The ‘Spoorzone’ is the entire area around the train station of Tilburg, filled with industrial heritage and enough space to create new activity. The city of Tilburg had designed a largescale masterplan, but in 2010 they adjusted their ambitions to the reality of the future. Temporary use to profile the core area is vital to return liveliness and to create publicity about the area.
The former steam boiler factory on the Lange Nieuwstraat was built in 1848 by the brothers Deprez from Antwerp. It was one of the icons of the Spoorzone area. The preservation of this factory building is of architectural historic interest, as it was an enormous stimulant for the industrial development of Tilburg as a textile city. The front façade, shed roofs and substructure are all typical for factory buildings. The Deprez building is one of the last examples of historic industrial buildings close to the inner city of Tilburg. The building was structurally in a moderate state; restoration in combination with renovation and reuse was necessary. The province contributed with a substantial subsidy of € 500.000, on the condition that the building was given a monumental status.
The renovation of this building has been a pilot for the entire Spoorzone area. It has been given a public function as Information Centre for the city, a place for meetings, exhibitions and the project bureau.
The idea was to make Deprez the gateway to the area, the living room and meeting space, between the station and the residential area beyond.
The whole process has been done in cooperation with Ben Massop of architecture office BBM and construction company Nico de Bont. The shed roofs were fixed, the broken masonry and frames restored, the gutters renewed and the spans conserved. In the interior floors were placed on seven levels, connected by stairs and gangways. These levels vary in height from -1.5 up to almost 6 meters. All floors have heating, and a complete air cooling installation and toilets have been installed, as well as sound insulation and flexible walls, to provide for the new function of the building.
As a ‘beating heart’, the building is an example of how flexible monuments can be; economical and new use is possible. Restoration is more than just the recovery of a building.
The project started in 2009; in June of 2010 Deprez was returned to the city of Tilburg, completely renovated.