Hotel Okura Amsterdam

Ferdinand Bolstraat 333
Stadsdeel Zuid
B. Bijvoet, G.H.M. Holt, Y. Taniguchi en Y. Shibata
Tram 12, 25 (halte Cornelis Troostplein)
Marlies Buurman & Flora van Gaalen, Room Service, Amsterdam 2007, p.52-53.

A beacon in the city

In 1969, the Dutch government was delighted when the contracts were signed for the construction of a hotel, of the Okura hotel chain, in Amsterdam. In the plans, the hotel was combined with an opera house, which was to be built directly alongside it. As regards the architecture of the complex, the ambitions were high. Four architects were engaged: two Japanese and two Dutch.

The initial design for the complex comprised two separate buildings, which were interconnected, and an underground parking garage. The hotel had to be tall because, due to technical requirements, the opera house was to be a heavy colossus. The debate about the budget for the opera house continued for many years, whereas construction work on the Okura Hotel began immediately. It was not until 1979 that the architects Bijvoet and Holt heard from the burgomaster of Amsterdam that there was a proposal to combine the new music theatre with the new city hall in Waterlooplein. Years later, this resulted in the construction of the Stopera (1986, in collaboration with W. Holzbauer and C. Dam). On the site where the music building had been planned there is now a home for the elderly, a children’s farm, a youth centre and a sports centre. The 23-storey Hotel Okura Amsterdam towers above these buildings and the surrounding area and is a striking landmark in the city. The barometer under the canopy on the top storey contributes to this: after sunset, the colours blue (sunny), green (cloudy) or natural changeable) give the weather forecast for the following day. (ARCAM/BU/FG)