GG-loop - Freebooter Biophilic House in Amsterdam: a ship on land
  1. Home
  2. Award 2021
  3. House
  4. Freebooter Biophilic House in Amsterdam: a ship on land

Freebooter Biophilic House in Amsterdam: a ship on land


House  /  Completed
Site and inspiration
Freebooter is a small building located in the center of the island of Zeeburgereiland in Amsterdam, facing the Ij river, consisting of two duplexes of 120m2 each.
Sensitive to Dutch history, customs and culture, the project took the Netherlands’s maritime past as its starting point.
Freebooter thus becomes a modern "ship on land", with many references to the wind, water, and sailing. On land that belonged to the water, a new ship set sail.
The project’s name itself is a reference to the historical figure of the ‘Freebooter,’ private freelancers who assembled teams of sailors to explore the high seas. As well as acknowledging Dutch innovation and the nations’ pioneering nature, it was the spirit of the Freebooter that project architect, designer and GG-loop founder Giacomo Garziano sought to bring to the apartments, by bringing together a highly qualified team of craftsmen and carpenters to help him achieve his vision.

Architectural choices
The main materials of the building, like a ship’s hull, were limited to wood, steel, and glass. The floor plan of each apartment, referencing a ship’s layout, is organic and free-flowing, with step-inclines to spaces that are designed to envelop and ‘unfold’ as the inhabitant moves through it.

One of the most important features of Freebooter is its use of light. GG-loop conducted a year-round study of light conditions to create the optimal shape and positioning of the structure’s louvers. This parametric facade enabled the optimal distribution of light while simultaneously allowing for an appropriate level of privacy.
The project is made of a hybrid structure of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and steel, and was prefabricated offsite, allowing for an exceptionally fast built-time of three weeks for the four floors. Finishing the block took 6 months.

Unique properties
A triumph of biophilic, home-owner-centric design.

Designed and developed by Amsterdam-based studio GG-loop, the project is an expression of the studio’s signature and philosophy of responding to the design brief with the experience and wellbeing of the end-user continuously in mind.

Our first residential building in Amsterdam represents the quality standards of our future projects, based on high energy efficiency, high-quality interior spaces, and natural materials.

The floorplan, flow of spaces and organic lines were also created with careful consideration of daily use and the typical tasks of dwellers – in short, so the home is a healthy and productive habitat for rest and living.

Celebrating craftsmanship in contemporary design, this building of two tailor-made apartments harmonizes form and function on a meticulously designed plan. With a striking exterior, it has become a central point of the district; the block opens onto a compact interior plan revealing combinations of windows, wooden interiors, and high-quality finishes, with open organic curves that walk through comfortable living spaces, promoting a feeling of well-being and connection to nature.

The project is the result of in-depth research in the field of timber construction: the hybrid system in CLT and steel structure was developed throughout the design process to optimize interior space and time of construction.

In the initial studies, comparative tests were made between a concrete structure and the CLT structure. The latter has proven to be the most qualitative solution, thanks to its structural performance and its optimization of construction time, but also its carbon footprint since wood naturally stores CO2. The impact on the cost of an efficient CLT structure is less than 10%, compared to a concrete solution.

Energy and environment
The building's energy consumption is close to 0. This result is the combination of 24 solar panels on the roof, high-performance wall insulation, and glass walls, coupled with low-temperature underfloor heating and a mechanical and natural ventilation system.
98% of the wood used is PEFC certified. With 122.5 m3 of wood used, the building stores nearly 80 tonnes of CO2, offsetting nearly 700,000 km of exhaust gas from a mid-range car and the energy consumption of 87 homes in one year.


 257 mq
 Giacomo Garziano, Robbie Nijzen, Simone Peluso, Daniele Colombati, Jan-Willem Terlouw, Piergiorgio Angius, Krzysztof Zinger
 Kolthof BV
 Construction Engineering: Pieters Bouwtechniek | Installations Engineering: Mabutec | Timber construction: Binderholz, Ekoflin | Installations: JF Totaaltechniek | Kitchen and bathrooms: KCP Amsterdam, Peer Kolsters
 Switches & systems: Jung | Floors and Walls finishing: Senso | Meshes: Carl Stahl | Furniture supplier: Plaisier Interieur | Architectural lights: Artemide, Wever&Ducré, LEDBCN | Bathroom fixture: Flaminia, Meir, Villeory-Boch
 Francisco Nogueira, Michael Sieber


Established in 2014, GG-loop believes that design is not simply about creating functional objects and spaces. Instead, design should tell a story, taking its user on a journey. GG-loop tackles design challenges with this in mind, articulating a vision for projects that is at once future-forward, organic and refined. At all times in the design process, GG-loop places the end-user front and centre.
GG-loop’s design aesthetic is extravagant without being invasive, visionary and futuristic while paying attention to local cultures, customs and sensibilities.
GG-loop draws on an international network, deriving its strength from a focus on biophilic design and putting users first when responding to the design brief.
Projects range from product design to large scale urban planning and design for the real estate, retail, infrastructure and culture industries.

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054
ITC Avant Garde Gothic® is a trademark of Monotype ITC Inc. registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and which may be registered in certain other jurisdictions.