Winner: Rebirth project of the year 2019. The vast LocHal library and events space, designed by Civic Architects, Inside Outside, Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau and Mecanoo, occupies a former locomotive shed in Tilburg, the Netherlands.
Located in the Dutch city’s station district, the LocHal library is named after the huge locomotive building in which it is housed. Through the project, the architects wanted to give a new meaning to the function of a library in the digital age. This large former train repair shed made of steel and glass was turned into a monument in order to save it from demolition. The three Dutch architecture practices developed a plan that both respects and protects the building, retaining much of the industrial building's steel structure with its tall glass windows and towering riveted columns.
Stairs run between several floors, into which openings are cut to bring light into the spaces underneath. Designed as contemporary reinterpretations of the existing building, new solid structures made from black steel, concrete, glass and oak are combined with a series of movable giant textile screens, which hang the entire 15 metre room height, creating flexible zones within the folded landscape.
Judges comments: This project was selected as the winner of the rebirth project category because of its “perfect response to an old structure”. The judges also commented on the structural preservation and and the characteristics of the space, whilst the introduction of “softer elements, assures a surprising and pleasant atmosphere”.