Contemporary facade of NH hotel, Utrecht by Zecc Architects
Utrecht-based architectural practice Zecc Architects has designed the Sidewalk project. Completed in 2014, the contemporary facade was commissioned by the Municipality of Utrecht for the NH Hotel, The Netherlands.
After eliminating the parking garage next to the NH hotel a huge demolition site was left. This ‘undesigned’ façade is however prominently visible from the station square and the new tram stop. Commissioned by the Municipality of Utrecht Zecc Architects has designed a new façade for the NH Hotel.
Zecc started out with a ragged silhouette made up of various parts of the buildings that were revealed after the demolition of the parking garage. It was a messy appearance. Through a long horizontal feature the architects restored serenity in the façade. Next to the wall there are taxi stands and a tram stop. As a consequence of these adjacent facilities a bench has been included in the design for the waiting public to enjoy the sun whilst sitting down.
Recycled paving stones
The wall is built up from reused broken paving stones. The broken tiles give a tough impression that suits the present-day NH Hotel and the urban feel of the location. Different masonry techniques are used and so create interplay with the surroundings. The outlines of the bench have for example been taken into account, as well as street lighting. The latter will have a beautiful floodlight effect on the wall. By these different linkages the long wall becomes interesting for passing pedestrians through its entire length. Besides a nice look, the rough stone surface will prevent the attachment of advertisements. The same goes for graffiti.
The right side of the wall has a reserved space for the NH logo. This marks the side entrance of the hotel which faces the exit of Utrecht central station.
To decrease the intuitive height of the wall as much as possible, a different material is used from four meters up in height. This board material is also used to panel the emergency staircase on the left side and also covers the installations on the roof. The board material is applied in a nature stone pattern to make a playful reference to the materialization of the square below.
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