Schoonschip is an Amsterdam based building group set up in 2011 by Space&Matter and Waterloft, after they were asked to make a feasibility study on how to develop and build a sustainable floating neighbourhood in Amsterdam.

After a few group design workshops, we had already defined the private and collective program, the urban plan and the sustainability ambition. Besides being the most sustainable neighbourhood in the Netherlands, the group has significant social aspirations and wants to become a fully sharing community. Thanks to these challenging ambitions we managed to acquire a large water plot in the North of Amsterdam in 2014. 



In close collaboration with the group, we further developed the urban plan with 30 houseboats, housing 46 families along a 900 sqm jetty. The neighbourhood is divided into five interconnected clusters. The jetty forms the backbone for the floating community, serving as public space and creating unity in the urban design. By allowing for rotated positioning of the houseboats the jetty’s particular form offers better views and visual connections.

To meet the diversity of the group and to promote variety in architecture, we developed five houseboat typologies of various sizes and shapes. For each typology, we created a set of rules and defined the maximum building size so that each household could easily instruct their own architect.

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Jetty design
The jetty connecting the individual houseboats serves as the backbone of the project. Gradually sloping down almost to water level, it is here that residents meet and socialise, with the lower and floating sections providing the perfect spot for a summer picnic and swim. The jetty’s fine wood decking gives the jetty a natural, tactile feel, while a railing on the higher parts allows for optimum use of its width. 


Sustainability plan
In 2013, Metabolic joined the team. They developed a cutting-edge sustainability plan, which will make Schoonschip a unique pilot project for sustainable city development. Space&Matter is currently supervising both the urban plan and the 20 architects who are designing the individual units. Together with Metabolic, Waterloft and the board of Schoonschip we are working hard to start building at the beginning of 2017.

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Quality monitoring

To keep track of the plan, we set up a quality monitoring committee. With our 'beeldkwaliteitsplan' and the 'kavelpaspoorten' we checked whether the designs made by the individual architects meet the high ambitions of the group.







under construction


Photography: Jan Willem Sieburgh

BartelsVedder: construction advice
Gemeente Amsterdam: project management
Grid-Friends: development smart grid
LBP Sight: sound advice
Metabolic: sustainability advice
Esther Roos / BVF project management: guidance, construction, pier and installation
SBR-Curnet: private commissions advice
Spectral Utilities: advice energy project
Tree Delft: installations advice
XA4: fire safety advice
Waterloft: project management, planning, financial advice
Waternet: partner grey water pilot