'Sluishuis' apartment block 'floats' off Amsterdam

·2-min read

This remarkable 'floating' city block, the new Sluishuis, is located between the dense city and vast landscapes on the edge of Amsterdam.

It fully embraces the idea of living on the water and appears different from every vantage point. Toward the water, the block is lifted up, forming a large opening that brings water from the IJ Lake into the courtyard and brings daylight and views to the complex's inner apartments.

"Having spent my formative years as an architect in Holland at the end of the 20th century, it feels like a homecoming to now get to contribute to the architecture of the city that I have loved and admired for so long," says Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG. "Our Sluishuis is conceived as a city block of downtown Amsterdam floating in the IJ Lake, complete with all aspects of city life."

A promenade winds around the building and continues into the water, forming an archipelago of islands with houseboats, a sailing school, and floating gardens.

A public passage climbs the cascading terraces of the building, serving as a small rooftop street that eventually loops onto the very top of the building to create a viewing platform over the IJ Lake. The passage will not only create a destination for visitors and neighbours but will connect the residential units to each other and create a unique three-dimensional community between the residents of the building.

The silhouette of Sluishuis will change as one moves around the building. At one vantage point, it appears as the bow of a ship that reflects the water below; at another, a vertical green community that invites visitors to engage directly with it; and finally as a true urban block with street access and city liveliness that is to be enjoyed by residents, neighbours, and the rest of Amsterdam.

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