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Old warehouse brilliantly transformed into a public library

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LocHal gets a second life as a well-design community space in the Netherlands

People sitting on stairs in warehouse Photo: Stijn Bollaert via Fast Company

What’s old is new again at a refurbished warehouse for locomotive parts in Tilburg, the Netherlands. The sprawling warehouse, which was once used as a holding warehouse for train engines, is now a spacious public library that takes full advantage of its architectural bones.

Outside of library near train tracks Photo: Stijn Bollaert via Fast Company

Dutch firm Civic Architects designed LocHal (Locomotive Hall) to be a central meeting place for the city. They transformed the 58,000-square-foot building into a modern library while retaining much of what makes the space cool in the first place.

Library with large stairs for sitting Photo: Stijn Bollaert via Fast Company

Steel beams and concrete floors retain the industrial charm, while big textile screens designed by Inside Outside help diffuse sunlight coming in from the large windows and break up the cavernous open-plan layout by creating moveable partitions.

Large curtain dividing room Photo: Stijn Bollaert via Fast Company

A broad set of stairs is the centerpiece of the space. They lead from the ground level to higher floors, making each level feel like an open-air terraces. The staircase doubles as seating and is large enough for 1,000 people to sit during events.