Hotel Arena shows how a relatively modest renovation can have a major impact on both a building and its surroundings. The impetus for the extension came with the proposal by the municipality of Amsterdam to renovate Oosterpark and double its size. To achieve this, private grounds around the edges of the park, including that belonging to Hotel Arena, were opened up. Team V seized on the opportunity to “turn the hotel around” and create a new front facing the park.
BACK TO FRONT – Hotel Arena is housed in the former Saint Elisabeth Institution for ill women and orphaned girls. The front of the building, with the main entrance on the Mauritskade, contains social rental dwellings belonging to a housing association. The hotel was always accessed through a secondary entrance on the side street. This is now the service entrance beside the ramp to the new car park in the basement. The hotel entrance has been relocated to the side facing Oosterpark. A broad flight of steps leads from the park to a spacious and sunny outdoor terrace and to the new entrance on the left of the chapel. When the paneling inside of the chapel was removed, the stained-glass windows and original wall painting turned out to be largely intact. The monumental chapel has been restored to its former glory.
ORIGINAL PLANS – The hotel has been extended with three new wings: one brick hotel wing and two transparent pavilions on either side of the chapel. The extension follows the original symmetrical floor plan by the architect Adrianus Bleijs. His design for the institution for girls was only partially built in 1890, with provisional façades in places where future extensions could be added. With its contemporary brickwork pattern, the new hotel wing aligns with the brick architecture of Bleijs. The two new pavilions, housing a restaurant and studios for meetings and events, also blend in harmoniously with Bleijs’s composition. The row of columns follows the original footprint, with sun lounges enclosing them. The natural stone and brick paving on the outdoor terrace extends indoors.