Building in Vacant Spaces

Making use of empty space

With two million square metres of vacant office space in Amsterdam alone, there is so much potential in putting cultural institutions inside these unused spaces. This is a very urgent theme in the Netherlands currently and we are doing research on projects that take into account innovative ways to accomplish this task.


Lege Mediamatic Fabriek - Toen er nog niets was.

Ecological Urban Renewal at the Wilhelmina Hospital Grounds


Wilhelmina Hospital Grounds - Credits: Collectie Nederlands Architectuurinstituut


Global Ecovillage Network Europe consists of a constantly expanding network of intentional communities and ecovillages bridging all cultures and continents.
In the 1980s, the City of Amsterdam initiated a number of urban renewal projects. Within this context the Wilhelmina Hospital Grounds project became an unique eco- village in a district with typical 19th century districts of closed building and high density.


The aim of the project at the Wilhelmina Hosptial Grounds was to preserve the green and open character of the site and to implement a mixture of social housing schemes, unusual housing formations and cultural amenities as well as small scale industries. A basic pre-condition was to conservate of the existing buildings in accordance with the preservation of historical and architectural values. In addition, a variety of ecological principles and themes were to be worked into various plans. The plans for implementation included the use of ecologically sound materials, reduction of energy and water, creation of a largely car free area, improvement of outdoor climate by greening open spaces, orientation towards an ecological design, and involvement of the residents in a social concept. The participation of users has been regarded as a driving element of the process in regard to many aspects of planning and implementation.