De Ceuvel
by Space&Matter

In 2012, Amsterdam’s municipality launched a tender for the regeneration of a former ship wharf turned post-industrial wasteland in North Amsterdam.

The conditions of the tender were simple: it had to provide a workplace for creative industries, and have an underlying focus on sustainability.

The site conditions were not very straightforward. The soil quality was so poor that digging into the ground was prohibited, making it impossible to apply conventional building foundations or sewage and water systems.

Space&Matter and partners won the tender with an ambitious plan centered around 16 retrofitted houseboats which have been taken out of the water and placed on land.

Along with Space&Matter, Smeelearchitecture, Jeroen Apers, Marcel van Wees, Metabolic, DELVA, Bureau Fonkel, Studio Valkenier, and Waterloft took part in the process.

The houseboats are connected by a raised walkway which acts as a communal space for the offices.

Yet also conceals technical components of the site which would otherwise be underground.

Underlying the development is a garden of soil-cleansing plants which, through a process of phytoremediation, naturally extracts the harmful metals from the ground.

Referred to as a ‘cleantech playground’, De Ceuvel is a space for experimentation. With low-tech innovations it explores the possibilities of off-grid living and decentralised systems.

Such as composting toilets, self-made heat pumps and water filtering systems.

It also experiments with energy sharing through solar panels connected to a smart grid, which allow users to trade energy locally.

With its learn-by-doing approach, De Ceuvel acts as a community test lab to explore innovative approaches to sustainability, and uses these approaches to inspire and mobilise others

Space&Matter has developed other innovative community projects, as the Schoonschip.

The project has gained attention from general public and visitors, and was awarded with The Dutch Design Award Frame Public Award (2014)

Author Space&Matter
Location Korte Papaverweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Year 2012-2014
Collaborators Delva Landscape Architects, Metabolic, Transsolar, Bas van Schelven, Witteveen en Bos, Huib Koel, Woodies at Berlin
Photography Martijn Van Wijk, Jean-Pierre Jans (3), courtesy of Space&Matter


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