The best of both worlds
Who wouldn’t want to play a part in designing their own neighbourhood? The future residents of the pioneering Floating Gardens project get to do this. The new, sustainable complex in Amsterdam not only has a school, but also sets out to teach others what sustainable living is all about.
It’s going to be a special place. One that highlights the contrast between small community and big city – and offers the best of both worlds: lots of green spaces, places to meet and talk, and vibrant city living. The project is also intended as a driver of transformation for a new neighbourhood. We are talking about Floating Gardens, a new complex in Amsterdam designed by Orange Architects. It is being built in Sloterdijk, on the site of the existing SITA office. And the architects are convinced: “With Floating Gardens, we are creating a place where pioneers can actively contribute to the development of their building and their neighbourhood.
The complex was designed on behalf of Synchroon, the real estate developer who had a hand in Powerhouse Company’s fabulous new building “5-Tracks” in Breda. The Floating Gardens project came about in partnership with the city and is yet another exciting new build that is set to enrich Amsterdam. After all, a complex with floating single-family houses is also on the agenda there. As is the extravagant expansion of and around the Fashion House.
Transformation of a neighbourhood
The construction machinery for Floating Gardens is already at work. Plans for the project envisage 190 apartments and an all-in-one school housed in the building plinth. The zone around Sloterdijk railway station is rapidly evolving into a mixed residential and office quarter. Sloterdijk Centre will form the heart of a large city district called Haven-Stad.
Sloterdijk, once a village, has long been a part of Amsterdam, located approximately three kilometres northwest of the city centre. It currently features an international, but mono-functional office quarter, in combination with surprisingly calm areas such as Orlyplein and the BRET garden. Another distinctive feature is its location in the heart of the green wedge of the Bretten zone.
Mixed use in a green space
The development zone is situated between Westerpark and Bretten nature reserve. This means that Sloterdijk has the potential to become a fully-fledged part of this green network as it offers space for new initiatives. And this potential is now going to be harnessed, thanks to the development of a future-oriented urban district. A neighbourhood with relaxing green spaces and attractive mixed use.
The Floating Gardens complex will lend Sloterdijk an unmistakable “face”. And its all-in-one school aims to fulfil a special purpose: to aid the transformation into a mixed residential and office quarter.
Quality of life on multiple levels
Because of its location on the outskirts of the Bretten zone, particular attention has been paid to integrating the project into the landscape and to green rooftop gardens. This is why the building is deliberately made up of layers of different sizes. These allow the creation of green areas on different levels, to improve both biodiversity in the city and the well-being of residents. In addition, a large overhang on the entrance side of the school functions as a spacious lobby for the entrance to the park.
The building is deliberately made up of layers of different sizes, thereby allowing green rooftop gardens to be created at various levels.
The residents of the first residential building form a select group. They are to become catalysts for Sloterdijk’s transformation, so to speak. A programme is being developed for this group that focuses on three factors: sustainability, shared facilities and inspiration.
Common living room
“Sharing is the latest craze!” says Orange Architects. In this spirit, the Living Room is a centrepiece of the new building. In addition to the green outdoor area, this shared space will be open to users as an informal meeting place. Here, Floating Gardens residents will be able to read the newspaper, work on their laptops, eat with neighbours or friends, or simply enjoy a drink.
Feel-good zone: Floating Gardens
The team from Orange Architects describes the idea behind it like this: “The Living Room creates a sense of community and vibrancy inside the building. It ensures that the mental living space of residents is bigger than that of their own studio apartment.” The stated aim: the best possible quality of life.
Sustainability is a major factor in the concept for the 22,500 m² complex. The rooftop gardens are therefore an essential element. As is the choice of materials used for the building. The entire façade is designed to create sustainable living space.
Harnessing the power of the sun
The horizontal façade strips consist of white solar panels that function as fixed sunshade devices. Combined with the solar energy system on the roof, these will contribute to ensuring that Floating Gardens meets the BENG requirements for nearly energy-neutral buildings.
A good outlook
Vertical, printed glass panels provide protection from noise and wind. The large number of inviting outdoor areas also shows all the signs of very comfortable living. Wooden cladding and planters will give Floating Gardens a green, natural look. Orange Architects’ design has everything that forward-looking users want. And these are exactly who are needed when a neighbourhood is to be transformed.
that might interest you
Sustainability is reaching new heights for the new design of Dock A at Zurich Airport. In the design competition organized by Flughafen Zurich AG, the jury selected “Raumfachwerk”, a project submitted by BIG, HOK and 10:8 Architekten consisting primarily of timber.
