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the green cathedral

the green cathedral



Stefano Boeri Architetti


INBO(Team Leader); Deerns (BREEAM expert)


Laura Gatti (Landscape consultancy)




Amsterdam, The Netherlands




Tender, Competition


Plot area: around 5180 m2, GFA: 25000-30000m2


Educational facility


Stefano Boeri (Founding partner), Francesca Cesa Bianchi (Project director);
Competition: Hana Narvaez (Project Leader); Shilong Tan, Alessandra Magnetti, He Ruoyu, Paloma Herrero Ermakova(Team)

The Green Cathedral is Stefano Boeri Architetti project for the new InHolland headquarter in Zeeburgereiland at Sluisbuurt, a new developping area of Amsterdam. InHolland is a univesity institute, that counts 6800 students and whose activities revolve mainly around applied sciences, and that is present in different locations in the north and in the south of the Netherlands. It is structured in different departments such as: Agro-Food and Biological Sciences, Economics, Finance and Law, Creative Industries, Health, Sport and Wellness, Education, Technology e Innovation, Design and Computer Sciences.

One of the main goals of the project is to give this new Amsterdam area a strong landmark that makes it directly recognizable for its inhabitants and for all the citizens.

The project follows two main concepts: on the one hand, flexibility of spaces so that the layout of the interiors can be changed at any given time following the different number of students, that can increase or decrease of 20% during the five years of studies classes’ duration; on the second hand, sustainability of the building and circular managment of all its economic and environmental resources.

The parcel, that measures 70 x 75 meters aproximately, presents a severe limitation for new buildings imposing a maximum height of 30 meters and demanding a serious attention to design solutions that can provide natural ventilation and lighting to the whole complex.

The building can be ideally divided into two parts with at the center a green courtyard that works as a recreational space and as a connecting element of the part of the building that faces the street and the one that is in the back of the whole lot.

The front part of the building is deeply charcterized by a sloped roof that pays tribute to traditional Dutch Architetcture and it is made by a light and transparent structure as if it was a big greenhouse that gives shelter to many different species of high trees and a huge variety of bushes that seem to conquer the space in a spontaneous way.

The main characteristic of these spaces, whose organization is not based on a strict structural grid, is exactly the extreme flexibility not only from a planimetric point of view but also as far as the section is regarded: slabs are in fact misaligned also in order to host the growing vegetation. This is the “event zone” and works definitely as a public space where people can meet, find a bar and a restaurant, and where light and green are the two dominant elements.
All the spaces, located in this part of the building, open themeselves on this green lung.

The back part of the whole complex is organized according to a defined grid that allows a certain degree of flexibility to its spaces so that the different needs of the university institute in time can be met with no difficulties. This type of layout is actually a second tribute to Dutch Architecture history and specifically to the concept of Open Air School, where classrooms have glass walls that can be wide open to the exterior envronment. In this second part of the building, you can find the “creativity zone” and the “work zone”.

The energetic sustainability of the building is granted also by a system of photovoltaic cells that cover a 3000 sqm surface of the façade that is realized with recycled wood slats that work as a sun-shade system.

From an environmental point of view, the whole project is completely sustainable considering the fact that the vegetation system contributes to the healthiness of the building and to the ecosystem it is part of.

The green component of the project counts different tropical species in the interiors where the degree of humidity is particularly favourable to this type of vegetation and has vegetation species of the dutch territory typical biomes as far as open spaces are concerned.

The rooftop garden is designed using a vegetation typical of the Dutch Dunal System to resist the strong winds that characterize this geographical area.


Press release