De Zwanenhof, centre for contemplation

De Zwanenhof, situated in the heart of Twente, has developed from a catholic retreat mansion to a modern-day, heavily frequented centre for contemplation. The building, dating from 1927 and designed by architect Sleiderink from Delden, has been executed in the Late New-Amsterdam style: articulate, craftsman-like, matter-of-fact, sober. Much of the stylish structure and the adjoining gardens remain as they were. Spirituality and contemplation still take pride of place in the order of the day. However, a number of reconstructions and renovations have caused the building lose some of its appeal and authenticity. 
After taking stock of the existing building and the organization, the following challenge presented itself: how does one create a modern feel, attractive for visitors in every age group, whilst at the same time underlining the original historical qualities? How does one re-establish a central space, functioning as the building's heart? How does one create the desperately needed extra space and improve the flow of traffic in the building? In addition, a concept was required that could be applied in the rest of the building at a later time. Soda's departure point for the job was an appraisal of the the existing architecture. The old garden room was restored to its former state, now however in the shape of a 'grand café', a space for hospitality and a restaurant. The conservatory was divided into a lounge and a buffet space, with direct access to the gardens in between. The accessibility of the rooms and the outside space was improved markedly, also for the lesser mobile. The stuffy corridor, which served as the main artery to the conference rooms before, assumed a dynamic and transparent quality as a result of the new routing and the casement doors. The three rooms were supplied with furniture featuring natural materials, flexibility and high quality. The tables were designed by Soda.
 In the huge attics of De Zwanenhof, many surprise finds presented themselves, such as parts of the former household properties: chairs, cabinets, lamps, photographs and paraphernalia, together reflecting eighty years of history of interiors in The Netherlands. Supplemented with chairs from the fifties by Møller, Pastoe and others, many of these pieces were re-instated in a modern set-up, as symbols of continuity, renewal and durability. De Zwanenhof has reinvented itself as a building with a soul. Soda also supervised the realization of the plan.