The NDSM Wharf is the historic remnant of Amsterdam’s once-great shipbuilding industry. The national monument the ‘Smederij’, consisted of a main forge dated 1909 and five smaller workshops. GROUP A is responsible for the transformation of the former forge-complex into a hotel and inspiring work environment commissioned by Mediawharf Monumenten.
The total transformation began in 2009, with the reconstruction of the four pitched roofed workshops. Completed in 2011 and leased to Red Bull. The former workshops were in such poor condition that the developers decided to demolish them and start over, using the steel roof spans for the new building. By adding characteristic high sliding doors in NDSM blue, these buildings complement with the familiar industrial sphere of the wharf.
By transforming the former forge, a hall of 36-by-45 meter, the brickwork has been cleaned and left intact. Where bricks were missing, the hole was filled with authentic bricks. Glass wall sections were installed where needed for the building’s new function. Inside the forge, the industrial character is retained by maintaining the monumental steel structure. Columns and trusses were only sandblasted and received no further treatment, which gives them a striking contrast to the white new interior. The 14 meter high atrium, with original crane bridge and the large wooden stairway form the heart of the forge. Daylight reaches the ground floor from the shed roofs. The industrial stairway with balcony on the first floor is used by Greenpeace Netherlands, one of the tenants of the forge.
The hotel tower was built on the site of the pitched roofed workshop left standing adjacent to the Smederij. By lifting the roof up 30 meters, a tall, slim tower is created that serves as a beacon on the NDSM Wharf. From an urban planning perspective, this project demanded a 360-degree design with a raised element, in order to create more of a visual connection between city and wharf.
The transformation has breathed new life into the Smederij, restoring the soul of the original complex. The combination of old and new, light and dark steel turns the Smederij into an inspiring new place to work and relax in Amsterdam. The finished product is a model of Dutch industrial heritage, repackaged for contemporary office spaces and a hotel.