For our annual ‘office trip’ this year we headed to Amsterdam for a couple of days of touring and exploring.
Having caught the evening train on Thursday we were able to get started bright and early on Friday morning. We kicked the day off with a tour of Schoonschip, a sustainable floating neighbourhood in the North of Amsterdam. Our guide was a founding member of the team that worked on the project from its initial concept through to completion on site. He is also a resident of Schoonschip and was able to share his detailed knowledge and experience of the design and development process as well as the nitty-gritty of community living. The development is ‘gas free’ and powered by a combination of aqua-thermal heat pumps and solar panels. Energy performance can be monitored for each dwelling and the sustainability agenda includes numerous practical initiatives ranging from the electric car and bike pool, to the bulk buying of building services components, to a shared food shopping scheme.
We then headed back into central Amsterdam for a tour of city by boat. The sun shone as we slowly wended our way around the canals, enjoying a delicious lunch and taking in the city’s landmarks.
At the Rijksmuseum we disembarked and, led by MSMR’s Molly, Julian, Kate, Darren and Ryan, we continued with a walking tour to round off the day’s explorations. This included stops to take in the architectural features of the Stedelijk Museum’s ‘bath tub’ exterior, MVRCV’s Crystal House, and the Conservatorium Hotel.
The day ended with a delicious dinner and a great speech by Director Simon Robinson. After the evening’s fun, Saturday morning provided a more leisurely opportunity for everyone to wander the city, soaking up the atmosphere before heading home.
After two years of travel restrictions, the weekend provided a wonderful opportunity for the whole practice to come together outside of the office, enjoying each other’s company and being inspired by the contemporary and historic architecture of Amsterdam.