Heerlen's past as the centre of the Dutch mining industry is concealed in its landscape.
After the closing of the mines in the 1960's and 70's, all physical remnants were removed
and covered by nature or buildings. Apart from a couple of mine buildings and slag hills,
the only concrete leftovers are scattered enclaves of miners' housing. By opening the surface
of the landscape, we symbolically open the memory of the area and dig into its lost identity.
Establishing an archaeological excavation in the centre of the Nieuw Lotbroek miners' colony,
we dig into the ground together with locals of different generations and professionals and
register everything that is found.
The archaeological excavations will both function as a place where we collectively look for
the roots of Heerlen and as a space for sharing narratives.
When the diggings has ended, the finds will be shattered into small pieces and used as filling
material for terrazzo paving tiles. The surface of the excavation site will be covered with the
tiles, turning it into a new public space for the area, containing a communal memory of the past and the future.
This new village square will function as a meeting place, incorporating ideas from the neighbourhood
for surrounding functions. Here the first steps in a communal process with residents, housing coorporation
and municipality to redefine the identity of this worker's neighbourhood can be made, forming a core for
future developments in Nieuw Lotbroek.
Client : SCHUNCK*
Site : Heerlen, Netherlands
Programme : public space, 100m2
Team : collaboration with Superflex
Type : commission, completion autumn 2015
The project was realised as NEZU AYMO architects