Open Building BlackJack an energy neutral cooperative development

How would you like to live?. What does your dreamhouse look like?
Would it be possible to make your own apartment?

BlackJack is an energy efficient eleven story high building with maximum glass, maximum light, maximum view, maximum size of balconies, extra inside height, maximum freedom in choosing the size, facade and layout of your own dwelling. A bright, sober and sturdy building designed with attention and care in the details. BlackJack is an exercise making an cost- and energy- efficient apartment building with maximum freedom, public participation and flexibility for house-owners, now and in the future.

To achieve this the carcass is made of prefab concrete columns and fontanel walls which makes it possible to combine or separate units very easy. The façade has a predetermined building system but the layout is determined by each buyer. Each floor has an over dimensioned amount of facilities like a fuse box, doorbell, underfloor heating unit, front door etc. In the upper layer of every floor there is an intelligent pipeline system installed making all imaginable layouts possible. These measures gives people the opportunity to choose their own size and layout of their dwelling. This makes it also possible to have an office at home with own entrance, merge, divide and change the use in the future.

The building consists of 80% residentials and 20% commercial units. All buyers, both private or business became member of the cooperative association. The cooperative is also the client.

With each owner individually we developed a tailor made design and floorplan. Hereby all houses are unique. The often free floorplans deviate from what is known as a standard in housing floorplan. This is not invented in advance but arose from the wishes of the clients and the unique opportunities that were possible.

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Open Building Experience 5.: “The Pelgromhof”, Zevenaar, The Netherlands, 2001

This project is located in the town center of Zevenaar (32000). It incorporates 169 support-infill apartments for elderly, a parking garage for 86 cars and a nucleus of 46 nursing rooms, designed for assisted and intramural care giving, a restaurant, a kitchen, a chapel, a theater, a shop and a library.

The Pelgromhof has been developed in the rental sector by the local housing association ‘Baston Wonen’, previously ASWZ, and the care foundation ‘Pelgrom’, today ‘Pleyade’. It was selected as ’National Model of Sustainable and Energy-efficient Construction’, nominated for the ‘Dutch Building Award’, became finalist of the ‘World Habitat Awards 2004’, and received the ‘Experimental Status’ of the Dutch government.

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Superlofts is a revolutionary development & design model for hybrid co-housing communities that can radically improve the quality of cities and the way people live together.
Superlofts projects address people with unique lifestyles looking for personalised spaces and a new way of living in the contemporary city, where Creative Freedom, Social Inclusiveness, and Healthy living are the fundamental values. The Superlofts concept provides an open framework of action, avoiding the conformity of traditional housing. It creates a sense of communal urban living while providing the individuality that makes loft spaces so desirable.
Superlofts offers a 6m tall (19,7ft) raw-space in which you can customize or self-build your dream home. This provides the opportunity to match lifestyle and budget for a variety of unique users and attitudes from compact studios to XL penthouses and from affordable ‘do it yourself’ to turn-key luxury. Superlofts become a kind of ‘urban villages’ with very diverse types of dwellings and vibrant user communities. They attract a niche-market of urban pioneers to the urban fringe where they become catalysts of urban development.
Superlofts are radically flexible and thus resilient mixed-use buildings that can adapt over time to shifting trends and behavior. They are functionally hybrid buildings in which residential-, work- and ‘maker spaces’ blend into each other. They allow users to ‘grow into their home’ and make investments over time. They are based on a modular and prefab base-structure and flexible fit out system. This allows the interiors to be updated independently, tapping into the trend of healthy, circular and cradle to cradle building products. It supports a transition from ownership to leasing. Superlofts use the latest technologies in renewable energy, air purification, rainwater- and waste recycling and E-mobility. In Delft we go all electric, in Utrecht geothermal and solar; with each new site, we push the limits further.
Superlofts is initiated by Marc Koehler Architects [MKA] and is applied by local professional partners, developers and user-groups, who form a worldwide network. Superlofts works with focus-groups who participate in the decision-making process in an early stage, resulting in uniquely crafted spaces and resilient co-living communities. In some cities Superlofts projects have been crowdfunded by the future homeowners, in others, developers and investors have stepped in. The model has proven to be highly adaptable to different sites.
The Superlofts website connects Superlofts members in different projects worldwide providing a platform for exchanging ideas and inspiration in loft design, and green co-living. Superlofts is currently active in 7 countries. The flexibility of the open framework creates an opportunity to add common spaces or shared facilities at minimal costs. This creates social well-being while providing each homeowner with a unique chance to co-create and experience their own personalized home.
With several projects currently completed and much more in development in the Netherlands and abroad, Superlofts is the evolutionary and customizable co-housing concept of the future that will soon meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.
Please contact us for more info or to partner with us at
Best regards,
Marc Koehler, architect & founder of Superlofts

