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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Hotel in The Netherlands by Mecanoo

March 30th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Mecanoo

Iconic appearance
The new Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol hotel is situated in a prominent location alongside the access roads to the international airport terminal. Because the hotel is twisted from the plinth by 45 degrees, one of the facades faces the Ceintuurbaan. This gives the hotel not only momentum, but also a visual connection with the office strip. The building is the final chord of the staccato rhythm of the WTC towers and a welcoming icon to both the Schiphol boulevard and the Ceintuurbaan. The hotel, which features a cubic design and round edges, will differ subtly from its surroundings in both shape and facade. All surrounding buildings at the airport, mainly office buildings, have orthogonal organized facades.

Facade - evening view

  • Architects: Mecanoo
  • Project: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Hotel
  • Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Development programme

  • Gross floor surface: 40,150 square meters
  • 433 guest rooms
  • Meeting and conference centre: 23 meeting rooms and a ballroom for 600 persons
  • All-day restaurant and a specialty restaurant
  • Spa & fitness
  • Lounge areas
  • An underground parking garage with 138 parking spaces

Development team

  • Developer and investor : Schiphol Real Estate, Schiphol , the Netherlands
  • Architect : Mecanoo Architects, Delft, the Netherlands
  • Interior architects : Merkx+Girod, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Hirsch Bedner Associates, London, United Kingdom
  • Lighting consultant : DPA Lighting Consultants, Deddington, United Kingdom
  • Structural engineer : ABT, Velp, the Netherlands
  • Mechanical Electric Plumbing/ Transport Consultant : Deerns Nederland BV, Schiphol, the Netherlands
  • Sustainability/Building physics/Fire consultant : DGMR Raadgevende ingenieurs, Arnhem, the Netherlands
  • Food & Beverage consultant : Vendrig International, Woerden, the Netherlands
  • Cost consultant : BBN Adviseurs, Houten, the Netherlands

Atrium level 1

The diagonal pattern of the hotel serves to emphasize the iconic appearance of the building. The facade pattern strengthens the unity of the building’s volumes by masking the individual rooms and floors of the building. The facade also harmonizes the three volumes; the plinth, the guest room tower and Schiphol Traverse. The facade will be made out of prefabricated composite sandwich panels. In fact there are just three types of panels: straight, curved and strong curved. With a smart infill they together create a random pattern façade, with a subtle shine and relief. By grouping the glass and the grey and white composite panels, a large scale diamond pattern is created, recognizable from a substantial distance.

A large atrium with a 35-metre high glass roof forms the heart of the hotel and meeting area. Mecanoo established a design with a strong identity for the atrium. The light horizontal lines of the balustrades and white elements reflect daylight deep into the building, providing an air of grandeur. Wooden slats, frames and lining create refinement and a natural, luxurious appearance. The atrium also provides a role in the energy saving climate concept. Outside air is filtered before it is introduced into the atrium where the air is preconditioned for the rooms. This climate concept results in a reduction of energy consumption.

Dutch design interior
The interior design and hotel room concept evoke ‘a touch of contemporary, innovative and fresh Dutch Design’ with strong, original forms and a natural, harmonious colour scheme. Two interior design parties, Merkx+Girod from The Netherlands, Amsterdam, and Hirsch Bedner Assocciates from the UK, London provide the design of various areas in the building, within Mecanoo’s strong base design. The ground floor houses the main public functions: the main entrance, reception and a large all-day restaurant.

Merkx + Girod designed a continuous 200 m copper wall that incorporates and connects all the different functions and facilities on the ground floor. All sorts of elements that would be found as loose pieces of equipment in the lobby and restaurant have been fitted in this wall. For example screens with meeting schedules, flight information, showcases, speakers, seating and the restaurants’ food counters. The wall is made of copper panels with perforations and profilations and encourages all senses. The LED light behind the copper wall creates the possibility to have different appearances and atmospheres during the day and make the wall very visual. Besides an acoustic function the perforations can ‘produce’ sound – music and announcements – that transform it into a ‘whispering wall’. The surface implies a tactility that invites guests to take a seat. Finally the freshly prepared food of the counters that are incorporated in the copper wall provides a nice fragrance in the restaurant. The paneling system makes it possible to replace a copper panel and fit in something new in the future.

