Jannes Hendrickx - Fien Meerpoel
The porphyry quarry of Lessines has its due date in 2025. Hereby we present a nature reserve for the old pit where the vegetation can repair itself and start to take over the site again, emphasising the big impact the quarry had all these years on the landscape.
The watchtower ‘Descent Into Porphyry’ is a watchtower of 12m high, situated on the old panoramic viewpoint of the site. It provides an overview of the entire pit and connects the town of Lessines with the nature reserve. The five rammed earth walls with his wooden structure guide you through the man-made landscape and descent into the porphyry rocks.
The idea for the design started with the light industrial staircases and elevators that are placed next to the rough, rocky walls of the old pit. Light versus heavy is the main concept. Even the structural form itself was a lead for the wooden roof structure and staircases. The rocky slope where the watchtower ‘Descent Into Porphyry’ stands seems to be divided into three parts: two steep slopes and a flatter part. The final wall blends into the landscape, while on the other hand a porphyry staircase appears out of the stones.
The walls are made with a variety of regional materials from the quarries of Maffle, Mouscron, Barry and Lessines. The brown rammed earth mixture contrasts with the grey porphyry rock. The quarry has an overall grey colour because of the porphyry stones. Due to oxidation, the rocks get a brown colour in some places. The design of the watchtower emphasizes the presence of this colour difference in the greyish landscape. Wall by wall, they are rammed into the landscape with a wooden structure in between that connects them together. They appear out of the quarry and later fade away the more you enter into the rocky hills.