Jonas Amsterdam

designed by /

Location: Amsterdam / The Netherlands / Type: Atriums / Residential Parks / Roofs / Waterfronts / Built: 2024 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on June 29, 2024

Urban developments often suffer from a disconnect with nature, resulting in ecological degradation and a lack of community engagement. They often prioritize infrastructure over environmental considerations, leading to the loss of biodiversity and inefficient resource usage. Moreover, they frequently overlook the creation of community spaces that foster social interactions and a sense of belonging among residents.

In response to these challenges, Jonas emerges as a pioneering solution at the heart of IJburg, Amsterdam. More than just a residential structure, it embodies a holistic approach that integrates community, commerce, and culture into public space. It addresses the shortcomings of traditional urban design by placing an emphasis on sustainability and ecological functionality.

Naming the building “Jonas” evokes the imagery of a place for reflection and growth, where people can find respite from the bustling urban life into a “big body”, akin to Jonah’s narrative within the belly of the Whale.

The project unfolds into four distinct landscape-driven realms: the Rock, the Island, the Forest, and the Beach- each designed to foster a unique interaction between residents and their environment.

The Rock is a stereotomic landscape adorning the square in front of the building. This square is framed by a wooden sculpture, ingeniously integrating the entrance to the parking garage. Sculptural terraces and wooden decks extend to form a grandstand, seamlessly transitioning into a platform that stretches towards the water. It serves as the heart of the neighbourhood, hosting events and gatherings. On summer days, Jonas’s interior and exterior merge when the large glass fronts open up, connecting with the environment.

The quay is transformed into a dynamic bank landscape, teeming with diverse vegetation along the border between land and water. Reed beds, interspersed with jetties along the building, gradually transition into grassy banks adorned with sandy beaches near the square, with an enchanting Island nestled within the canal. To traverse this natural wonderland, stepping stones and a towing ferry offer an adventurous route across the water. Wooden objects scattered throughout the greenery serve as inviting natural play elements, adding an extra layer of excitement and exploration.

The building’s patio is an intimate retreat, evoking a shaded Forest. Large trees, ferns and moss, paved paths and wooden benches create the atmosphere. Where the patio opens up, the flagstones slope down to the water, in a playful staircase with rocky seating elements.

Jonas features a rooftop Beach with a central glass watercourse that stretches across the entire atrium. It is surrounded by a dune landscape with grass and swaying pine trees. Terraces around the dune are separated by wooden boxes with wild roses. The water flows to a small square, adjacent to a community kitchen. The story of Jonas and the Whale is depicted in the pavement with Portuguese granite stones. At the heart of it all, a central barbecue area brings the square to life, evoking a perpetual holiday ambiance atop the building.

The Canyon stands as the most breathtaking space, connecting various landscape elements through its monumental atrium. Illuminated by the reflection of water and sunlight streaming through the central waterway on the roof, it exudes an awe-inspiring ambiance. At ground level, it serves as the nexus, linking the Rock and the Forest. A winding mountain path, weaving through each floor of the Canyon, provides a connection from The Beach to the ground level, enhancing the sense of cohesion and exploration throughout the space.

To address today’s critical challenges, Jonas incorporates advanced Nature-Based Solutions. Native vegetation along the banks and underwater habitats through the installation of artificial substrates for mussel communities and the accumulation of stones support fish species. Vegetation on roofs and facades improves thermal insulation, reduce stormwater runoff, and create habitats for insects, birds such as the sand martin and the kingfisher, as well as cormorants and bats. Nesting sites and refuges further enhance the presence of local species, while mixtures of native herbs and reeds strengthen riverine and coastal ecosystems. Water management is optimized through rainwater collection and reuse systems and the use of surface water thermal energy for heating and cooling, thus increasing the building’s energy efficiency. These measures demonstrate an innovative and integrated approach to urban design through its intelligent integration of ecological habitats and energy-efficient design.

Jonas’s development contributes positively to the environment, aligning with contemporary ecological standards and pioneering new strategies for future developments. It is not merely a building but a landmark with a landscape, where ecology functionality meets urban living.

Project Data

Landscape architecture: Felixx

Architecture offices involved in the design: Orange Architects

Location: Krijn Taconiskade, 1087 HW Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Design year: 2017

Year Completed: building completed 2023, landscape in 2024


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