Location: Sint-Truiden, Abbey (street). During the night of August 5, in 1992, the glory of a place in the centre of Sint-Truiden was brutally damaged by an underground methane gas explosion. The before and after situation of the area is clear. A spontaneous decay gradually occurred but remained hidden behind the abbey wall and a temporary fence. This research started with wondering how to ensure that this place regained its visible part of the city. How can curiosity be cultivated for what was once a private (and commercial) place and still seems to be (but not commercial anymore). But above all, how do we capture this "unseen" moment scenographically?
The scène – Due to the time of this one-off scene, 2:30 am, the number of spectators was obviously limited. Going back to this time may, however, attract spectators in the new design. The place can become a visible part of the city again by using this new museum function in a three unit-form. The main intervention is to make this originally private environment partly public and accessible.
The design of the design contains several references to the previous story. The outer shapes of the unit, which appear above ground in three places, are based on the explosion itself.
Functions – The story is told in the first and largest unit. The next and central unit functions as a sweat lodge referring to the gas accumulation and fermentation of the methane gas by the underground heat generation in the stream bed. The steam from the sweat lodge will escape through the oculus in the unit top. Together with the third unit, this unit cultivates the visitors perception.
The design idea was formed from the underground stream as the core of the “unseen” gas explosion and the subsequent deterioration. The stream bed is open in three places. This unintentionally visible bed is an important part of the design, because here an underground connection will be visible above ground in those three places.