Treehouse NDSM

Treehouse offers affordable studio space for budding artists in a gentrifying part of Amsterdam. Lasting a mere ten years, one hundred studios with collective amenities will be realized using reclaimed materials from all over the Netherlands.

Starting out in 2010 as a side operation of a theater producer at the NDSM, Treehouse rents cheap space to artists. Growing but still clandestine and nomadic on vacant plots of land, the City of Amsterdam invited Treehouse to formalize the initiative in 2014. BETA has since developed the rental concept and the architectural design.

The new Treehouse concept aims to fuel cultural experiment by adding an affordable and complementary layer to the NDSM shipyard as a creative hub. Participants are selected based on a project proposal including how they wish to elaborate the public presentation. The ambition is a high-energy atmosphere where an ever-changing group of artists exchanges, professionalizes and presents their ideas to the public.

Temporality sufficiently burdened the business case for Treehouse, making the reuse of abundant building materials the starting point for the architectural design. Where initial design iterations were thought of in shipping containers, the design was eventually elaborated using timber construction shacks. In a loosely organized grid, a series of shacks house the project’s studio space while two larger spaces accommodate a workshop and exhibition space. Collaboration and exchange are encouraged by combining compact studio space with expansive collective spaces in the project.

The project is enveloped in reclaimed timber from nearby forest management projects. The repetition of the characteristic roofscape results into two slightly contrasting façades, each responding to the adjacent urban context. Three oversized sliding doors mark the main entrances and invite unsuspecting visitors into using a secondary internal urban route, exploring the cultural production inside Treehouse.

During its ten-year tenure, Treehouse aims to offer a form of resistance against the disappearance of cultural experimentation. Time will tell if the project ends up being detrimental to the force of gentrification.

Project Details


2014 – 2019


Stichting Treehouse


NDSM shipyard, Amsterdam


under construction


concept development, architectural design


Strackee (engineer), Cauberg Huygen (fire safety), Wijngaarde Beckers (building supervision), VrijplaatsX (contractor)


Auguste van Oppen, Evert Klinkenberg, Ryan Dougan, Jaro Cools, Eldrich Piqué


Marc Faasse