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De Ceuvel, Amsterdam >> a sustainable tale of rebirth

De Ceuvel, Amsterdam - Birdseye View

A polluted and unusable land becomes the site for a garden-like creative community, where ready-to-be-disposed-of  houseboats have become sustainable ateliers.


The architects at Space&matter retrofitted 15 second-hand houseboats into sustainable ateliers. These houseboats, which would have otherwise ended up in a junkyard, where upgraded to the highest possible level of eco-efficiency with a very limited budget.

Before that, the polluted land the houseboats lie upon was cleaned-up and filled with several plant species.

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Here ‘s the story – From Uncube Magazine:
De Ceuvel‚ a beached boat community in Amsterdam‚ is sailing through red tape and conventions to become a successful city attraction that marks the way towards people-centric planning
In 2012‚ the City of Amsterdam offered a challenging call for development proposals for a 4‚470 m2 piece of waterfront land. The plot was offered for free‚ but with a series of caveats: it was only available for ten years and had to be a clear site at the end of that time‚ it could not include housing‚ it must attract the endlessly desirable “creative” crowd‚ and its polluted soil needed to be cleaned. This meant the winning pitch had to be innovative on environmental‚ economical, and construction fronts simultaneously.
 
 
Today the site hosts ten creative industries‚ three commercial spaces‚ an event space and a restaurant. In many ways‚ the café has become the centre of the project. Simple snacks and drinks are on offer for consumption while taking in the sun atop the battered concrete waterfront and sitting on a scattering of ad-hoc seats and chairs. Being only 15 minutes from the central station‚ it has drawn many newcomers to engage with the site and what it stands for. It can be seen as a new concept for urban workspaces in that it temporarily activates under-utilised land‚ with users that are being priced out of the city centre and all the while slowly cleans the damaged landscape with no danger to its inhabitants. There is a raw efficiency to its design and its functions‚ yet it provides a truly unique place: one where scenarios, such as the one I encountered the other day, of a naked wood-whittling hippy sitting on the boardwalk waving a familiar greeting to a suit-clad individual kayaking up to the wharf for an after-work designer beer and pizza, can seem the most natural thing in the world.

Photography by © MARTIJN VAN WIJK

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