|Address||Oostelijke Handelskade 34|
|Architect||1921 Evert Breman, 2004 MVRDV|
|Commisioner||Woningstichting De Key|
|Accessible||Bus 28, 43, halte: Lloydplein en tram 10, halte: Rietlandpark|
From emigrant hotel to cultural embassy
The building at the address Oostelijke Handelskade 34 was designed by Evert Breman and put to use in 1921 as a hotel for emigrants awaiting embarkation. This was the terminal where passengers boarded ships of the Royal Dutch Lloyd line sailing to South and Central America. The hotel then functioned as a prison from 1940 to 1989, after which it was rented as studio space to artists until 1999. The transformation of Amsterdam’s Eastern Docks area into an archipelago of residential islands also had implications for the Lloyd building. The scheme to create a hotel and a ‘cultural embassy’ on the site was the winner of a competition held by the city in 1999.
Work started on plans to redevelop the building, which had meanwhile been neglected and was in poor condition, in 1997. The building was accorded listed building status in 2001, with the result that many elements of both the interior and exterior have been restored. The original facade with its decorative brickwork and leaded glass windows and the tower were preserved. A number of interior floors were removed in the central part of the building, producing multi-storey spaces. Daylight entry to the building was enhanced, and the sky is visible from some points in the interior.
To provide a sufficient number of rooms, floors accessed by new staircases were inserted in the side wings. Cells and barred windows which had been added for prison purposes were removed. New functional elements such as bathrooms and dining rooms were detailed in collaboration with a number of designers. Some of the rooms were designed by MVRDV and Bureau Lakenvelder, and others by the artist Joep van Lieshout. Work by the contemporary designers Christoph Seyferth, Ineke Hans, Jurgen Bey and Richard Hutten is visible in the rooms and public spaces, as are historic contributions by K.P.C. De Bazel and Gerrit Rietveld. (ARCAM/YK)