Amsterdam’s Jonas building – BNA Best Building of the Year 2023

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“NedZink NOIR cladding for BNA Best Building of the Year 2023

A tough building with a warm heart

Amsterdam’s Jonas building was recently named BNA Best Building of the Year 2023 by the professional jury. The winning building was designed by Orange Architects and, according to its “creator,” a very sustainable building both technically and socially. Thanks to the chosen materialization, including the impressive zinc NedZink NOIR cladding, and the special programming. According to the jury, Jonas is an exemplary project for sustainable, affordable and collective living in a densely populated city. And it has the zoom factor. The what?

The design of the winning building at the harbor of IJburg is inspired by the Bible story of Jonas being swallowed by a whale and having a pleasant stay there. “The building is located at a very maritime location. So our goal was to create a stout and robust building on that headland that fits that water location,” says Jeroen Schipper, founding partner of Orange Architects. “We were therefore immediately charmed by the dark patinated zinc NedZink NOIR, especially because it is not completely even in colour. It ‘reads’ very much like skin. And so the reference is made to the whale. On the inside, on the other hand, we use a lot of wood to make this large residential building soft and comfortable. A tough building with a warm heart.”

Zoom factor

What is special about Jonas’ zinc cladding is that it is not applied in a standard way. “They are not fascia boards or cassette panels, but piece by piece form elements that frame the window frames like a kind of 3D-formed picture frames,” Schipper clarifies. “Facade builder WVH has therefore done a great job.” The 3D shape of the zinc picture frames from NedZink NOIR already provide the necessary depth in the base, but Orange Architects then came up with a pattern as well. They themselves call it the zoom factor. “The closer you approach the building, the more details emerge on the zinc facade. So you slowly see patterns emerge,” Schipper explains. “There are creases in the picture frames that evoke the association of a scaly skin, and if you get even closer you experience the smallest detail. Here and there an ‘eye’ is punched into the facade. That, in my opinion, is precisely what makes architecture so interesting: that the closer you get you see something new all the time.”

Breeam Outstanding

Jonas received a Breeam Outstanding certification, the highest score according to this international method for sustainability. “This type of certification is very much about materialization, sustainability and circular use of materials,” Schipper knows. “Choosing NedZink NOIR is therefore a sustainable choice. After all, the zinc is 100% recyclable and is produced locally in the Netherlands.” According to the professional jury of BNA Best Building of the Year 2023, Jonas is therefore an exemplary project for sustainable, affordable and collective living in the densely populated city. Schipper and his team are delighted with this award. “Besides a recognition for the exceptional architecture, we also see it as a recognition for Jonas’ innovative residential concept: compact with many shared public and collective facilities that link the building to the neighbourhood. This makes the mental experience of the home extend far beyond one’s own apartment.”

With the use of natural and biobased materials such as NedZink NOIR and the focus on social connection, Jonas addresses the themes of the future. “The professional jury makes an appeal to architects, but especially also to clients and investors, to put even more effort into the transition to a circular economy,” said jury chairman Ed Nijpels of BNA Best Building of the Year 2023. “Especially now, the connecting power of architecture is important. It is therefore crucial that these examples are widely emulated to achieve the Dutch goal of 50% circular building by 2030!”

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