Amsterdam’s brand new “Sluishuis” tackles the energy crisis and loneliness

Billed as a new landmark for Amsterdam, the “Sluishuis” residential building has been completed in the new IJburg neighbourhood on IJmeer lake after four years in construction.

Dutch for “lock house”, Sluishuis appears to float over the water thanks to its two cantilevers that join in a high corner, giving the appearance of canal lock opening from the lake into the building’s inner harbour. On the other side, stairs climb to the roof and green terraces.

Designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Dutch studio, Barcode Architects, the 442-apartment building was built by Besix Nederland and Vorm Bouw, following the city of Amsterdam awarding development rights to Vorm and Besix Red in 2016.

Thanks to its public roof garden, the building forms a bridge between IJburg and Amsterdam’s city centre. It also features bird habitats and recreational islands, jetties for boats and restaurants.

With an energy performance coefficient (EPC) of 0.00, the building generates more energy than it consumes, Besix said. Heating requirements are minimised by high-performance insulation, triple glazing, and heat recovery on the ventilation systems and wastewater. It is powered by 2,200 sq m of solar panels on an adjacent island.

Sluishuis aims to stimulate social cohesion between residents and visitors. Staggered balconies encourage exchanges, while the public roof park, children’s playground in the inner harbour and wooden roof terraces promote spontaneous encounters.

“If we were to design all the Netherlands like Sluishuis, we would no longer have an energy problem and loneliness would be almost impossible,” said Vorm chief executive Hans Meurs.

The untreated aluminium of the facade reflects the water, giving the building a different look as time and seasons pass.

Jan-Bert Vroege, district administrator for the municipality of Amsterdam, said: “With the completion of Sluishuis, IJburg will have a new iconic entrance. It gives a new face to a neighborhood that is still in full development and will continue to grow in the coming years.”

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