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Type of entry: Concept

The project is located in the heart of IJburg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. IJburg is one of the artificial islands around the city, mainly providing housing environments for families. Consisting of 29.500 m2 mixed-use program and public space, the project completes the center of IJburg, which is organized around a marina. The project was named Jonas, as a reference to the legend of Jonas and the Whale, a tale about adventure, intimacy, giving shelter, security and homeliness inside a ‘big body’. Jonas is a sturdy building with a warm heart. Jonas is also an iconic, sustainable and attractive structure that stands out from the surrounding buildings – even by virtue of its special siting on the strip of land and the remarkable program it contains. The building shapes themes that matter here: water, quayside and maritime craft. In IJburg, private housing plots are positioned within a rich framework of public spaces: large boulevards and canals in the center, beaches and natural parks at the edges. Diverse private housing opportunities and an abundance of public landscapes, Jonas aims to add an important connection between both public and private worlds: a variety of communal spaces that are not only accessible for the residents of the building but also for its neighbors. The first communal space and outdoor chamber is the rock, a three-dimensional landscape in front of the main building. The pavilion, covered with sculptural terraces, integrates the parking garage entrance, and creates a multifunctional theater. The wooden deck continues into a generous boardwalk towards the water. The entrance square is folded in between these wooden sculptures. A small island in the canal animates the water shore, and offers an interesting scene for adventurous playgrounds. The real surprise with Jonas, gets revealed inside. It is welcoming, warm and spectacular. It expresses a modern and sustainable community life. The interior is compelling, surprising and surrealist. The underlying spatial concept is based on traditional timber ship construction. A series of trusses arranged in a row forms the skeleton, the building’s main structure. This allows big hollows to be scooped out of the volume, with the required housing programme incorporated into the ‘skin’ of the building. Going through the canyon to the patio inside the building, a stilled space as a shaded forest appears. Large trees, ferns and moss, paths in flagstones and wooden benches are creating this alienating natural atmosphere. The flagstones step down towards the water, into a playful staircase with rocky seating elements. On the roof, Jonas holds a beach. A lush holiday feeling is established by a central water pond, dune landscapes with dancing pines, boardwalk terraces and a central square with Portuguese cobble stones. The pattern of the stones tells the story of Jonas and the Whale. A fireplace on the square and a lounge bed in the dunes are bringing the holiday vibes all year long. The facade of the building is based on a structural grid, but the irregular composition of window openings gives the impression that they undulate gently across the facade. The building is like a stone, but made of black zinc; the facade does not stand on the ground but is raised; the building is not orthogonal but lozenge-shaped. That makes the building both familiar and alienating, sculptural yet rational, recognizable yet innovative. Besides the original design, the project focuses on sustainability in the broadest sense of the word. Meaning that with an integral design approach the environmental impact of the building is reduced while the social cohesion is strengthened and the local economic value increased. This approach has resulted in the highest possible sustainability label, the BREEAM Outstanding certificate, the highest score for residential buildings in Netherlands. Jonas is also nominated for the BREEAM Awards 2020. Around, on top and inside Jonas there is a strong attention for the integration of nature to promote biodiversity and adapt to the changing climate of heavier rain falls. Measurers for animals include a mussel reef to stimulate underwater life, and nest boxes for birds. A rain buffer in the basement can collect 50 m3 of rain water, which will be reused for flushing toilets and watering the greenery. On the highest roof, more than 800 solar panels ensure the generation of renewable energy. Underneath the building a heat cold storage connected to the surrounding surface water will, in combination with district heating, provide all apartments with comfortable floor heating and cooling. The use of all energy saving and producing systems resulted in Net-Zero Energy label of the building. When selecting the building materials, its environmental impact, the durability and maintenance were important criteria. This resulted in a concrete main structure consisting of 25% recycled material. The canyon in the heart of the building is made out of wooden lamellae allowing the building to store a large amount of carbon. The zinc facade not only adds to the nautical character of the building but has a very long life span and is easy to maintain. All in all, Jonas is the ultimate integral design, combining social, architectural, technical and landscape aspects into one magnificent project that will be the new heart of IJburg.




Orange Architects, Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners, ABT BV


Amsterdam, The Netherlands