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February 6, 2021

Living on the Water: i29 architect’s Floating Home for the Schoonschip Village

Rising sea levels and high-density housing needs are both obstacles for those who dream of a relaxed life on the waterfront, but this project could be the solution to both.

Revitalising a disused canal in the north of Amsterdam, Schoonschip (meaning ‘clean ship’ in Dutch) will be a new residential village where every building floats on the water. Space&Matter, the urban planners leading the project, want to ‘create Europe’s most sustainable floating community’, and one of the new properties, known as Floating Home, is proof that these ideals can be executed with style.

Like all of the forty-six houses that will form part of Schoonschip, Floating Home makes use of many modern sustainability solutions that mean the village will not only move with rising sea levels, but is also conscious of reducing the environmental impact that causes it. All buildings make use of solar panels, circular materials, and a water pump system that warms the homes using heat from the canal itself. The jetty that serves as a pathway between the houses on the surface also connects their services, allowing energy to be shared for higher efficiency and for waste and water lines to be treated collectively in order to achieve the greatest benefits. This community-focused construction set a baseline of sustainability for properties in Schoonschip, but with plot owners able to choose their own architect to complete the design, each home remains uniquely suited to the vision of those who will live there.


For Floating Home, the owners tasked Amsterdam-based firm i29 architects with creating a design that was ‘typical yet surprising’. The house maximises the use of the plot’s limited space by building a simple square structure that fits perfectly within the property boundaries, but the black stained timber exterior ensures this standard shape still feels dramatic and interesting. The typical pitched roof is also made distinct by cutting the western edge of the coping diagonally up the structure, opening up the roof of the dining terrace and maximising the natural light flowing through the space and into the kitchen. It’s a great example of i29’s dedication to intertwining architecture and interior design, creating a feature that makes optimal use of the space while creating a bespoke exterior look.

This emphasis on natural light and the economic use of little space remains a staple of the design throughout the house. A central atrium around the staircase stretches from the basement, which sits mostly below the water level, all the way to the top floor, allowing daylight to filter through the house and bounce beautifully around the white interiors. Carefully placed windows also take advantage of the canal and harbour views, whether peering out at the water level from the basement-level bedrooms or creating snippets of a panorama that appear and disappear as you climb to higher levels. Not only are the views stunning, but the windows also open up the home and prevent any room from feeling too cramped as the design makes the most out of every space.

Stylish, economical, and environmentally conscious, Floating Home is a beautiful example of home design adapting to the future. As one of the many Schoonschip homes that is almost complete, it serves as a shining gem of the village that is set to be a showcase for sustainable living.

 

For more eco-friendly city design, see our feature on the proposed Pekuliari luxury residence in Quebec.


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