The post apocalyptic building

A building planned for the Netherlands appears to be part of a post-disaster jungle world, but in reality it will have a regenerative effect: it will house hundreds of humans and include wilderness areas designed to house birds, bats, hedgehogs and fish, increasing the urban biodiversity.

At first glance, this building seems to be taken from a post-apocalyptic science-fiction novel or movie, where the world has been devastated by a catastrophe and wildlife has invaded the cities abandoned by the human population. But in reality this architectural work has been conceived for a better world, and not worse than the one we now have.

It will be built in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, the largest city in that European country and a major international financial and cultural center, with just over 900,000 inhabitants and a high population density, where available housing is not usually abundant to buy or rent.

This new building will not only contribute to alleviating the housing shortage for humans, adding 82 apartments to the city’s real estate inventory, but it will also offer a new habitat for various species of wild animals, from nests and spaces for birds and bats, on the façade of the building, to gardens and waters that will house sea urchins and fish.

“We tried to recreate the perfect habitat within this building for some species of animals that are now disappearing from the city, such as sparrows, bats or some types of butterflies."Jos-Willem van Oorschot, partner architect and director of VenhoevenCS architecture+urbanism, told the trade magazine Fast Company (FC),

The new Proto-Zoöp Zeeburg (PZZ) building, will be built on a river island near the city center, which was previously an industrial area and housed a sewage treatment plant, and is now being transformed into a neighborhood car free and sustainable for the environment.

The official name of the project, described as “an option for an inclusive life in nature”, is a demonstration of philosophy and intentions.

In fact, this building has been designed to establish the guidelines of “how it should be built in the city in the coming years.”"in the opinion of VenhoevenCS, says the architect Jos-Willem van Oorschot.


The term ‘Zoöp’ describes a model or organizational concept of cooperation between human and non-human life which represents the interests of all, and derives from "zoe"the Greek word for the "life"according to VenhoevenCS, while the prefix “Proto” also comes from the Greek and confers the meaning of ‘first’ or ‘main’.

For its part, the word Zeeburg refers to Zeeburgereiland, the triangular-shaped island in Amsterdam where this building will be built, specifically in the new neighborhood of Sluisbuurt, which will include up to 5,500 homes and facilities planned for the Dutch city.

This constructive concept will benefit both the inhabitants of the building, who will be in continuous contact with nature, learning to know and protect it, as well as flying, terrestrial and aquatic living beings, which will be able to nest and inhabit their gardens, roofs and surfaces. with hollows and reliefs and interior aquatic environments, notes DS Landschapsarchitecten.

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At the site where the land meets the river, a stone wall with cracks will be built to allow plants to grow and fish to reproduce. On one side of the building, the wall will be lower, so animals like ducks can make their homes there among the bushes, according to FC.

The trees, bushes, grasslands and plants of PZZ will be a refuge for numerous species, such as the sparrow that already inhabits that urban area and is expected to establish itself in the building.

Sluisbuurt is located on the western edge of Zeeburgereiland, and will be a sustainable car-free neighborhood with a mix of high-rise and low-rise buildings, according to his project.

An organization of the ‘Zoöp’ type must meet strict conditions and on its board or board, a person who lives in the place assumes the role of representative of non-human beings (wild species), explains Miriam Tijs, from the relations team, to EFE public and business development of VenhoevenCS.

This “spokesperson for life” intervenes in all the decisions that are made, including the design of the building.


The future PZZ apartment complex will have 82 homes and a car park, will include spaces for shops and businesses on the ground floor and will be characterized by its different heights and the richness of its vegetation made up of native plants.

The PZZ, whose land borders the Sluisbuurt waterway and is located near a public park, “will give nature a voice in the city,” according to VenhoevenCS.

In this sense, its roofs, terraces and façades with areas of vegetation have been designed to help improve the climate and stimulate biological diversity, giving shelter to five species of fauna: those that live in buildings, wooded areas, scrublands, meadows or grasslands and aquatic environments that border on land, respectively.

The building will become a place where people, plants and animals will all feel “at home”, say its designers.

This small and large apartment complex, for families, couples and singles, will have a maximum gross floor area of ​​10,000 square meters (m²) and all its houses will have a minimum size of 40 m², reports VenhoevenCS.

He adds that the building will score well for sustainability, partly due to triple-glazed windows, heat recovery systems and photovoltaic panels integrated into its design.

A double-height two-story plinth, located partly on the main street, and the long commercial façade of the building, which reaches to the corner, offer an attractive space of 1,500 m², for shops and businesses of entrepreneurs, which will satisfy the need of a larger number of shops in Sluisbuurt.

In this residential and commercial complex there will coexist “an intimate "inside world" green-blue in the waters inside the building, with piers made of natural materials with openings, ferns and grasses, and a cantilevered façade with vegetation.

The building is developed at different heights, ranging from 12, 17, 20 to 40 meters, with six roof terraces with different functions, which will include spaces for neighbors, nature and water.

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