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Residential towers as catalysts for the Sluisbuurt

In Amsterdam East, Mei is designing the first buildings in the development of the Sluisbuurt; a new urban district on the Zeeburgereiland. Commissioned by Stichting DUWO, Mei will design two unique residential buildings on lot 5A2 and lot 6B2. The buildings will be part of a – for the Netherlands still unprecedented – metropolitan living environment in which high-rise is combined with a lively and dynamic ground level, and meeting and interaction are central. Plot 5A2 and 6B2, which will facilitate housing for students and young people, are located in the heart of the district and will serve as a catalyst for the further development of this green, sustainable neighborhood.

Project info

In development


Housing for students and young people, communal facilities, and courtyard garden
5A2: 242 studios
6B2: 525 studios

Residential towers full of identity

The residential buildings are given a strong, recognizable identity that residents are proud of. Instead of a monotonous and anonymous facade, the individual homes will be recognizable and identifiable from the street.

The community is central in the buildings. There will be communal facilities and various collective spaces for meeting people. This idea is also drawn to the public space. Its location at the water makes it a nice place to stay – alone or with like-minded people.

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Lot 5A2

In lot 5A2 – a U-shaped residential block – 242 independent studios of about 21 m2 will be realized, each with their own bathroom and kitchen. To stimulate meeting and interaction between the residents, various communal areas will be created, such as a meeting room, laundry room, courtyard garden and roof terrace. The social facilities and vistas in the plinth create a lively atmosphere.

In the design of the facade, a human scale has been applied. It has been ensured that each studio can be pointed out from the street, so that the resident feels connected to the building. The facade is divided into horizontal layers with different textures of pigmented concrete a high degree of tactility, taking into account the distance at which the passerby experiences the material.

On the inside of the residential block, near the communal courtyard garden, the facade consists of gold-colored, steel cladding with various vertical profiles. This gives the courtyard garden a soft and informal appearance that contrasts with the tough exterior.

Lot 6B2

Of the two buildings, Lot 6B2 is the tallest: approximately 70 meters. There will be 525 independent studios of about 21 m2. For this building, too, meeting and interaction between residents will be stimulated. The building will have two so-called “common rooms”, a laundry room, atrium, and communal courtyard.

The residential tower consists of a high and a low building section, with a slender silhouette towards the city. Both parts will have their own distinct identity. The high-rise section has a rich and elegant appearance with a vertical orientation. Like lot 5A2, the facade consists of terracotta-colored concrete with relief. In contrast, the low-rise section consists of smooth, bronze-colored PV and aluminum panels. The roof is filled with lavish greenery visible from the quay, contributing to the nature inclusiveness of the new neighborhood.

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First phase of the Sluisbuurt

The development of Sluisbuurt shows a mixed Amsterdam neighborhood with different types of buildings, to provide space for a broad public. In total, the plan includes approximately 5,500 homes and facilities, both commercial and social. The neighborhood, which includes up to 125 meters of high-rise buildings, will be geared towards cyclists and pedestrians and invites movement. It will be a healthy, modern urban district with a unique skyline on the IJ.

In the first phase of the development, the ‘Campus on the IJ’ is central. Practically all the courses from Amsterdam and Diemen of the Inholland University of Applied Sciences will be combined in the Sluisbuurt in one building. Plots 5A2 and 6B2 accommodate a large proportion of the campus users. Together, the buildings form a sustainable open city campus that meets the contemporary needs of its future users.

Maquette van de sluisbuurt
Scale model of the Sluisbuurt in Amsterdam © Gemeente Amsterdam

New values

To match the enormous energy demand of the more than 750 self-contained studios with current sustainability requirements, Mei used innovative solutions in the design. For example, integrated colored PV panels in the façade, which effortlessly fit into the architecture. On the roofs, solar cells are placed on a raised frame, which hides the other roof installations from view, complemented by a rich mix of high-quality greenery. The green roofs are also used for water storage and reducing heat stress.


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