vast locomotive hall in the netherlands is transformed into tilburg's 'new living room'
 

vast locomotive hall in the netherlands is transformed into tilburg's 'new living room'

described as tilburg’s ‘new living room’, the LocHal is a converted locomotive hall that now houses a major new library for the dutch city. the building, which dates back to 1932, contains bibliotheek midden-brabant (the public library), kunstloc brabant (a regional knowledge and expertise center for culture and art), brabant C (a regional investment fund for culture and the creative industry) and seats2meet (a series of co-working spaces).

 

the building’s design is the result of close collaboration between civic architects (lead architect), braaksma & roos architectenbureau (restoration), and inside outside/petra blaisse (interior concept and curtains). the interior design of the library, the various ‘laboratories’, the café and offices are by mecanoo, while the engineering consultancy arup advised on aspects such as sustainability, re-use and acoustic design.


image © stijn bollaert (also main image)

 

 

the former locomotive shed has been transformed into a public meeting place with a distinct railway theme. much of the elegant industrial building has been conserved. with the addition of robust new architecture and huge textile screens. the entrance hall takes the form of a covered city square with large public reading tables (doubling as podia), an exhibition area and a coffee kiosk. this square is flanked by broad steps which can be used as event seating for over one thousand spectators. these steps lead up into the main building, notable for the huge glass facades which allow for plentiful daylight. on the second floor, the gallery and stairways allow closer inspection of the historic glass walls as visitors browse the bookcases or make use of the quiet reading areas. one floor higher is a large balcony offering panoramic views of the city.


image © stijn bollaert

 

 

as certain events and activities may call for a smaller scale or a degree of privacy, inside outside has designed six huge textile screens. these extend to ceiling height, thus accentuating the scale of the building while also defining separate areas and improving the acoustic properties of the interior. these screens have a total surface area of 4,125 square meters and can be re-positioned using a computerized system. the largest screens, 50 meters across and 15 meters high, can be used to conceal the coffee kiosk or create the perfect backdrop for it.


image © stijn bollaert

 

 

visible from passing trains, the city café features a bar with red, brown, and gold ceramic tiles and a neon LocHal logo. the site’s old railway tracks are used to move three large wheeled ‘train’ tables. a single table can become the extension of the bar, or when placed together, the tables can become a stage or catwalk with the adjacent stairs as a tribune. the tables can even be moved outside along the tracks to form a stage for external events. next-door is the reading room with magazines, and next to that is the kunstloc exhibition space.

LocHal library
image © ossip architectuurfotografie

 

 

traversing the building is an interior street lined with industrial columns on which old layers of paint are still visible. by fitting the columns with wooden tables and lighting, they are given a new lease of life as places for reading and studying. the street is flanked by bookcases, while low mobile display units present literature as if in a bookshop. the bookcase wall on the office side has transparent display cases for works of art and books. this wall also offers staff a balance between privacy and connection with the library.

LocHal library
image © ossip architectuurfotografie

 

 

the stair landscape within the monumental space takes visitors to the upper floors. flexible wooden seating elements mean that the setting can be configured according to each user’s needs. the efteling theme park, the largest theme part in the netherlands, is the source of inspiration for the children’s library. here, bookcases take on the form of colored pencils or rulers, while occupants can walk through giant fairytale books.

LocHal library
image © ossip architectuurfotografie

 

 

elsewhere, the youth zone is animated with colorful train seats and tables that offer space for different learning settings, such as concentrated work, collaboration, and meeting. this zone also features the gamelab, one of the building’s many ‘laboratories’. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

LocHal library
image © ossip architectuurfotografie

LocHal library
image © ossip architectuurfotografie

LocHal library
image © ossip architectuurfotografie

LocHal library
image © ossip architectuurfotografie

LocHal library
image © ossip architectuurfotografie

LocHal library
image © ossip architectuurfotografie

LocHal library
image © ossip architectuurfotografie

LocHal library
image © ossip architectuurfotografie


image © stijn bollaert

 

 

project info:

 

commissioning client: city of tilburg

total project area: 11,200 sqm
program: bibliotheek midden-brabant (public library), seats2meet, BKKC, kunstbalie, catering facilities, events areas
lead architect: civic architects
transformation and restoration: braaksma & roos architectenbureau
interior and landscape design, textiles: inside outside / petra blaisse

landscaping: donkergroen
interior design library & offices: mecanoo

 

advisors to city of tilburg
construction management: stevens van dijck bouwmanagers & adviseurs
technical consultancy: arup (structural design and engineering, installation technology, sustainability, lighting, fire safety, acoustic design)
lead contractor: binx smartility

 

consultants
VDNDP structural engineers (site architect)
f. wiggers ingenieursbureau (structural engineering)
ABT wassenaar (building physics, acoustics, fire safety)
SOM= (commercial management)
linneman (BREEAM certification)
glass hall: zaanen spanjers architecten, octatube

 

textile screens
design drawings and installation: inside outside/petra blaisse (NL)
woven sections: tilburg textile museum (NL)
canvas sections and installation: seilemaaker (NL)
assistant canvas sections: gerriets france (FR)
monofilament sections: theatex BV (NL)
rails and motorized system: gerriets gmbh (DE)
installation and software: levtec (NL)

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