The reception and kitchen counters have a top, front and plinth made of the same natural stone that is used on the entire floor. The bar has a different appearance.

Especially designed layed-in carpets mark the different types of seating areas, from lounge to more private. The wool carpets are inspired on Dutch bulb fields. Another Dutch treat can be found in the public toilets, where the walls are cladded with typical Dutch tiles.

Meeting area

The 1st floor an 2nd floor comprises Hilton meeting centre, a business centre with 23 meetings rooms, boardrooms, and large ballroom surrounded by various break out areas. This area is directly connected by a covered walkway, the Traverse, to Schiphol Plaza. On the first floor, with a view into the lobby and to the surroundings, is also a health club provided, with sauna and wellness centre. Levels 2 through 11 include the hotels’ guest rooms. Level 9 through 11 form the executive area, with a centrally located large executive lounge on the 10th floor. The interior of the meeting centre, as well as the health club and guestrooms are designed by HBA.

The concepts for these areas draw their inspiration from traditional Dutch handicrafts such as finely stitched lace and the motifs painted on ceramic Delft artefacts. However, these have been re-imagined through a contemporary lens to form a design that feels authentic yet also fresh and relevant for travellers today.

Sculpted with a sophisticated vibe, the public spaces feature sofas in gracefully curved minimalist shapes, clusters of dazzling Swarovski pendant lights, and a sinuously flowing wall that winds through the conference areas. Within each of the 23 meeting rooms, timber doors with detailed fretwork provide an attractive solution for concealing equipment, while the room’s acoustics are softened by plush upholstered furnishings and wool carpets whose pattern echoes delicate embroidery.

Stylised Dutch patterns have been cleverly woven throughout the décor of the ballroom. For example, service entry doors are astutely concealed by backlit wall cladding that is perforated in a modern allusion to traditional lace. Their rich metallic and cool pearl-toned palette provides an elegant contrast the dark timber finishes found in the furniture. Illuminated, precision-cut faceted crystal rods project down from the ceiling in varying lengths to create a glamorous landscape of light and reflection.

The spacious footprint of the Executive Lounge allows travellers to choose between nooks of quiet privacy and more social seating arrangements, all offering panoramic views from the 10th floor of the hotel. Whether sinking into a high-back leather armchair in a smartly designed library or catching-up with the news in the separate TV lounge, guests can relax and enjoy the hospitality in a variety of settings.

Spa & fitness
With a concept drawn from Schiphol Airport’s location four metres below sea level, the spa is designed to create a transition to another dimension, one which evokes the sense of tranquillity and stillness found in the underwater world. Discretely understated finishes such as soft sheers, upholstered walls and natural oak floors are thoughtfully woven into the space to create a calming haven from the stresses of travel. A dark and sophisticated palette has been used in the circulation and pool areas, whilst the sleek treatment rooms combine clean & neutral nuances of white and light greys.

Guest rooms
In the guestrooms, crisp whites, handsome greys and golden accents form a muted background for the vibrant splashes of the traditional Dutch shade of turquoise found in the modernised wingback chair & cushions. Bathrooms offer either a combination bathtub and shower or a generously sized walk-in shower with a large showerhead & added jets. Their lavish yet simple style features sparkling white tiles and unexpected accents such as satin gold rippled glass panels and an original Delft doorknob. Strengthened by small touches such as these, the design created by Hirsch, Bedner Associates from London is one that guests can see and feel up-close to have an experience that is authentic to modern-day Amsterdam.

The new Hilton hotel will have a 10% lower energy use than the Dutch regulation EPC. This is achieved with a combination of energy efficient measures such as heat and cold storage, low temperature heating, high return installations, energy efficient verlichting, high isolation values and especially low ZTA values for the windows.

The Hilton Amsterdam Airport hotel now operates within the Green Key measures. For the new Hilton hotel it is the ambition to operate under Green Key Gold.

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