CIVIC architects explore materials for a new monument

Lochal Cityforum & Public Library Tilburg

In the Tilburg railway zone, the construction of the LocHal took off this week. Within the contours of the monumental locomotive hall, CIVIC architects in collaboration with Braaksma & Roos Architecten and Inside Outside, designed a large public building.

The project houses a public library, workspaces, conference rooms, exposition spaces, an art school, a glass music hall and an elevated foyer overlooking the city.

The building adds a contemporary layer to the ancient typology of the library. It functions as a public space where visitors can read and lend books and other media but at the same time are stimulated to collectively share and develop new knowledge.

The materials

The architectural language of the LocHal is robust, sturdy and timeless. The repetitive structure, structural clarity and robust detailing strengthen the existing architectural qualities of the industrial monument. Four materials are applied: concrete, steel, wood and glass.

A new floor is casted onto the existing concrete floor and the current lubrication pits are covered with a crosscut wooden floor. The ascending concrete landscape of stairs is partially finished with wood.

Steel concrete floors are visibly suspended from the old crane construction. Staircases and closed volumes are made of either structural or blue steel cladding. Higher in the building, the elements turn more refined. Light enters from everywhere.

The large textiles provide the LocHal with the necessary softness and warmth. The fabrics also have an acoustic function: they make it possible to isolate a concentration space in the middle of the busy urban hall.

The design of the new architecture relates to the existing structure in size and material: smooth blue steel planes versus the existing patina of the compiled columns and crane tracks, moving textiles follow the crane rails and the wooden stairs refer to the industrial crosscut wood. The city balcony is suspended above the entrance.

On this new structure, the glass façade and roof have been designed as a contemporary interpretation of the existing hall. The steel curtain wall on the ground floor is in size fully tailored to the existing railways running through the building. This curtainwall can be partially opened at specific points so railway wagons equipped with green gardens can still be driven in- and outside.