In 2017 Orange Architects won the tender for Plot 42A, located in the heart of the harbour on IJburg in Amsterdam, with a scheme called ‘Jonas’. Jonas is a highly innovative residential building with a spectacular interior that has achieved the highest possible sustainability certificate (Breeam Outstanding). The design for the mixed-use programme was commissioned by Amvest and developed in collaboration with Site urban development, ABT, Felixx landscape architects and Floor Ziegler.
Jonas is an iconic, sustainable and attractive structure that stands out from the surrounding buildings — even by virtue of its special siting on the strip of land and the remarkable programme it contains. The building shapes themes that matter here: water, quayside and maritime craft. At the same time, by embracing the ‘soul of the site’ and rendering it visible, Jonas looks like it belongs here.
The name Jonas is a reference to ‘Jonas and the Whale’, a tale about adventure and intimacy, and about shelter, security and homeliness inside a ‘big body’
The name Jonas is a reference to ‘Jonas and the Whale’, a tale about adventure and intimacy, and about shelter, security and homeliness inside a ‘big body’. Jonas is a sturdy building with a warm heart.
The irregular composition of window openings gives the impression that they undulate gently across the facade. That makes Jonas just a little bit different: slightly distorted, slightly strange. The building looks like a stone, but clad with dark-coloured pre-patinated zinc. The grid is not regular but distorted. The facade does not touch the ground but is raised. The building is not orthogonal but lozenge-shaped. That makes the building both familiar and alienating, sculptural yet rational, recognizable yet innovative.
Connecting various spaces and functions — the rock, square, swimming pool, living room, canyon, forest, mountain path and beach — to one another like links in a chain creates a magical world in which to live or visit. This is accessible not only to the building’s residents but also to the people of IJburg.
But the real surprise with Jonas is revealed inside. It is welcoming, warm and spectacular. It expresses a modern and sustainable community life. The interior is compelling, surprising and surrealist. The underlying spatial concept is based on traditional timber ship construction. A series of trusses arranged in a row forms the skeleton, the building’s main structure. This allows big hollows to be scooped out of the volume, with the required housing programme, with in total 270 units, incorporated into the ‘skin’ of the building.
How generous can you be! The doors are open, and the living room and forest are accessible to the public. During the daytime, everybody can visit the canyon or stroll around the harbour through the building. During the summer, the building and surrounding spaces become a venue for all sorts of activities: swimming in the sheltered natural swimming pool, watching a film from the rock (projected onto the front facade of the building), playing beach volleyball on the square, or sunbathing on the rooftop beach.
During the winter, the building is like a warm and welcoming fireplace glowing in a living room. A Christmas tree on the square, skating on the pond, refreshments from the pop-up kiosk beneath the rock.
The result is a sound and coherently programmed building that breathes life into this strip of land. A building people can visit and where people can come together. A real heart for IJburg!
It makes the building both familiar and alienating, sculptural yet rational, recognizable yet innovative
Sustainability is integrated in the broadest sense of the word in Jonas, which resulted in a BREEAM outstanding label and two international BREEAM Awards. The smart energy concept consists out of a geothermal energy system connected to the surface water and a large amount of pv-panels on the roof. Nature is integrated in, around and on top of the building to stimulate biodiversity and to collect rainwater. The project has a strong focus on communal living, providing shared electric cars and a large amount of collective indoor and outdoor spaces. World | We | Value; Jonas has it all!
How generous can you be! The doors are open, and the living room and forest are accessible to the public. During the daytime, everybody can visit the canyon or stroll around the harbour through the building
Bouw en Uitvoering, nr. 2 2021, pp 8-21, 'Wonen in de wondere wereld van Jonas', Betty Rombout
Green Buildings Magazine, nr. 4 2019, pp 48-61 (RU), pp 129-131 (EN)