Here at Terry Waters French polishing we love when wood is brought back to life and reclaimed. This project highlights the durability of wood and the unique impact recycled wood can have on design.

The library can be found in Azkoitia, Spain where the extension walls have been built from the wood of railway sleepers that have been locally sourced and carefully restored.

The original building itself used to be an old station building, so it was fitting that the architects chose to extend the building using reclaimed railway sleepers from the original track. Views from the southern side of the extension overlook a long boulevard, where the old tracks once stood.


The inflexible layout of the original building was something the City Council wanted to rectify, extending rooms and allowing better access to disabled visitors was a priority. The council ran an ideas competition in the hope of finding original ideas that would develop the old station but would still retain a lot of its original charm.

Spanish company Estudio Beldarrain won first prize, integrating the original sleepers into the design and creating the much needed space. This combination of innovative design and sympathetic use of materials meant they were commissioned by the council to draft and build the project.


The irregular shape of the extension almost look like the old sleepers have been casually stacked against the old station, evoking the history of the old building. Internally the extension is made up of small tower blocks that free up a lot of space from the original building.

The architects had to employ a technological lab to help select the sleepers with low concentrations of benzopyrene, which are found in the protective coating of creosote, thus lowering the carcinogenic potential.

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