Junkiehotel Utrecht – BAR

BAR Architecten has converted a historic building on Maliebaan in Utrecht into a hotel for drug addicts. A stack of ivy-covered service modules structures the spatial organisation of the complex.

The 'Junkie Hotel' on Maliebaan can accommodate 28 homeless people addicted to hard drugs. The scheme is part of a municipal drive to provide relief for 200 homeless addicts from around the city. In addition to offering shelter, the hotel aims to offer healthcare for addicts, help the homeless structure their lives and assist them in the process of reintegration into society.

The Junkie Hotel is divided into two parts. The monumental building accommodates 22 occupants in two groups. Each occupant has a private room and can make use of a communal living room and kitchen. Space for a further six elderly homeless people is contained in the garden house, a separate building in the garden to the rear.

The main building is a historic monument made up of two identical, mirrored volumes behind a common façade. Staff facilities occupy the ground floor of both volumes. Arranged directly behind the façade are spaces for reception, administration, meeting, kitchen and treatment. A centrally located corridor covered with ivy connects the staff spaces and contains the necessary storage space. Entrances on both sides of the staff spaces lead to the two accommodation units. Living room, recreation space and bedrooms are located on three levels at the front and back of the complex. Occupying the remaining central space is a service module that can be accessed from each level. Inside the module are kitchen, toilet, bathroom, storage and technical spaces. Variation in the programme and in the residual space on each level results in a composition of stacked volumes. Reinforcing the autonomy of the stacked composition is the fact that the height of the volumes doesn't correspond with the height of the levels. The different modules give each level its spatial identity, while the composition of the three levels together generates the form of the entire complex. Covering the stacked volumes is a photographic print of Hedera Helix on Formica (photo by Rob 't Hart), which, according to the architects, eases the transition from outside to inside for the homeless.