Schoonschip is Amsterdam’s innovative circular neighbourhood, a community-driven project set to become a prototype for floating urban developments. With a masterplan designed by Dutch architecture practice Space&Matter, the project comprises 46 dwellings across 30 water plots connected by a jetty and features decentralised and sustainable energy, water and waste systems. With the last of its buildings completed this year, the development showcases a valid adaptation strategy in the face of climate change and rising sea levels.
The new neighbourhood on Johan van Hasselt Canal in Amsterdam, now home to more than 100 residents, was initiated in 2010 by a group of enthusiasts set to create an energy-neutral community. Space& Matter’s urban plan reflects the cohesion of this community, featuring a jetty that connects all dwellings and mediates casual encounters between the residents, while each house preserves unobstructed views of the water. The dwellings are designed by different architecture practices, from which derives the variety of styles, building types and materials that characterises the project. Each house was manufactured off-site, incorporating the pre-requisites of the plot passport conceived by Space&Matter, who also designed two of the floating houses.
Living on the water offers a great solution for places where climate change and a rise in sea levels are a looming hazard. It not only protects people against nature, but it also protects nature itself. - Sascha Glasl, Space&Matter
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Schoonschip is designed around a specific set of values defined by the community of residents and represents an architectural vision responsive to climate change. The project is created around a circular community model and features a smart grid of solar panels that helps residents trade energy among themselves. The development also incorporates submerged heat exchangers for heating and cooling and water treatment technologies to retrieve energy and nutrients from wastewater. Additionally, the community strives to achieve local loop closure.
Moreover, the owners association wishes to share the knowledge accumulated during the decade of developing the project, fostering a breeding ground for sustainable and circular solutions. “We find it necessary and exciting to share our social and sustainable mindset with others, helping them to advance their knowledge and skills. We like to learn from others and welcome all who want to learn from us in return,” says Marjan de Blok, initiator of Schoonschip. Therefore, the project is open source and the knowledge that went into creating the residential development has been compiled on a website, detailing various aspects, from materials to food production to legal aspects.
Space&Matter is an Amsterdam-based practice with a strong focus on sustainability, participatory processes and circular design. The studio’s work centres around urban planning, striving to shape communities that can trigger valuable change within the urban environment. Space&Matter most notable projects include Object ONE, a structure that fosters adaptability and flexibility, Beekblokken Roosendaal, a development integrated architecture and nature, or De Ceuvel, consisting of reclaimed houseboats retrofitted into a super sustainable creative district.