Noord has its own unique atmosphere: uneven, raw, pure, with past-time industry, mixed with modern elements. It’s a place you can not find anywhere else. And there is the big paradox: the appeal as a scourge. And the fear that this place will be a much too tight urban district through all that attention. The art is to delay the dulling developments as long as possible. To achieve this, it is important to involve all users of the site, including those who have given color to this area. A large part it’s charme is the presence of small-scale businesses, organically grown, without too much control. The culture of freedom and DIY.

  • To create a contagious model for responsible, affordable, desirable housing combining manufacturing and living, quite literally. This pocket neighborhood is designed around a common assembly floor where both worlds mingle. We aim to provide new encounters in an urban setting where there is space for adventure, creativity, freedom, fun and experimentation.

    In this plan the inhabitants decide how their city looks like. The shape is not fixed and is even demountable. The environment is defined by the activities of life and not the other way round. We’re looking for ways not to capture everything in a master plan, but create strategies for organic growth and placemaking.

      Urban strategy

    Make clear ‘zones’ and places, strengthen identity (expand almost), do not want to make everything the same, but enhance the differences. The strange contradiction and proximity of ‘the other’ is quite the attractive. How?

    -Create no-car zones to maximize outside living space

    -Add a small scale network of streets and buildings

    -Compact defined public space

    -Variation in outer space and visual variation

    -High density of buildings

    -Mixing different functions for different audiences

    -Weatherproof and green environment

    -Space for self-organization

    -Differentiated transitions between public and private


    Basic design principles

    -Add a delicate network of streets for new connections

    -Build a table on top of existing context allowing the current (and future) makers to stay, transform and possibly expand

    -Assert the rights of public amenity over private property interests

    -Using the table as a socioeconomic layer for shared Fab Labs, productivity places, storage, washing- and meeting rooms both for the inhabitants and the makers on the ground floor

    -Create a grid 3,4 x 3,4 enabling DIY growth within a framework

    -Set at growth formula (open -vs- closed)

    -Let inhabitants choose how to stack and switch

    -New view on / concept of zoning laws (municipality)


    Technical details

    Existing businesses on the ground floor have their own unique edifice. Vertical rises provide stability. On top of the steel frame structure of the ‘assembly floor’ the housing grid is a simple construction which can be assembled easily and quickly by a few people.

    -Modular wood framing system based on a fixed grid

    -One engineered wood product (laminated veneer lumber) for the entire support structure: wall, floor and roof

    -Dimensionally stable and load bearing timber beams

    -Interlocking connections without screws

    -Lightweight and flexible, easy and quick (re)assembly

  • location
    Papaverdriehoek (Buiksloterham) Amsterdam
    City of Amsterdam (gemeente Amsterdam)
    floor area
    14.000 m2
    Preliminary design
    Maarten Meester
    Maarten Meester (architect)
    Naomi Schiphorst (architect)