The Houtloods is the oldest, still remaining building in the Spoorzone, a former site of the Dutch Railroad Company. The Houtloods is located in Tilburg, the Netherlands, and originally served as the railroad’s lumberyard. The exposed masonry arched structure opened up to the elements and allowed the lumber to dry naturally. Later on the masonry arches were filled in with brick and the enclosed building became a workshop.
During the renovation, Bedaux de Brouwer Architects reopened the infilled arches to highlight the structure and let in natural light. A glass wall behind the arched wall complements and preserves the ‘newly’ opened structure.
Inside the building, detached from the glass façade and timber roof, Bedaux de Brouwer Architects placed a large oak clad ‘furniture box’ that houses the newly added functions and program. The box facilitates offices, restrooms and storage, while in between the box and the glass façade public spaces are created. One side of the box forms an auditorium, the other side ends with an open kitchen and bar for the trendy restaurant, appropriately named ‘De Houtloods’.
Bedaux de Brouwer Architects designed the building to remain visually recognisable as one entity, while it facilitates multiple users. The programme of the building, which contains multiple work spaces, an auditorium and restaurant is clustered in and around a large wooden ‘furniture box’. One central entrance gives access to the routing from the front to the back of the building and connects all functions. Additional sightlines are created over and next to the box to ensure a visual connection through the building.
The physical and visual connection has created a condition where users benefit each other's qualities and facilities. For example, employees of the IT company and their customers have a Friday afternoon drink, brokers and their clients can have a lunch at the restaurant. The restaurant owner, in turn, often shows a model of the future development of the site to his clients.
The building is visually connected with its rich past and has increased amenity among its users. They have been closely involved in all aspects of our design. As a result they have personalised their spaces in the building within the overall concept.
Houtloods is one of the first developments in this city transformation. It has worked as a catalyst for wider developments in the railroad zone. Houtloods is of great value to the users and is now supported by a much larger audience.