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The W-hal building : MetaForum's multifunctional predecessor

The inauguration in 2012 of the MetaForum building was a significant step in the renewal plan for the TU/e campus. At first glance a completely new building. The lower part of it however, the former W-hal, is almost as old as TU/e itself. The W-hal building was used mainly by the department of Mechanical Engineering, hence the name (Mechanical Engineering in Dutch: Werktuigbouwkunde). But its central location on the campus made the W-hal useful as well for various other services and departments. During the first years after completion the W-hal served as the location of all kinds of laboratories. For example for flow and thermal technology, combustion engines and automotive technology. The building was not at the center of the campus only literally, it indeed played a central role as well in education and research. For many years it was also the base of the Central Technical Service. Highly skilled technicians made a wide variety of specialized tools for Education and Research. Gradually the users of the W-hal became more diverse. Among the newcomers were the TU/e bookshop, an office of the ABN-AMRO Bank, the editors of the Cursor university news journal, and student associations like the Da Vinci archery club. Furthermore, the W-hal became the venue for cultural events like the Tuna Festival and many musical and drama performances. The original intention to demolish the W-hal and replace it with a completely new building sparked off a heated debate, which actually took place partly in the W-hal. This eventually resulted in the plan for MetaForum. The revised design preserved the major portion of the W-hal and its special architecture.
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