Text description provided by the architects. Tapping into the open building movement, Superlofts offers its residents the freedom to design and/or self-build their homes from scratch incorporating any hybrid function, and co-create the shared spaces as a community.
Resilient buildings can adapt and evolve to a city’s ever-changing programme and the lifestyles of the people who inhabit them. Unfortunately as older building stock becomes obsolete this results in wasted empty or under-utilised space. For example, in the Netherlands, the estimated total building vacancy is five times the number of new buildings constructed annually. Moreover, buildings that are unable to adapt to changing needs have to be demolished, creating enormous waste and pollution. Estimates suggest that buildings are responsible for 36% of C02 emissions and 40% of energy consumption in the EU. Superlofts follows the Open Building approach, utilising a flexible and open framework that easily adapts to changing cycles of use and maintenance to facilitate a circular and resilient way of building. Its building systems can be updated in independent cycles without wasting materials or demolishing the building. For example, the support structure can be used endlessly, facades are updated every 25 years, installations (HVAC systems) every decade and interiors every 5 years. Each system can be reused or recycled in independent cycles, tapping into the emerging circular economy.
Superlofts promotes a high quality of life that urban residents demand today. As a healthy building it’s constructed using clean energy, sustainable materials, energy-efficient installations and its high quality interiors feature plentiful natural air, light and greenery. Healthy buildings result in happier residents and healthier cities.
Superlofts appeals to a growing community of individuals, with creative and entrepreneurial mindsets, who live new hybrid lifestyles with specific spatial demands. The possibilities of combining a home with an office or atelier, music studio or commercial kitchen are restricted in conventional housing; the blank canvas that Superlofts offers makes these hybrid forms of living possible.
The concept was inspired by an MKA-designed residential retrofit (House like village) of an industrial harbour building, and was then applied in an experimental home owners’ cooperative called De Hoofden. MKA developed the project further as Superlofts into an international network of building communities, with both buyers and renters. Five Superlofts have been completed in Amsterdam (Buiksloterham and Houthaven) and Utrecht, projects in Groningen, Amsterdam and Delft are under construction. Sites in seven international cities are being researched.