The filling station of the future will be not just fossil-free, green and clean, but also a place where motorway travellers can relax and recuperate. With this in mind, a modular, ultra-fast charging station built with timber has been designed by Danish architectural studio Cobe.
The Grid is a special kind of building that has been designed for Amsterdam by Dutch firm KCAP. Recently completed, this apartment block looks as if it were made entirely of balconies. And that’s by no means all that makes it such a liveable home.
Sustainable, individual yet blending in perfectly with the ensemble: this is the description given to the “water house” to be built by KCAP on Hamburg’s waterfront. It will be a future-oriented residential tower that will provide the HafenCity with another example of stimulating architecture.
The first five-storey hotel in mass timber design is located in Zillertal, Austria, created by celebrated Italian architect Matteo Thun. It is no coincidence that one of the leading players in structural timber construction is based only a stone’s throw away.
Stefano Boeri is regarded as a pioneer of biodiverse architecture. The Torre dei Cedri planned for the outskirts of Lausanne will be another of his spectacular towers. This time, the vertical forest will consist of over 80 trees.
A special kind of discovery world is taking shape in Gothenburg, where Swedish vehicle manufacturer Volvo is using timber construction and nature to create its World of Volvo. The components and engineering for Henning Larsen’s design are being provided by Austrian firm Wiehag.
Danish architects 3XN are operating a separate division called GXN that develops green innovations. In this interview, Kim Herforth Nielsen and Kåre Poulsgaard talk about behavioural design, carbon as a market driver, and their radical high-rise project in Sydney.
As Dusseldorf’s Theodor Heuss Bridge needs a complete overhaul, the team at RKW Architektur + put their heads together – and produced a spectacular new design. It is literally packed with potential.
The town of Jessheim is getting an impressive new centre. Designed by Norwegian firm Mad arkitekter, it promises to combine sustainable urban development with attractive indoor and outdoor areas.
The Kajstaden Tall Timber Building in Sweden marks the beginning of a new generation of mass timber blocks. Using this building material saves around 500 tonnes of CO₂, and it also facilitates deconstruction later on.
There’s a rocket preparing to launch in Switzerland. The residential timber high-rise named Rocket in Winterthur’s Lokstadt neighbourhood will reach a height of 100 metres. The tower’s residents will be part of the 2000-watt society.
May we introduce Carl? Using timber for its facade besides the supporting structure, the apartment block is currently under construction in Pforzheim. Architect Peter W. Schmidt explains how this is being done.
Kautokeino skole in northern Norway is a project that seeks to embrace the uniqueness of Sami culture and educational style. The mass wood building is so hygge, you’ll want to check in for a few nights.
Canada’s megaproject Waterfront Toronto includes a new district called Quayside, an all-electric and climate-neutral community. Its highlights are a two-acre urban forest and the residential Timber House by architect David Adjaye.
The city of San Diego in Southern California has plans for a new district, one that will be entirely void of cars. Known as Neighborhood Next, it must be one of the most radical projects in the USA.
The new urban quarter Zwhatt near Zurich is designed to enable climate-neutral living at affordable prices. One of its buildings is a 75-metre-high timber hybrid tower known as Redwood, whose facade generates solar power.
Timber construction can be decidedly high-tech, as illustrated by the head office built for SR Bank in Stavanger, Norway. Bjergsted Financial Park offers workplaces that are fit for the future, and it is among Europe’s largest engineered timber buildings.
HafenCity Hamburg is an urban quarter fit for the future. Its eco cherry on the top is the “Null-Emissionshaus” (Zero Emissions Building), which is completely carbon-neutral – and can be dismantled like a Lego house.
Researchers at Cambridge University are helping to turn London’s spectacular vision of a wooden skyscraper into reality. The Oakwood Timber Tower is to rise 300 metres into the sky, almost level with the tallest building in the city.
What used to be a single-purpose neighbourhood is being transformed into a versatile motor of urban progress: Eindhoven is turning its railway station district in Fellenoord into a buzzing new area where all kinds of innovations are set to flourish.
