fot. Lech Kwartowicz

It’s been 10 years since the revitalisation. This is what the Old Mine in Walbrzych looked like

This is an example of successful revitalisation. The old “Julia” coal mine in Walbrzych has become a place where science, culture and art come together. More than a decade ago, the buildings were dilapidated and frightening; today, the former mine is a popular meeting place for local residents.

The Old Mine – Science and Art Centre was created by rebuilding the remains of the former coal mine KWK Julia. It was one of the oldest and best-preserved post-industrial complexes from the turn of the 20th century in Lower Silesia. The transformation of the former coal mine into a modern facility was made possible by a project designed by architects Nizio Design International.

The architects’ task was to revive the former buildings, but with different functions. In total, the revitalisation covered an area of 4 hectares, 16 historic buildings and more than 2.5 km of underground tourist route. The latter is located in the 18th-century “Fox Adit”.

The post-mining buildings were given new functions. For these buildings, the architects prepared designs for internal exhibitions and reconstruction. In addition to museum facilities, exhibition areas, educational and workshop rooms, there are also commercial spaces, such as a restaurant styled as a miner’s canteen. The modern architectural elements are accompanied by renovated equipment from the former mine: engines, pumps, fans or modernised underground transport elements.

The official opening of the revitalised complex took place in November 2014. The scale of the changes carried out is still impressive today. It is therefore no surprise that the Centre for Science, Culture and the Arts Stara Kopalnia in Wałbrzych has won several important awards and distinctions, including the Highly Commended laurel in the Public Service Architecture category at the international European Property Awards (2015), the Grand Prix and the First Prize in the revitalised buildings category at the Lower Silesian Festival of Architecture (DOFA). The mine was also among the 100 ‘important and landmark realisations of contemporary Polish architecture’ highlighted in the ‘Mosaic of Local Identities’ map released by the National Institute of Architecture and Urbanism (2024).

The revitalisation project was prepared by the Nizio Design International team in collaboration with WPA Wilisowski.

photo source: Nizio Design International

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