Sustainable city block offers life on the lake in Amsterdam

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BIG says that the silhouette of Sluishuis will look like the bow of a ship from the water(Credit: BIG / Barcode Architects)

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Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has collaborated with Barcode Architects to design an impressive looking mixed-use project for a lake in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that will include zero-energy residences and be accessible by boat, car, and foot. The design brings to mind BIG's award-winning Via 57 West, in the way it riffs on the classic European courtyard building.

Dubbed Sluishuis (or Lock House), the project is the result of an architectural competition and will be situated on the water at Amsterdam's IJ Lake. The building will include a total of 380 zero-energy residences – that is, homes that produce roughly as much energy as they use – around 4,000 sq m (43,055 sq ft) of commercial and common areas, 240 underground parking spaces, and mooring for up to 30 houseboats.

Like Via 57 West, the design is based on a classic European courtyard housing block. The city-facing side features a cutaway and a series of cascading terraces with an integrated public path that leads to a viewing platform on the roof.

The water-facing side is raised, letting water into the courtyard and allowing access by boat. This lifted section will also improve views in the courtyard and increase daylight.

"Having spent my formative years as an architect in Holland at the end of the 20th century, it feels like a homecoming to now get to contribute to the architecture of the city that I have loved and admired for so long," says firm head Bjarke Ingels. "Our Sluishuis is conceived as a city block of downtown Amsterdam floating in the IJ Lake, complete with all aspects of city life."

The project will include a promenade surrounding the building, forming an artificial archipelago of sorts that hosts the houseboat moorings, a sailing school and floating gardens.

BIG says that the silhouette of Sluishuis will change depending on the viewing angle, again reminiscent of Via 57 West. From the water it will look like the bow of a ship (a recurring theme for the firm) and from the city it'll look like a welcoming green community.

Naturally, with the homes being referred to as zero-energy, we can expect significant sustainable design for this one. On this note, all we know so far is that the project will endeavor to reduce the environmental impact during construction, limit total CO2 emissions, and will feature the use of renewable resources. There's no word on the expected date of completion.

Source: BIG

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