Getting lost in tight spaces isn’t normally a good thing if you’re at a coal mine. That is, unless you’re lucky enough to be wandering the corridors of Belgian architects Gijs Van Vaerenbergh‘s immersive steel labyrinth, located on the old Winterslag mining site in Genk, Belgium.
The architects were asked by the art centre C-mine–which transformed the site 10 years ago into a public space–to create an installation for their summer exhibition. The massive steel maze they constructed consists of over a mile of steel plates that tower over visitors at up to 16 feet tall. Large geometric shapes such as a sphere, cylinder and cone are cut out of the steel walls, giving visitors a view (and a shortcut) into the other corridors.
Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh of Gijs Van Vaerenbergh–who also masterminded the Reading Between the Lines church and the Upside Dome –are known for their sculptural structures that challenge traditional architecture by stripping buildings of their functionality.
To truly appreciate this mesmerizing structure, you have to view it from above. Luckily, visitors can do just that from the platforms surrounding two mine shafts on either side of the maze.