BIG designs an energy efficient residential complex in Amsterdam shaped like the bow of a ship

Bjarke Ingels Group and Barcode Architects collaborated to create ‘Sluishuis’ – an angular residential complex placed above the IJ Lake in Amsterdam. The structure’s sharp geometric ends meet in the air, water, and land, creating a mesmerizing structure that seems to be jutting into the sky while resembling the bow of a ship! It is constructed on an artificial island in the IJ Lake and forms a geometrically-intriguing gateway from the lake.

Designer: Bjarke Ingels Group x Barcode Architects

“Our Sluishuis is conceived as a city block of downtown Amsterdam floating in the IJ lake, complete with all aspects of city life. Towards the city, the building kneels down to invite visitors to climb its roof and enjoy the panoramic view of the new neighborhoods on the IJ,” said BIG founding partner Bjarke Ingels.

Sluishuis was built while paying respect to the naval history of the Netherlands, and the fact that water plays a major role in the city of Amsterdam. BIG wanted to celebrate this heritage, and Amsterdam’s relationship with water while constructing the structure. The residential complex consists of 442 apartments – both owner-occupied and rental. You get stunning views from every side and angle of the building. You can quite literally sip your morning tea while watching boats sail beneath you!  “We have tried to design a building with a surprisingly changing perspective and a unique contemporary character, which reflects the identity of the future residents and all users of Sluishuis,” said Dirk Peters, a founding partner at Barcode Architects.

Four large blocks make up the entire development. Two blocks are positioned on either side of the square. They are cantilevered to create a unique opening above the water. While the other two blocks form terraces with apartments opening out on top balconies. All four blocks are positioned around a courtyard, which leads to the water. A sailing school, a water sports center, and a restaurant with a terrace are placed on the ground floor. The blocks above the ground floor include apartments of different sizes – from studios to penthouses. The two floors on the top hold the duplex penthouses.

All the apartments have been equipped with triple-glazing, great insulation, and heat recovery from the showers and ventilation systems. In fact, the entire building is solar-powered! The energy is provided by 2200 square meters of solar panels. The energy-neutral structure has also been amped with plenty of green areas and a floating garden.

BIG’s Sluishuis is an excellent example of how large structures can be built without disrupting the environment and by paying respect to Mother Earth.