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Design Reduce, reuse,


he SWEETS hotel in Amsterdam, which opened in stages from 2018, is one of the more unusual renovation projects of recent years. Designed by Dutch architecture practice Space&Matter (in collaboration with Grayfield and Seven New Things), it consists of 28 disused bridgekeepers’ houses, dispersed across Amsterdam’s network of canals. Because the bridge houses function as hotel suites and the canals as corridors – with the local restaurants and bars taking the place of any centralised facilities – the hotel is effectively the city itself. It would be hard to dream up a more topographically interesting design.


T


“In all the hotel suites, you experience Amsterdam from the inside out,” says Tjeerd Haccou, co-founder


repurpose


As the climate crisis grows more urgent, the focus on sustainable design strategies is shaping how hotels are planned and built. These approaches range from retrofitting


existing properties to wholesale renovation schemes. Abi Millar speaks to Tjeerd Haccou, co-founder of design studio Space&Matter, and profiles the buildings enjoying a new lease of life as creative, contemporary hotels.


of Space&Matter. “All 28 cottages are in special locations – in the middle of the Amstel River, in an idyllic spot by a lock near the Noorderpark, right next to the Hortus [botanical gardens]. But inside, guests can admire the city from a different perspective, from a quiet, safe spot.” The bridge houses range in size from 12–70m2


,


and were built between 1673 and 2009, each with its own distinct character. Some initially seemed too small to accommodate a bed, let alone a bathroom, seating and storage. “We found innovative and out-the-box solutions to ensure that each cottage was comfortably equipped with everything guests needed,” says Haccou. “For example, the Nieuwe Amstelbrug bridgekeepers’ house had an original floor area of only a few square


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Hotel Management International / www.hmi-online.com Hotel Management International / www.hmi-online.com


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