2017-2019, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Within a newly created part of the city of Amsterdam, IJburg, the Water Sport Club IJburg (WVIJ) was granted rights to build facilities and meeting spaces on a small parcel of land adjacent to its yacht harbor. The building site is adjacent to the Markermeer lake (former Zuider Zee).

The architects held extensive workshops with the end users throughout the design process to insure a maximum of member participation and enthusiasm for the project. The most important finding was that members value social contact while doing small maintenance jobs on their boats. The principle of a simple container (shed) with a maximum of multi-purpose space served as the basis for the design.

The building establishes a strong connection between the intimate water of the harbor and the greater Markermeer lake to the North. On each level of the building one experiences a specific spatial relationship with one or both of the two waters. The choice of wood as the primary construction material differentiates the building from its surroundings. Nine meter larch columns refer back to the tall masts in the adjacent harbor.

The rhythm of the seasons largely dictates the programmatic requirements of the clubhouse. A water sport club is by definition less active in the cold, winter months and requires less space. In contrast, during the warmer months, a bigger building is needed to accommodate more activities. The “volume inside a volume" strategy differentiates fully insulated/climatized spaces with specific programmatic designations and larger more flexible half-climate spaces behind single glazing. This strategy has two important advantages. Firstly, it provides a buffer of air space which surrounds and thus insulates the fully climatized spaces. It is therefore extremely energy efficient. Even more significant, the “volume inside a volume” strategy allows the water sport club to realize a maximum of usable space within a limited budget, because half-climate spaces are substantially cheaper to build. The building was realized in spite of an extremely tight construction budget (425.000 euro).

The outer single glazed volume is a simple wooden construction consisting of seven laminated Larch portal frames. All larch used in the building was locally sourced. Larch corner columns combined with steel roof beams are utilized at the end facades to create maximum openings. The nine-meter-high larch columns also serve as window frames for large, single glazed panels to achieve a minimum detail solution. The 2,5 meter roof span is achieved with 8cm. thick panels of cross laminated timber.

Inside this enclosure is a contrasting volume (also constructed entirely from wood ). The relationship between the freestanding interior volume and the larger, transparent enclosure creates a a series of dynamic spaces, each with a specific character and unique relationship with the surrounding water. The upper floor meeting room is literally hung from 70cm. high laminated wooden beams, by means of minimal steel hangers to avoid columns on the ground floor.

The large ground floor half-climate spaces are flexible in terms of program and can be used to support a wide range of activities from boat-building to maintenance of racing boats for teenagers to large scale celebrations. These spaces are passively heated thanks to the large single glazed panels during the colder months but protected from inclement weather at all times.

The design allows for a constant flow of activity between the building and the larger land parcel to the south by means of a series of sliding doors along the south façade and two oversize sliding doors at both ends of the building. The full-height (nine meter) sliding doors at the end facades are made from the same laminated larch as the outer enclosure. They provide large openings which facilitate repair and storage of the club's own sailboats. They also serve as emergency doors and open automatically in the case of a fire.



Watersport Vereniging IJburg, Amsterdam, the Netherlands


Beth Margulis

+31 6 575 867 66

Floor Moormann

+31 6 520 51 419

Mail: Margulis.Moormann@gmail.com

Postadres: Nico Jessekade 193, 1087 MR, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Project team

Luuk Sonke, Lorien Beijaart, Peer Frantzen

General contractor

Romijn Bouw BV, Kockengen, The Netherlands

Wood fabrication

De Groot Vroomshoop - Larch construction elements

Timmerfabriek Gebr. Bos - Larch sliding doors


Boris Nieuwenhuijzen

Annemarieke van den Broek

Project information

Harbour building for WVIJBURG, H2IJ:

Adres: Krijn Taconiskade 1, 1087 HW, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Start design: Jan 2016

Building completion: Sep 2018/ Feb 2019