The eco-friendly residential project Roots will be the new landmark of Hamburg’s HafenCity and the tallest timber high-rise in Germany. Architect Jan Störmer reveals what its future residents will have in common.
The Danish office 3XN is planning to build North America’s tallest timber office building in Toronto. Called T3 Bayside, the complex will offer more than 500,000 sq. ft. of next-generation office space when completed.
Oslo was once built entirely of wood. The project chosen to redesign the area around its railway station heralds the return of this traditional building material to the Scandinavian metropolis. A spectacular office tower with an innovative hub is being developed, named Fjordporten.
Dutch architectural firm Gaaga has designed a residential building in Eindhoven that is distinctly people- and environment-friendly. Surrounded by trees, it is situated in the middle of a park.
An office building is being constructed in Madrid that even does some work itself: generating solar power. More power than it actually needs.
A woodland of man-made and native trees has sprung up in Shanghai, named Solar Trees Marketplace. It even generates its own solar power.
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and Australian artist Geoff Nees teamed up to design the Botanical Pavilion – a wooden pavilion that is constructed like a 3D puzzle – without using any kind of glue or screws.
Japanese architectural firm UENOA has created a wooden office that has no need for bearing walls. Folded origami-style, the ceiling construction gives a whole new lightness to cross-laminated timber.
In 2021, IKEA will open its most innovative furniture store to date in Vienna. Designed by querkraft architects, the city store will bring cooling greenery to the Westbahnhof neighbourhood. For climate protection, against climate change – and GREENPASS Platinum-certified.
There is a new building taking shape in New Orleans that fits perfectly with two very pressing issues: the new Ochsner Center for Innovation will be devoted to developing modern healthcare solutions. The project, which has already won numerous awards, is geared wholly towards sustainability.
A good four years ago, OXO Architectes and Sou Fujimoto embarked on an adventure called Mille Arbres – a mega-project with a plant biotope over Paris’s famous Périphérique ring road.
Sustainability is a top priority for the Powerhouse Company. In an interview, partner Stefan Prins explains why this means more than just a careful choice of materials and energy efficiency, and how essential it is to consider all the changes brought about by climate change when building.
EU President Ursula von der Leyen wants to put climate neutrality centre stage. The first official related project is called Sunflower House and is based on the internal workings of sunflowers.
The Life Cycle Tower One was the first timber high-rise in Austria and the prototype for a new type of serial construction. CREE founder Hubert Rhomberg explains the green building concept and why we have to learn to think in lifecycles.
Milan’s iconic but disused Pirellino office building is to be renovated in spectacular style and renamed Pirelli 39. Its special greenery will even adapt its colours to the passing seasons…
Most people looking for a new home with a sustainable design need to have deep pockets. Rotterdam’s Pendrecht district aims to buck this trend courtesy of timber building Valckensteyn, the brainchild of the architects at Powerhouse Company.
In Düsseldorf, The Cradle is gradually taking shape. The timber hybrid office building is being constructed according to circular economy principles, and these will also govern its future use.
The Dutch city of Eindhoven will soon be home to the world’s highest “plyscraper”. The two towers – 100 and 130 metres high and known as the Dutch Mountains – are to set new standards in high-rise timber construction.
Workplace ahoy! Architecture studio Powerhouse Company has designed a concept for a floating office building. Sustainable, energy-neutral and made of wood, it will serve as the headquarters for the Global Center on Adaptation in Rotterdam as of autumn 2020.
A mixed-use project in Sweden’s Gothenburg is being crowned by star architect Dorte Mandrup. The jewel in this crown is its use of timber. The new eco construction is intended to become an icon in sustainable urban architecture.
Following an initial defeat by the authorities, in the second leg Zaha Hadid Architects managed to gain planning permission for the world’s first timber football stadium.
The ancient Romans used to bathe in healing waters here, and aristocrats from all over the world came to socialize during the Belle Époque. The historic baths in France’s thermal spa resort Aix-les-Bains are now on course for new fame: eco-architect Vincent Callebaut is turning them into a green paradise.
Once Europe’s largest freight station, Brussels’ monumental Gare Maritime is now the largest European CLT project. Neutelings Riedijk Architects have transformed the historic structure into a covered district, giving it a sustainable new lease of life using cross-laminated timber.