Open Building Experience 4.: “Berkenkamp”, Enschede, the Netherlands, 1988.

Inspired by our Keyenburg project in Rotterdam (1985) and the analytic study “Support Patterns for Enschede” the local housing association “Licht en Lucht” in Enschede decided to build a support/infill project near the city center. They chose for Open Building in order to respond better to the market by fixing the program just before building. Moreover to allow a change of dwelling sizes in the future. And of course they preferred free dwelling lay-outs for their occupants!

The project contains 229 rental units for singles, couples and families divided over 70 apartments in a high rise building, plus 61 flats and duplexes on street level and 98 flats and duplexes upstairs around two courtyards.

The local foundation for housing mediation (SWE) organized the infill sessions, led by two experienced architect-consultants of our Lunetten and Keyenburg projects.


After our earlier projects some new Open Building aspects had to be dealt with:

  1. The attachment of meters and a heater to the central shafts,
  2. The prevention of raised floors in bathrooms.
  3. The application of modular coordination in a non rectangular building structure.

Open Building Patch22, a highrise in wood

PATCH22, a 30m tall high-rise in wood, was one of the successful plans in the Buiksloterham Sustainability Tender in 2009. The initiators, the architect Tom Frantzen and building-manager Claus Oussoren,founded Lemniskade Projects to achieve independently what they had never been able to manage when working on commissions for their previous clients:  an outsized wooden building with a great degree of flexibility, striking architecture and a high level of sustainability, not because that was what was required but because that is what ought to be done.

The project was developed for their own account and risk in the middle of the crisis years of 2009-2014, and innovative financing solutions were conceived and implemented to meet this challenge. The project also incorporates numerous innovations in the technology used and application of technical rules, all aimed at achieving the desired flexibility without having to make compromises. Examples include the hollow floors and removable top floor, the lack of shafts in the apartments — achieved by having the piping and cabling taken horizontally to central shafts in the core — and agreements for a fixed ground lease with flexible positioning of the functions within the building. But the most unusual feature is the use of a wood as the main structure for the 30m-tall building. Moreover, the wood has largely been left visible, making this a key factor in the ambience of the apartments and the exterior.

Open Building Experience 3.: “Keyenburg”, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 1985

On a plot in the district ‘Zuidwijk’ of the city of Rotterdam 152 rental apartments have been built for singles and couples, young and elderly: 115 two-person units of 48,60 m2, 32 one-person units of 41,85 m2, and 5 larger MIVA units for disabled people, all spread around a courtyard in 2 blocks of three floors and 2 blocks of five.

The owner, housing association ‘Tuinstad Zuidwijk’, wanted a support structure to allow the change of small units into bigger ones later on, what happened in 2004. For the renters they wanted a free infill of their dwellings to favor different ways of living.

The Keyenburg project (1985) was quite different from our previous support-infill projects Molenvliet (1978) en Lunetten (1981). It had a particular focus on cost saving by a simple building construction, a new infill cost calculation and a stringent application of modular coordination (MC) including building metrology. It has been the first official pilot project of a new Dutch MC standard, the NEN 2883.

It also applied new tools in the process of design and participation. The full scale infill model of the Eindhoven University has now been utilized very realistic in a hall near the building site and the office where the user consultation took place. And above all, a new computer program related drawings directly to cost and rent calculation so that users could decide immediately about infill and rent.