Schoonschip is an Amsterdam based building group that aims to develop and build their own sustainable floating neighborhood in Amsterdam. In 2011, Space&Matter and Waterloft were asked to make a feasibility study on how to realize this ambition.

Within a few group design workshops we had defined the private and collective program, the urban plan and the sustainability ambition. Besides being the most sustainable neighborhood 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 5 interconnected clusters. The jetty forms the backbone for the floating community. It serves as public space and creates unity in the urban design. Its specific form allows rotated positioning of the houseboats and therefore better views and visual connections.

To meet the diversity of the group and to promote variety in architecture, we developed 5 houseboat typologies of various size and shape. 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.

  V iew from the jetty

View from the jetty


Jetty design

The jetty connecting the individual houseboats serves as the backbone of the project. This is where people meet and gather. The jetty gradually slopes down to almost water level. The lower and floating jetties are perfect for a summer picnic and  swim. To make optimum use of the width of the jetty, the higher parts have a railing. The decking made of fine wood makes the jetty look natural and tactile to the feet. 


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.


Quality monitoring

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







under construction


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