Marc Koehler
nl / en

Superlofts Blok Y

Superlofts Blok Y offered a cooperative of 30 homeowners a blank canvas to customise or design and build their apartments according to their needs, and actively engaged them from the outset to co-create the building and its shared spaces. A unique complex – where no two apartments are alike – results from the building’s radical flexibility, collective character and high level of sustainability.

The building combines 30 Superlofts in 5 types – XS lofts (70m2) to family lofts (145m2) – resulting in a rich diversity of dwellings and mixed community. Homeowners could fit out a completely raw space (by themselves or together with an architect) or customise an existing floor plan, and also their exterior. The project was organised as a Cooperative Development Model where the residents actively helped shaped the overall design including the building’s form, loft formats and collective amenities. This collaborative process resulted in an active, close-knit community where the residents were already neighbours even before construction began.

Designed as an Open Building, founded on flexibility, participation and resilience, the five-storey building comprises a base framework (support) that is independently fitted out (infill) by the inhabitants. The open concrete framework is organised into varying loft formats with two or three storeys, single or double facade, with a roof terrace, balcony or garden. Their unique layouts are uncommon in conventional housing, many designed to flexibly accommodate future change e.g. by incorporating a lift or flexible partitions to reconfigure the interior once the kids leave home. Generous voids create a beautiful sense of space and light.

Constructed with a considered use of materials and meticulous detailing, the facade is a simple but strong expression of the concept. The interplay of the fixed concrete grid and variation in details from the customised facades results in a robust, dynamic building that reflects the diversity of its community. The slim concrete grid is filled in with a framework of double-height windows that bring light deep into the apartments. The varying loft exteriors, with different entrances, balconies and window configurations, result in a lively facade composition. By night, the framework is animated by modules of glowing interiors that reflect the changing activity within.

The roof of the shared car park is landscaped with 10 private gardens, 3 private terraces and the communal garden, which the residents collectively designed under guidance from Marseille Buiten. Behind the building, the canal was widened and enhanced with a shared jetty. A shared lobby integrates a communal display and bench.

A high level of sustainability is achieved through the integrated use of technologies such as floor heating and cooling using geothermal heat pumps with heat recovery, 180 solar panels for individual and shared energy needs, CO2 sensors for ventilation with heat recovery, passive solar design integrating double or triple glazing with electric sunshading and low maintenance facade materials. This results in an EPC of 0.3 and average GPR figure of 7.5.





Veemarkt, Utrecht

Self-initiated, in collaboration with: Stichting Blok Y, the cooperative of residents and Vinkbouw


Main architect
Marc Koehler Architects

In collaboration with
Initiatiefgroep Blok Y

Project architect
Roel van der Zeeuw

Process manager
Martijn van Sluijters

Project team
Mitchel Ovens, Marc Verhoef, Dirk Overduin, Mariana Rebelo Fernandes, Marijn Luijmes