The finishing touches have been added to an impressive interior space inside an old railway station in Tilburg, rebirthing it as an "urban living room" known as the LocHal Library. In reality, its a co-working space, library and cultural center rolled into one, styled to make its visitors feel at home through an open and playful layout that honors the history of the site.
The new public library was officially opened earlier this month, after being transformed from a locomotive shed into a railway-themed public meeting space by Civic Architects (lead architect) and Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau (restoration). Engineering firm Arup offered expert advice on sustainability aspects, re-use and acoustic design, the Inside Outside/Petra Blaisse agency visualized the interior concept, while Mecanoo took care of the interior design of the library, the laboratories, the cafe and offices.
Constructed in 1932 in Tilburg, Holland, the building originally belonged to Dutch Railways and remnants of this can be seen after the renovation with old train tracks remaining in place on the concrete floor. Three large tables built on old train chassis can be wheeled up and down these tracks to combine and form larger tables or butt up against the bar of the cafe. They can also be pushed outside to serve as stages for outdoor events.
The exposed industrial columns with speckles of old paint are a further homage to the building's history and line an interior street with stacked bookcases on either side. This thoroughfare is also filled with wooden tables and lighting to make space for studying and reading, and includes terminals to check books in and out of the library.
The book theme continues in the children's library, which is inspired by a nearby fairytale theme park and features book shelves built into huge colored pencils and rulers. An uneven platform at the base of tiered seating nearby, meanwhile, is built out of stacks of old books topped in new oak counters for lectures and presentations.
Also found throughout the LocHal Library is a cosy writing room with both walls and a ceiling lined with books to create a sensation of literary immersion; a central cafe decorated in eye-catching red, brown and gold ceramic tiles; and meeting rooms and secluded working spaces with textile walls acting as soft dividing walls. The library is also a permanent home to the Kunstloc Brabant culture and arts center and Seats2Meet co-working spaces.
You can have a look around and hear from some of the folks involved in the video below.
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more