The iconic green wooden houses of the Zaan region are traditionally small and modest. Anyway, the Delft based architect Wilfried van Winden (WAM architecten) found a way to integrate the characteristic architecture into an eleven-storeyed hotel complex providing 160 guest rooms, a bar-restaurant, conference accommodation, a swimming pool and a wellness centre with a Finnish sauna and a Turkish bath. Constructed of timber and Eternit fibre cement cladding, the edifice is expressive, with varied fenestration, wide protruding sections, and elegant white eaves and barge-boards.
Here is what the architects say:
A stack of traditional Zaandam houses Wilfried van Winden envisages the hotel as a temporary home, alluding to that transience with the stack of houses. Visually speaking the structure is built up from a varied stacking of almost seventy individual little houses, executed in four shades of the traditional green of the Zaan region. The hotel is unique, familiar yet original and idiosyncratic. It is a design that could be realised only in Zaandam but at the same time transcends and reinvigorates local tradition. It was, moreover, specifi cally tailored to this site. ‘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 building exemplary for the Fusion Architecture that Wilfried van Winden champions. Fusion represents an inventive way of linking present and past, tradition and innovation, high culture and low. This generates a novel expressiveness that corresponds to specifi c local practices but is at the same time universal. ‘But architecture naturally makes a direct appeal to the emotions as well,’ notes Van Winden. ‘An acquaintance recently commented, “When I drive into Zaandam and see the building standing there a smile inevitably spreads across my face.” You could hardly ask for a more wonderful compliment.’