AMSTERDAM – Office Winhov’s W Hotel gives back to the city with a design set to captivate both locals and guests of Amsterdam, Netherlands. The project is an example of a generation of hotels combining the adaptive reuse of historic buildings with a public city orientated function, a notion which Office Winhov presented at their exhibition Learning from City Hotels held in the spring of 2015.
During a tour of the building, Winhov-partner/project architect Uri Gilad and Winhov-partner Jan Peter Wingender share their belief that the most successful hotels of the future will be those that offer a connection with the city, blurring the boundaries between private and public. ‘Visitors want to feel at one with the city. We like to use the term “temporary local”, as visitors seek to sink into the lives of the local people even just for a short time and experience the city through a local’s eyes,’ explains Gilad. At the W Hotel, public functions are used to tie the building together drawing on the civic heritage of the site, just a stone’s throw from Dam Square.
The W Hotel alters the city’s former exchange building designed by Joseph Crouwel in 1925, visibly inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building. The project sees the modernist concrete structure and brick façade restored and then transformed with use of a contemporary intervention. Wingender explains: ‘Due to the building’s significant cultural heritage, a sensitivity was required in the design approach.’ The first stage of the project saw the building stripped back and restored to its original state. Like a palimpsest, the architect’s removed layers added to the structure in recent years in order to appreciate Crouwel’s original design. The most crucial feature in the new design, an intervention settling into the core of the building and spreading up over the roof.
Office Winhov recognises the value of the roof space and for this reason have taken an upside down approach to the building’s arrangement. A small lobby intersects hotel and street, transporting guests directly to the top of the building where a new refined glass construction extends into a panoramic roof structure. This addition forms a complementing yet contrasting intervention which expresses an appreciation for the old and new. The hotel facilities, reception, bar and restaurant are located on this floor inviting all visitors – guests as well as the curious public – to experience captivating views across the city.