ConstructLab, the local community and a wide number of international guests converged for this first phase of re-appropriation of the area. During the summer of 2017 the building site became a place of apprenticeship where the individuals involved could learn by doing, in a context where knowledge was shared for achieving the common goal. The medieval figure of the master-builder acted as a reference for ConstructLab and defined the approach towards design, construction and program of the events that took place in the structure.

The building was conceived as a supporting structure. This choice – which echoes the techniques used to build the existing mining tunnels – aims to represent metaphorically the role that ConstrctLab gave to The Arch: a platform that fosters and supports the re-appropriation of the area. Once the temporary wooden structure was completed, the plastic portal was built and still stands today on site, as a monument to a collective effort. The wooden structure was dismantled in October 2017. ConstructLab is at work today to reconstruct The Arch in other geographical contexts.

The Arch
Genk, Belgium
Community hub
Alexander Römer, Sébastien Tripod, Mascha Fehse, Bert De Backer, Wouter Corvers, Colectivo Warehouse, Bastian Braun, Sumiti Fedtke, Miguel ‘Sempre’ Magalhães, Pieterjan Grandry, Julie Guiches, Patrick Hubmann, Elisa Saturno, Pascal Lazarus, Jean-Michaël Taillebois, Maxie Schneider
Mouton Structural Engineering, ECO oh! Recycling, UGent - Laboratory for Research on Structural Models (LMO), O.S.T. Collective, Johanna Dehio, Polimeer, Hamilton Mestizo, Timo Wuchner, Sascha Henken, René Braun, YA+K, Florine Cruel, Amandine Lamour, Sarah Lidner, Laëtitia Chamekh, Agnès Collaud, Lydia Karagiannaki, Lize Blauw

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