These Nautically Inspired Apartments in Amsterdam Peek Out From Under a Wavy Facade
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These Nautically Inspired Apartments in Amsterdam Peek Out From Under a Wavy Facade

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By Kelsey Mulvey
On the island of Zeeburgereiland, this duplex references Dutch maritime history and biophilic design.

"We are part of nature in a deep and fundamental way, but in our modern lives we’ve lost that connection," says Giacomo Garziano, architect and founder of Amsterdam–based GG-loop.

It was precisely this desire to reconnect with nature that planted the seed for Freebooter, a biophilic residential complex on Zeeburgereiland, an island east of Amsterdam that was underwater until 1910 and served as a ship thoroughfare. Taking cues from the site’s history, Freebooter, which comprises two apartments, is designed as a "modern-day ship on land" with myriad references to wind, water, and sail.

"Some see in the cutouts the portrait of a pirate; some, the profile of a whale," Garziano says of the residence's silhouette. "It is interesting to hear different interpretations, but they all belong to the same maritime sphere."

"Some see in the cutouts the portrait of a pirate; some, the profile of a whale," Garziano says of the residence's silhouette. "It is interesting to hear different interpretations, but they all belong to the same maritime sphere."

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"One of the most important features of Freebooter is its use of light, itself famous in the Netherlands and used as the inspiration for some of the world’s most beloved paintings by the Dutch masters," Garziano explains. "I am deeply fascinated by it and I aimed to explore the topic within the envelope of the facade with a very technical yet emotional approach."

"One of the most important features of Freebooter is its use of light, itself famous in the Netherlands and used as the inspiration for some of the world’s most beloved paintings by the Dutch masters," Garziano explains. "I am deeply fascinated by it and I aimed to explore the topic within the envelope of the facade with a very technical yet emotional approach."

Like a ship’s hull, the project’s material palette was limited to wood, steel, and glass. The two apartment complexes boast an organic, free-flowing layout, which Garziano likens to that of a boat. Perhaps the most obvious comparison is the complex’s slatted facade, a reference to the dynamic wind and waves adventurers endure when sailing.

Soft, curved interior shapes continue the maritime motif. 

Soft, curved interior shapes continue the maritime motif. 

The 2,766-square-foot duplex is divided into two open-plan apartments. While each dwelling is centered around the kitchen and bathroom, the communal living areas evolve fluidly.

GG-loop also spearheaded the interior design, which features pieces from Tuttobene, Rafa Kids, Pastoe, Linteloo, and Leolux.

GG-loop also spearheaded the interior design, which features pieces from Tuttobene, Rafa Kids, Pastoe, Linteloo, and Leolux.

"We studied the movement of the sun year-round to create the parametric shape and positioning of the building’s louvers, allowing optimal sunlight to flood the apartment while at the same time maintaining the necessary privacy of the inhabitants," he says. 

"We studied the movement of the sun year-round to create the parametric shape and positioning of the building’s louvers, allowing optimal sunlight to flood the apartment while at the same time maintaining the necessary privacy of the inhabitants," he says. 

"Freebooter is not just ‘a house to live in,’ but a home conceived to envelop and stimulate the senses of its owners," says Garziano. "We are designing for an age in which clients expect more from their homes."

"Freebooter is not just ‘a house to live in,’ but a home conceived to envelop and stimulate the senses of its owners," says Garziano. "We are designing for an age in which clients expect more from their homes."

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Pine and western red cedar are found throughout the complex.

Pine and western red cedar are found throughout the complex.

Finished with thoughtful details like terraces, balconies, and strategically planned acoustics in each room, Freebooter encourages dwellers and guests to sit back, relax, and appreciate their surroundings.

The cross laminated timber (CLT) and steel structure was prefabricated, speeding up the building process to just three weeks.

The cross laminated timber (CLT) and steel structure was prefabricated, speeding up the building process to just three weeks.

Related Reading: A Live-In Kitchen on a Houseboat in Amsterdam

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: GG-loop / @gg_loop

General Contractor: Kolthof

Structural Engineer: Pieters Bouwtechniek

Civil Engineer: Mabutec

Lighting Design: GG-loop

Interior Design: GG-loop

Sound Engineer: GG-loop

Cabinetry Design: KCP Amsterdam