Architecture – GG-loop has completed Freeboter building on the island of Zeeburgereiland in Amsterdam referencing to the wind and water as well as Dutch maritime heritage and culture. Indeed, the project is named after the historical figure of the freebooter, private freelancers who assembled teams of sailors to explore the high seas.
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“It was the spirit of freebooters that we sought to bring to the apartments, by working with a highly qualified team of craftsmen and carpenters.” Says architect and designer Giacomo Graziano, founder of Amsterdam-based studio GG-loop. Like a ship’s hull, the main materials of the building were limited to wood, steel, and glass.
The 2 storey building features two duplexes of 120 sqm each. Each floor plan of the apartments, referencing a ship’s layout, is organic and free-flowing, with “step-inclines to spaces that are designed to envelop and ‘unfold’ as the inhabitant moves through it”.
Use of light played a key role as well. GG-loop conducted a year-round study of light conditions to create the optimal shape and positioning of the structure’s louvers. This parametric facade enabled the optimal distribution of light while simultaneously allowing for an appropriate level of privacy.
The project is an expression of the studio’s signature and philosophy of responding to the design brief with the experience and wellbeing of the end-user continuously in mind. “We are part of nature in a deep and fundamental way, but in our modern lives we’ve lost that connection. Home and city design should respects both inhabitants and the environment, reconnecting both in the process. Freebooter is a response to that.”
Indeed, “the floorplan, flow of spaces and organic lines were also created with careful consideration of daily use and the typical tasks of dwellers – in short, so the home is a healthy and productive habitat for rest and living.”
The building’s energy consumption is close to zero thanks to 24 solar panels on the roof, high-performance wall insulation, and glass walls, coupled with low-temperature underfloor heating and a mechanical and natural ventilation system.
98% of the wood used is PEFC certified. With 122.5 m3 of wood used, the building stores nearly 80 tonnes of CO2, offsetting nearly and the energy consumption of 87 homes in one year.
Freebooter is the result of in-depth research in the field of timber construction. The project is made of a hybrid structure of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and steel, and was prefabricated offsite, allowing for an exceptionally fast built-time of three weeks for the four floors. Finishing the block took 6 months.
All photos by Francisco Nogueira and Michael Sieber.