Hotel Arena is a good example of how a relatively modest renovation can considerably impact both a building and its surroundings. When the municipality of Amsterdam announced their intention to develop Oosterpark and double its size, an opportunity arose to renovate the hotel to better connect with the surrounding environment. The grounds around the edges of the park were opened up, including those around Hotel Arena. It was at this point Team V seized the opportunity to “turn the hotel around” and create a new façade facing the park.
Back to front
Hotel Arena is housed in the former Saint Elisabeth Institution for disadvantaged women and orphaned girls, built in 1890. The original building’s front entrance on the Mauritskade is used to access social housing which was developed during the 1980’s. The hotel’s main entrance, previously located on a side street, became the service entrance during the renovation, now conveniently located beside a ramp to the new basement carpark. The hotel’s main entrance was relocated to face Oosterpark, and now features a broad flight of steps leading from the park to a spacious, sunny outdoor terrace and further to the new entrance to the left of the chapel. When the interior panelling of the chapel was removed, the stained-glass windows and original murals turned out to be largely intact, so the monumental chapel was fully restored to its former glory.
The hotel now has three new wings: one brick accommodation wing and two transparent pavilions on either side of the chapel. The extension builds on the original symmetrical floor plan by the architect Adrianus Bleijs. His design for the girls’ institution was only partially built, with provisional façades positioned where future extensions could be added. The new accommodation wing features contemporary brickwork that aligns with Bleijs original architecture. The two new transparent pavilions, housing a restaurant and studios for meetings and events, also sit harmoniously alongside Bleijs’ design. The row of columns follows the original footprint, with sun lounges enclosing them. The natural stone and brick paving on the outdoor terrace extends seamlessly into the foyer entrance.