Zaandam town centre is being radically revamped on the basis of an urban development plan is reinstating the historical street layout, reconstructing an urban waterway and reintroducing atmosphere into the somewhat impersonal and dull town centre, employing magnified stylistic features of the historical Zaanse Schans village.
The hotel is the new centre’s eye-catcher and icon. The colossal, twelve-storey-high hotel tower, essentially square in plan, is a monumental stacking and interpretation of various green-painted house types typical of the Zaan region, ranging from a stately notary’s dwelling to worker’s cottages. ‘The Blue House’, inspired by the work Claude Monet painted at Zaandam in 1871, is the ultimate attention-grabber. The overall result is striking. The varied fenestration, broad protruding sections and bay windows, and decorative white ridge-pieces lend depth and an expressive relief to the façade. The overall result is striking.
The hotel is unique, familiar yet original and idiosyncratic. It has generated a flurry of attention in Dutch and international media, from Korea to Mexico and from Japan to Sweden.
"The best compliment I've had," says Van Winden, "is from friends who say the building makes them smile. This should be enough for any architect."
Location: Zaandam, NL
My Role: Principal designer