From proud newspaper headquarters to unloved 1960s relic, the story of the Volkskrant building, located in Amsterdam East, is a common one. When it opened in 1965, it was the most modern newspaper building in the country. Nicknamed ‘The White Swan’ in its glory days, the building was a typical 1960’s concrete structure, yet one that was considered open, optimistic and functional, its form rich in reference to the buildings’ function. The seven floors of the facade referred to the text colons, with the masthead ‘De Volkskrant’ on top. ￼Of course, many decades later, the white facade had turned grey and the interiors were left to crumble as the newspaper found a new HQ.
In recent years, the building found new life as a co-working space, before a full re-invention of the building took place, which saw the building open to the public last month, in the form of the Volkshotel. Translating simply to people’s hotel, the hotel is indeed a far more open and public approach to the conventionally private atmosphere of a hotel, with spaces designed to cater and appeal to locals, workers, students and of course, travellers.
Along with 172 rooms, the Volkshotel is home to a Canvas, a topfloor restaurant by day and nightclub by night, club/restaurant, a rooftop bar and café with sauna and outdoor spa, and, a nod to its former second life, a collection of co-working spaces and meeting rooms.
Predominantly the work of interior designer Bas van Tol, the interior rebuild is inspired by newspaper production and the vanishing world of paper, ink and photographs. Maintaining original elements of steel, wood, concrete and glass, van Tol harnesses the sweeping views of the seven floor building with timber window seals that are deep enough to sit in or work on. It’s a simple, effective and enjoyable touch.
Australian hoteliers, take note. Hotels don’t have to be just “luxury” or “budget”. The middle is a whole lot more interesting…
(Images: Mark Groeneveld)