A public library in The Netherlands has been chosen as the world’s best building in 2019.

The World Architecture Festival has revealed that the LocHal Public Library in Tilburg, Netherlands, has taken out its World Building of the Year award for 2019.

A transformed building which is remade from a former locomotive shed of Dutch National Railways, the library aims to enable users to learn, study, meet and gather and create and innovate.

It houses the main library, cultural institutions and co-working spaces.

A key architectural feature is a distinct railway theme – a tribute to the building’s heritage.

Old tracks which are visible in the concrete floor are used to move three wheeled ‘train’ tables.

A staircase which takes visitors up to upper floors is partially made of oak and allows users to ‘build’ a meeting place or a quiet place to work.

Whilst large exposed grey, metal beams pay tribute to the original building character, a colour palette of reds and oranges adds warmth.

An eye-catching cafe features a bar with red, brown and gold ceramic tiles and a neon LocalHal logo on top.

The lead architect was Civic Architects in collaboration with Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau and Inside Outside/Petra Blaisse.

The old tracks are visible in the concrete floor. They are used to move three large wheeled “train” tables.

In a statement, the jury commended the building.

“This project transformed a significant building which had been planned for demolition,” the jury said in its notes.

“The result has created a physical facility in which a variety of users can meet for a variety of purposes, in this sense the building has become a social condenser. It celebrates and exploits local traditions of textile manufacture and it has an environmental strategy aimed at heating and cooling people, not the building. It provides spaces of very different scales to provide both communal and more intimate uses.”=

In other categories:

  • the World Interior of year was taken out by J.C Architecture for its JCA Living Lab in Taipei City, Taiwan for a regenerated Japanese Colonial residential house which preserves its past while accommodating the modern living needs of its occupants.
  • The Landscape of the Year was taken out by Original Design Studio for a demonstration of the Yangpu Riverside Public Space in Shanghai.

JC Living Lab, Taipei City, Taiwan (World Interior of the Year)

Australian buildings fared well.

The Castle Cove House by Terrior in New South Wales took out the Completed Building House award.

Commendations were received for the Anzac Memorial Centenary Project (Civic and Community), Doubleground in Melbourne (Display), Welcome to the Jungle House, Sydney (House Completed Buildings), Arc (Sydney, mixed-use), Mernda Rail Extension (Melbourne, Transport – Connected Buildings), Dandenong Level Crossing Removal (Melbourne, Transport – Completed Buildings) and 201 George Street (Sydney, Office – Future Project).

Landscape of the Year Winner: Demonstration Section of Yangpu Riverside Public Space, Shanghai, China