Houses in Borneo’s piers
Built in
Built-up Area
5700 m2
Borneo, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Some parts of this article have been translated using Google’s translation engine. We understand the quality of this translation is not excellent and we are working to replace these with high quality human translations.

This article was writen with the collaboration of the architectural studio in charge.


“The project is a solid with holes. The roof, which is in terms of the surface of the most important of the facade of the building, showing a landscape between internal and abstract.
From it, the resulting volumes by introducing a small scale and rural with everything.

Lightness and weight, wood and brick (with its specific construction and composition systems) form a complementary world, like a mandala, trying to respond to both the water and the gaseous nature of the site as weel as to the need for stability, anchor and the protection demands a house. ”
– Josep Lluís Mateo, project report 1995.


Aerial view

The project is located at the port of the island of Borneo in Amsterdam, in a very unusual situation, on the tip of the island surrounded by water on three sides. The project is a low mass with outgoing and incoming.


In a beautiful and special, surrounded by the sea on three sides, the design aims to be open diffuse and of low strength.



Functionally speaking of the apartments are a great collective space that pervades the entire field.
The rooms and other specialized facilities like small towers protrude above this space. The light penetrates the interstices of the volumes that stand to leave it downstairs.

The roof, the facade with more surface area is a part-domestic.

Volumes given projecting a small scale game entirely.

The complex is a sculpted mass fashion along the two axes of coordination:

X: Strict system of parallel concrete walls and windows of the same size.
Y: Emerging volumes that move in a non mechanical above these.

But the character is repetitive. The resort is not only an expression of the accumulation, but has an internal drive. The mass built key begins at its junction with the adjacent mass and develops in a particular manner with respect to the wall giving the three channels. This produces a variety of housing options and possible controlled thanks to strict building and structural logic itself.


Model 1:1

The facades are fur variable thickness and permeability, and tropical timber with a tight seal look handled according to typical technologies of shipbuilding.

Construction has been a long process that has allowed us to accurately define their characteristics. The cedar walls Canadian treaty, although no surface protection, were resolved at the workshop by constructing a fragment of the south facade on a scale of 1:1.

The building is covered with wood being the situation, literally on the water, plus the fact that the customer is also the owner of a lumber mill important and technologically advanced, led to this option at the top of the building has to be anchored to the floor, without reducing the purest expression of the way, all of which led us to imagine the outer skin with a complexity in which the light appearance, the ubiquitous wood on the south side, gradually decreases until it disappears in the north almost all brick facade.

This monotonous facade tried to counter the motley group of family houses of different authors and in different ways across the canal.

Lightness and weight, wood and brick and building their particular systems and composition constitute a complementary system similar to a mandala, which is responsive to both aquatic nature, the location of gas and need anchoring, stability and protection for so-called for housing.


  • []
  • []


  • Catalogue “Arquitectures per al nou segle”, Col.legi d´Arquitectes de Catalunya, Barcelona, 195.
  • Catalogue Construmat 95, March 1995.
  • Housing Josep Lluís Mateo. Arquitecturas de Autor. ETSAUN, Pamplona, 1996.
  • Arquitectura Viva nº. 54, Madrid, May-June 1997.
  • Lotus 94, Milano, Italia, November 1997.
  • Catalogue “Die Neue Sammlung”, DeutschesArchitektur-Museum, Frankfurt. October 1999
  • Barcelona. Metrópolis Mediterrànea nº. 50. Barcelona, January-March 2000
  • de Architect, The Hague. March 2000.
  • Arcam Pocket. Amsterdam Architecture 1997-99. Amsterdam. July 2000
  • Tectónica, nº. 11.Madrid. September 2000
  • Tectónica, nº 1.Madrid, January 2001. English version
  • Quaderns d’Arquitectura i Urbanisme, nº. 227, Barcelona. October 2000
  • Pasajes, nº. 21. Madrid. November 2000
  • On Diseño. Barcelona nº 218. January 2001
  • Costruire. Milano nº. 213. February 2001
  • Domus. Rozzano (Milano) nº. 834. February 2001
  • Area. Milano, nº. 54. January-February 2001
  • Links-Architectural Design. Barcelona. February 2001
  • Catalogue 6th and a Video of the Spanish Architecture Biennial. July 2001
  • World Architecture nº 100. London. October 2001
  • Deutsche Bauzeitung nº 10. Stuttgart. October 2001
  • Area. Milano nº 60. January-February 2002
  • Detail. Munich. Nº 3. March 2002
  • AB Arquitectes de Barcelona. COAC núm. 82. March 2002
  • Catálogo III Bienal Iberoamericana de Arquitectura Chile 02
  • Architekt nº 12/2002. Prague. December 2002
  • 2G nº 25. Barcelona, April 2003
  • Eastern Harbour District Amsterdam (Urbanism & Architecture). NAI Publishers, Rotterdam, April 2003
  • Catálogo III Biennale Architettura Iberoamericana. October 2003
  • World Architecture Nº 162. Beijing. December 2003
  • GrundriBatlas Wohnungsbau/Floor Plan Manual Housing. Birkhäuser Verlag. Basel. May 2004
  • Anjia nº 46. Shanghai. May 2004
  • In Detail « High Density Housing » 2004
  • Metrópolis. Barcelona 2005
  • Catalogue of the Pavillon de l’Arsenal “Nouveaux Paris. La Ville et ses Possibilities” exhibition. Paris. March 17th 2005
  • “Josep Lluís Mateo, Works, Projects, Writings”. Ediciones Polígrafa (Spanish version). Ediciones Polígrafa-Birkhäuser (English version). April 2005
  • Le logement Collectif. Editions Le Moniteur. Paris. June 2005
  • Progetto e transformazione della città. Edizione Scientifiche Italiane. Naples, 2005
  • The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture Travel Edition. Phaidon Press Limited. London 2005
  • Living in the City. Era. Brno (Czech Republic), 2005
  • “Josep Lluís Mateo. Opere e progetti”, Ed. Electa (Milan), January 2007
  • Global Housing Projects. 28 buildings since 1980. Ed. Chair of Prof. Dr. Josep Lluís Mateo (Zurich). 2008



Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it
Pin it

Les excuses
More diversity

Get yours now!