The IBA have transformed a former wasteland into Europe’s biggest man-made lake with a €1.4m budget

From mines to lakes

For the past ten years, the Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA) Fürst-Pückler-Land has been redeveloping the landscape of the Brandenburg-Saxony border through 30 different projects due to be completed by the end of the year.

Decades of lignite mining turned the Lower Lusatia landscape into a damaged wasteland. The IBA’s brief was to find an innovative way to structurally transform it while preserving its strong heritage.

With an annual budget of €1.4m, the staff redesigned it as an area for water tourism comprising 30 artificial lakes linked by navigable canals and floating architecture.
To highlight the area’s heritage and distinct identity, some of its industrial monuments were reused in new ways, such as the scheme’s pilot project, the F60 Visitors’ Mine. Once a disused spoil conveyor bridge half a kilometre long, artist Hans Peter Kuhn transformed it into a light-and-sound installation.
The first lignite coking plant in Germany, the huge Lauchhammer bio-towers, were preserved too. The towers are now used to educate visitors about the area’s history.
Meanwhile, the centre of the floating architecture development is a discovery centre in the shape of a rising sun on Lake Bergheide in Lichterfeld. Running on renewable energy, the sun is the flagship attraction in the redevelopment of Lower Lusatia as a cultural, ecological and tourism centre. For the past ten years, the Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA) Fürst-Pückler-Land has been redeveloping the landscape of the Brandenburg-Saxony border through 30 different projects due to be completed by the end of the year.

Decades of lignite mining turned the Lower Lusatia landscape into a damaged wasteland. The IBA’s brief was to find an innovative way to structurally transform it while preserving its strong heritage.

With an annual budget of €1.4m, the staff redesigned it as an area for water tourism comprising 30 artificial lakes linked by navigable canals and floating architecture.

To highlight the area’s heritage and distinct identity, some of its industrial monuments were reused in new ways, such as the scheme’s pilot project, the F60 Visitors’ Mine. Once a disused spoil conveyor bridge half a kilometre long, artist Hans Peter Kuhn transformed it into a light-and-sound installation.

The first lignite coking plant in Germany, the huge Lauchhammer bio-towers, were preserved too. The towers are now used to educate visitors about the area’s history.

Meanwhile, the centre of the floating architecture development is a discovery centre in the shape of a rising sun on Lake Bergheide in Lichterfeld. Running on renewable energy, the sun is the flagship attraction in the redevelopment of Lower Lusatia as a cultural, ecological and tourism centre.

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