Location: Tilburg, Netherlands.

Architect: Mecanoo architecten.

The LocHal library is a new addition to Tilburg’s City Campus, located in a former locomotive shed of the Dutch National Railways. The building houses the Midden-Brabant Library, Kunstloc, Brabant C, and Seats2meet co-working spaces. It is a space for people of all ages to read, learn, study, meet, and gather. The interior design by Mecanoo combines historical elements with new oak and steel additions, creating a warm atmosphere with a red and orange color palette. The city cafĂ© is the eye-catcher, featuring a bar with red, brown, and gold ceramic tiles and old tracks in the concrete floor used to move three large wheeled “train” tables. Full-height textile walls divide the space into larger or smaller activity areas, while the interior street is lined with historic industrial columns fitted with wooden tables and lighting for reading and studying.

The children’s library is inspired by the nearby fairytale theme park, Efteling, with bookcases taking the form of colored pencils or rulers, giant fairytale books to walk through, and tables shaped like mobile phones. The LocHal is not just a library but also a laboratory with specially designed labs throughout the building, including the Digilab, GameLab, FutureLab, FoodLab, KennisMakerij, TijdLab, Stemmingmakerij, WoordLab, and workshop rooms. The office area is shared by the Library, Kunstloc, and Brabant C, offering a wide range of workplaces, including open office spaces, “touchdown” places for short tasks, places for collaboration, meetings, and a coffee corner. A lowered working pit, where oil was once collected, has been transformed into an orange furniture element suitable for concentrated work. The LocHal is a space for testing, creating, exhibiting, and presenting the latest innovations, challenging visitors to gain new knowledge and learn about new innovations.

Photo credit: Ossip Architectuurfotografie.