Accelerating nature-inclusive construction in the Amsterdam Sluisbuurt: Project Zoë

June 5, 2023

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and AM will jointly research the opportunities and bottlenecks in area development processes to realise the ambitions for nature-inclusive building. Central to this joint research is the Zoë project AM will develop in the Sluisbuurt area of Amsterdam over the next few years.

A nature-inclusive neighbourhood is one in which nature is an integral part of the development brief. In all facets and at all scale levels. This means that the neighbourhood makes a substantial contribution to the local preservation of species, ecological processes and nature experience.

Upscaling and acceleration

Nature-inclusive building is a fairly new phenomenon in the phase of innovation and experimentation, with a limited number of good-practice examples thus far. By researching the opportunities and bottlenecks in building and area development processes, key factors and solution directions that are crucial for scaling up and accelerating nature-inclusive development and construction can be defined.

Marijke Dijkshoorn and Robbert Snep of WUR will collect data through interviews and participation in project meetings in the various planning phases. Not only during the design and construction phases, but also after completion, so that knowledge about exploitation can also be collected. The study should lead to recommendations on how AM and other developers can be effective in the internal organisation and cooperation with municipalities, designers and implementers.

WUR is investigating how the current approaches of, for example, the urban development programme of requirements, spatial design and area exploitation can be improved so that nature-inclusive ambitions can actually be realised.
Marijke Dijkshoorn

Scientific knowledge

WUR has scientific knowledge on the functioning of urban ecosystems, stakeholder engagement and transition processes. It uses that knowledge to support nature-inclusive and climate-adaptive area and building projects. This includes AM's projects in which new green roof and facade types are designed and researched. This involves exploring techniques for constructing and managing green roofs in such a way that they offer maximum space to ecological processes, even in hot, dry or extremely wet times.

AM has the ambition to develop climate positively in 2035. In this, biodiversity and climate adaptation are important knobs to turn. Many developments in this area are still in their infancy. It is precisely by working together with a renowned institute like Wageningen University & Research that we can pool knowledge and expertise and thus move faster towards a situation where nature-inclusive development becomes the norm
Peter Heuvelink, director of AM Noordwest

Zoë Amsterdam - Nature as a lifestyle

In Amsterdam's Sluisbuurt district on Zeeburger Island, AM is developing a nature-inclusive plan for an apartment complex with 82 homes and a parking garage. The ground floor has space for shops and business activity. The project, designed by VenhoevenCS architecture+urbanism and DS Landschapsarchitecten, is characterised by different heights with a wealth of native vegetation. Much attention will be paid to the design of green roofs, terraces and facades that contribute to optimising the climate while also stimulating biodiversity.

The nature-inclusive nature of Zoë translates to every square metre, including the eight specially designed roof gardens that target five fauna species. Native plants were chosen so that their growth requires little human interference. An ingenious water system supports the whole, collecting rainwater both on the roofs and in a reservoir. There is also a communal, lush garden room for residents.