Balancing the needs of the group

The members of Wij_land, an Amsterdam-based self-build collective, are united by the wish to live together in a less individualistic way, close to the city yet in a tranquil location near the waterfront. Importantly, they want to develop and live in a close-knit community and all care about minimising their environmental footprint. 

In a series of eight workshops, we discussed ambitions, typologies, circulation, and sustainability with the members of Wij_land. Based on their input, we set out to design a unique cohabitation form that would effectively balance their needs: individuality and privacy, on the one hand, and a strong sense of community, on the other.

“We are a socially conscious and very diverse community of people composed of many different nationalities, backgrounds, ideals and ages.”
— Mireille Capiau, initiator Wij_land

Unique apartments and shared spaces

We designed multiple typologies and five shared spaces to accommodate Wij_land’s wishes. Residents can choose whether they want to live in a garden maisonette, panorama house or a home-work studio for example. Each type of home comes in different sizes so as to accommodate the diverse households that are a part of Wij_land, ranging from 50 to 120 square meters. 

Residents determine and develop the infill of the five shared spaces, which include a rooftop conservatory, guesthouse and a yoga/sports studio. An oversized pergola houses spacious balconies and doubles as secondary circulation space; at the same time, it encourages residents to walk up and down the building and so contributes to the sense of community.

A rainproof building

Wij_land strives to be a climate-neutral building and makes use of low-maintenance, nature-friendly materials and - where possible - reused or leftover remnants. The design is rainproof and integrates a lot of greenery for extra water collection and the attraction of bees and other fauna. Once realised, there will be solar panels, a thermal energy storage system and a worm hotel.

wij_land in the making