Nature-inclusive architecture should be the rule, not the exception. In an era of climate change and resource scarcity it is only logical to build resilient structures that support as much biodiversity as possible. For these reasons we were delighted to see Amsterdam’s municipality place so much emphasis on nature-inclusivity in the design of a new neighbourhood, Sluisbuurt.

Our design for a prominent corner site in the Sluisbuurt owes its name to the Asian island of Luzon. Just like this island, which is known for its breathtaking rice terraces, our design sculpts a built landscape into a cascading series of lush watery terraces that pivot towards the sun to create an oasis in the city.

Nature-inclusive architecture is more than adding a few boxes for the birds and the bees. A truly nature-inclusive building works with natural elements and systems to enhance the quality of life for all the species it supports. So instead of the rather insipid (and very common) thin layer of sedum rolled out across the roof, Luzon employs a deep package of earth that can support fully-grown plants, retain a significant amount of water and provide ample shade.

Luzon acts like a sundial, capturing the maximum amount of sunlight as it moves around the building. When it rains (which is all too common in Amsterdam) the terraced form of Luzon directs the passage of water carefully downwards, slowing it down, allowing plants and animals to get maximum benefit from it and giving residents direct contact with it as it passes by the apartments. Through sight, smell and sound, Luzon makes natural elements explicit, improving well-being and raising an awareness and connection to our surroundings.

Unfortunately, we didn’t take out the top prize for this site, however our design for the Sluisbuurt 4A remains a model for how we approach nature-inclusivity – creating a piece of architecture that functions as a living garden – a high-quality biodiverse space to thrive.

Luzon Sluisbuurt kavel 4A
Amsterdam, NL
bloomimages, SeARCH