Floating Gardens

Commissioned by Synchroon, Orange Architects has designed an all-in-one school and 190 apartments on the site of the existing SITA office on Heathrowstraat in Amsterdam.

The project, Called Floating Gardens, made with the city of Amsterdam, proposes an integral development with a school in the plinth and 190 apartments above.

The area around Sloterdijk station is rapidly transforming from an office district into a mixed-use residential and office district. Sloterdijk Centre will form the heart of a large-scale area development called Haven-Stad.

Sloterdijk is currently an area of remarkable contrasts. It features an international yet monofunctional office district combined with surprisingly soft areas such as Orlyplein and the Garden of BRET.
A second striking characteristic of the area is its location in the middle of the green wedge called Bretten Zone. Sloterdijk is a stony island located between Westerpark and the Bretten nature area, but it has the potential to become a fully-fledged part of this green network. Finally, Sloterdijk offers space for new initiatives.
Vision and commitment are essential components in developing a district that, at present, offers little in the way of spatial quality.The contrasts, the green potential and the availability of space make Sloterdijk a place of unparalleled potential.

With Floating Gardens, we are making a place where pioneers can actively contribute to the development of their building andneighbourhood. A place that highlights the contrast between ‘Small Scale Community’ and ‘Big City Living’. And a place that combines an abundance of greenery with living in a dynamic city. The occupants of the first residential buildings form a select group that will settle in the area and become catalysts that will transform Sloterdijk. A high-quality programme is being developed for this group, the focus of which is sustainability, shared facilities and inspiration.

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Floating Gardens is an iconic building that gives Sloterdijk a recognizable face towards Haarlemmerweg and Spieringhorn Park. Construction of the all-in-one school will strengthen Sloterdijk Centre as a mixed-use residential and office district. In view of its location beside the Bretten Zone, special attention has been given to the integration of the project into the landscape and to the green roof landscapes of Floating Gardens. To this end, the building is deliberately made up of layers of various size, thereby allowing green roof gardens to be made on various levels on the building, improving biodiversity in the city and the welfare of residents.

In addition, a large overhang on the entrance side of the school acts as a generous lobby for the entrance to the park.

Sharing is the latest craze! Situated in the heart of the building, beside a green outdoor space, is The Living Room. An informal meeting point for the residents of Floating Gardens. This is where they can read the newspaper, work on their laptops, eat lunch together, have a drink with fellow residents, or enjoy an evening meal with friends. The Living Room creates a sense of communityand vibrancy inside the building and ensures that the mental living space of residents is bigger than that of their own studio apartment. This in turn improves the quality of life inside the building.

The ‘all-in-one’ school consists of a primary school for 17 classes. There is capacity for about 400 children, a day care centre, pre-school and after-school facilities. The school occupies the first two floors of the building. Collaboration between the various parts of the all-in-one school results in a broad learning environment during and after school hours, with the aim of generating maximum development opportunities for all children. Special attention is devoted to various green play areas and outdoor spaces locatedaround the building.
The 190 apartments of Floating Gardens are located on the third to the seventeenth levels. Half of them are mid-segment rental homes and half are private sector homes. That makes the location affordable for a wide range of residents.

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