The former faculty of literature of the University of Amsterdam is a large academic building in the center of Amsterdam, designed by local architect Theo Bosch. Bosch’s structuralist designs are a common sight in the center of Amsterdam, but with the loss of its function this building required a complete overhaul. The location was prime real estate between the Spuistraat and the Singel in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Amsterdam. Amsterdam has suffered for years from a shortage of hotel rooms, and most of the larger hotels being built tend to be luxury hotels. Since the structure of the upper floors of the building leant themselves well for use as hostel rooms, with only minimal adjustments, this seemed to be the best solution for a new function. In order to assure the necessary rent yields, the lower floors are used for retail and workspace.
The design separates the building into different zones per floor based on the function. At the ground and first floor, the façade is moved in, creating a promenade which invites passers-by to browse the shops. Each shop has a ground floor and mezzanine first floor plus access to basement storage. Above the retail space is a floor reserved for flexible work space and artist’s studios. Starting with the third floor, the rest of the building is reserved for short- and medium stay hotel rooms, with a large canteen. As the building was built in a time when very little attention was paid to thermal efficiency, a new façade was necessary to bring the building up to contemporary standards. The façade concept mirrored the original concept in structure and layout, with the material mirroring the more somber color patterns of central Amsterdam.