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After four centuries, ArsenaalDelft is truly part of the city

lucas van der wee | cepezed

Last night, mayor Marja van Bijsterveldt opened ArsenaalDelft. cepezed was closely involved in the careful transformation of this national monument into a hotel, exhibition space and restaurant. The centuries-old armory, which accommodated the Army Museum for the past decades, has been restorted to perfect condition. Two graceful new pedestrian bridges connect ArsenaalDelft with the city.

Ministry of War
From 1602 to 2013, weapons were the order of the day at Arsenaal Delft. That is how far back the history of this complex goes. For centuries, the buildings served as an ammunition depot and warehouse. In 1948, the Dutch Ministry of War moved in. Between 1989 and 2013, the location was changed into a public function with the Army Museum, although it remained an island in the city with limited access over a narrow quay. In 2015, Driestar BV bought the premises and redeveloped the national monument together with cepezedprojects into an exhibition space, restaurant and hotel. Meanwhile, Expo Arsenaal, Loetje, and Westcordhave taken up their residence in this image-defining complex.

The transformation of ArsenaalDelft was a challenge. It is a national monument with a rich history, and little maintenance had been carried out since 1981. The necessary zoning change took three year. cepezed used this period to restore the casco. Among other things, wood rot, flaking plaster, overdue paintwork, roofs and gutters were tackled. The adaptations for fitting in the new functions started in 2017 with a 3D laser scan. Aspects that were not on existing drawings immediately became clear with that scan: the most obvious that the floors and walls of the interior spaces were crooked, which is not surprising for a four hundred year old building.

harmony in contrast
It was quite a puzzle to fit in the new functions. Because of the monument status, interventions had to be reversible and the main structure could not be tampered with. Interventions were limited to what was necessary and had to be carried out with care. Where necessary for the function change bricked-up windows and passages have been reopened. Existing structural elements and window openings largely determined the position of the 63 hotel rooms: installation shafts could only be created where the existing structure permitted it.
New additions are modern, in this manner the interventions are clearly visible - yet cepezed always sought harmony in this contrast. The sanitary units of the hotel rooms have been designed as prefabricated boxes. The inner courtyard of the building from 1602 now features a glass roof, providing extra space for the restaurant and a better perception of the courtyard. The three new users took care of the finishing and styling of the interiors themselves. The completion of ArsenaalDelft will be marked by the replacing of the temporary straight pontoons with the tapered floating terrace in front of the Quay at Loetje. In the meantime visitors can already have a drink, dine and stay overnight.

‘The old grandeur of the former Armamentarium is back in the city', said Mayor Marja van Bijsterveldt in her speech yesterday. She finds it 'wonderful to see what has happened here in the past few years' and recalls the enthusiasm with which Driestar and cepezed started the project. ‘You saw what was possible. You saw the potential of this historical building. You gave this part of the historical inner city an enormous impulse'. Van Bijsterveldt appreciated the efforts of cepezed and especially pointed out the two new bridges, which, according to her, not only connect the Arsenal with the surrounding canals, but are also a 'symbolic bridging' and a 'helping hand to the city'.

ArsenaalDelft exudes the versatility of the cepezed firm of architects, which has separate departments for project development, interior design, and construction coordination. These expertises complemented each other seamlessly here. cepezedprojects was involved in the purchase, the permit and zoning procedures and the search for operators. cepezed redesigned the casco and designed the bridges while cepezedbouwteam supervised the execution and remains involved in the management phase.

lucas van der wee | cepezed
lucas van der wee | cepezed
lucas van der wee | cepezed
lucas van der wee | cepezed