The interior of Mecanoo’s locHal mechanical library


Ossip van Duivenbode,

Tilburg, Paesi Bassi,

Architecture and Culture, Libraries, Community Center,

Metal, Wood,


The interior of Mecanoo’s locHal mechanical library consists of a series of workshops of great creative value designed for development of the city’s cultural creativity.

The interior of Mecanoo’s locHal mechanical library 
The interior of locHal library in Tilburg, designed by Mecanoo, is so flexible the building might be described, in a pun on the studio’s name, as a mechanical library.
The former locomotive hall has been renovated and converted into a place for socialisation and social change and is now the area’s leading cultural space, containing library areas on a number of different levels that make use of highly flexible furnishings and spaces.
In line with today’s global trends, Mecanoo’s library is more than just a social space, as it contains office spaces for administration and for co-working professionals as well as a great variety of workshops, ranging from the digital (with 3D printers) to the cultural. Alongside these are Gamelabs for gamers and Futurlabs for the thinkers of the future, with classrooms of different sizes for seminars, lectures and studies. The building also includes Wordlabs for language studies and Dialoguelabs for conversation; an original Timelab allows visitors to dive into the city’s past through a variety of objects and books, echoed by a Learninglab with stands made up of books and assembled wooden boards for hosting debates, presentations and lectures on specific topics, permitting adaptation of the spaces and furnishings to suit requirements. Lastly, the surprising Mobile Foodlab is a kitchen made of wood and steel built entirely on wheels: a design allowing it to be used for cooking courses, experiments and events anywhere in the building. In line with the kitchen, tables are assembled on existing and rearranged railway tracks so that they can be moved about the building. In short, the building’s many features and functions make it reductive to call it simply a library!

Fabrizio Orsini

Client: Bibliotheek Midden-Brabant and Kunstloc Brabant
Programme: Mecanoo was responsible for the interior design of the Bibliotheek Midden-Brabant, Kunstloc Brabant and Brabant C in a former locomotive hall of the Dutch National Railways. The interior design comprises 7,000 m2 including 1,300 m2 of offices.
Architect: CIVIC architects
Interior design: Mecanoo architecten
Restoration architect: Braaksma & Roos architectenbureau
Interior concept and textiles: Inside Outside and TextielMuseum
Design: 2016-2018
Realisation: 2018
Structural / mechanical / acoustic / lighting consultant: Arup, Amsterdam