A sustainable floating neighbourhood.

In partnership with architecture firm space&matter and development advisor Waterloft, Metabolic developed the sustainability masterplan for a cutting-edge community of floating villas in Amsterdam North. The site will be energy self-sufficient, recover nutrients from organic waste streams, employ circular building practices, and serve as a showcase for sustainable living.

  • Clients: space&matter, Waterloft
  • Date: August 2015
The challenge

The team behind Schoonschip aimed to create Europe’s most sustainable floating community in North Amsterdam. The goal was to develop 47 houseboats on 30 plots for over 100 residents, who will move into and revitalize a disused canal and establish themselves as a showcase of how to build and live sustainably.

The challenge
Our approach

We first completed a concept study for the sustainability plan of the neighborhood, which helped the local community win the tender for the plot of water. Then we organized a series of community sessions where we presented our sustainability concepts and gathered input on how the community wished to see their future homes. We used space&matter’s urban plan to pre-calculate and set the goals for energy demand and consumption for space heating, electricity, and hot water in material passports for each household.

Our approach
The outcome

Residents have started moving into a neighborhood that will use zero gas. Energy will be produced by 500 solar panels, while heating will be generated by 30 water pumps as well as passive heating from the sun and from the canal water itself. A third of the roof surface will be dedicated to a roof garden to help cool down the city in the summer. Our spinoff, Spectral, has developed an advanced smart-grid which features local PV production and battery storage. The community will be using blockchain technology to exchange the clean energy generated on the houseboat roofs and saved in batteries. The water supply will be separated into white, grey and black water systems. Grey (shower) water will be reused. Municipal water company Waternet will harvest the black waste water and transport it to a biorefinery to be fermented and converted into energy.

The outcome

“We have solar panels, good insulation, water-recycling showers, vacuum toilets, but also each boat is different. Some people decided to look for good materials for clean building, others wanted everything green, so have green planted on their facades and roof, everyone took something they really wanted to go for.”

- Marjolein Smeele, Architect, Smeele Architecture

Founder and CEO


For more information about this project, please get in touch.