Studio Komma has taken on an ambitious project to create a public residential park, the Marine-doc Estate, which will transform former Dutch cargo ships into sustainable homes, creating an engaged and connected community through the repurposed structures.
Adaptive reuse, the process of refashioning a defunct structure for a new purpose, is ubiquitous these days—so much so that hearing a phrase like “converted warehouse” or “repurposed factory” barely causes one to blink an eye. However, a new project from a cohort of Dutch architecture firms highlights the innovative nature of adaptive reuse with a scheme that reimagines disused cargo ships as houses. With their fully intact exterior shells, the ships remind residents and visitors of their industrial, seafaring past.
The collaboration between architecture firms Studio Komma, Studio Kees Marcelis and landscape architect Buro Poelmans Reesink, will bring between six and fourteen defunct ships back to life in a public park, the Marine-doc Estate.
The project will entail the reuse of Kempenaar, a Dutch cargo ship that has “reached the end of [its] economic lifespan” on water. Lifted onto land, the maritime relics will now house residences that the architects describe as both “sustainable” and “exclusive”. While their reference to sustainability is largely a nod to the environmental benefits of adaptive reuse, which saves energy by avoiding demolition and reducing construction impacts, renders of the project also indicate a ring of solar panels circling a roof deck.
Like many adaptive reuse projects, the Marine-doc Estates’ design contrasts an industrial past with a modernised, luxurious present.
“The design preserves the original style characteristics of the stern, wheelhouse, and foredeck and combines these with sleek geometric shapes to provide aesthetic counterweight,” explained the architects. The “sleek geometries” include spacious patios that extend from large windows cut out of the side of the boat and a generous roof terrace.
The Marine-doc Estate project is scheduled to begin implementation this year. Its location has not yet been announced, but the designers say they are working “both nationally and internationally to secure land positions” for similar reuse projects.