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Kokomo Doebaai

For Zeeburgereiland in Amsterdam APTO Architects develops a local neighbourhood hotspot. Families, students and status holders are mingling in an easy going environment.

A nature-inclusive island for the community.

Location Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Size 2.000 sqm
Client Gemeente Amsterdam
Timing 2021

Collaborative approach with high ambitions on circularity, social & nature inclusivity.

Apto Architects develops, finances and builds a fully operational, circular facility at Baaibuurt Oost on Zeeburgereiland. This was our offer to the municipality of Amsterdam for a period of 10 years. Our vision is to create a lively and connected environment, offering spaces for diverse and interesting food and hospitality experiences, start-up collaboration and work spaces, as well as study and social activities.


Kokomo is developed with a high ambition on circularity, social and nature inclusivity. Materials are harvested from the demolished projects in the region. The wooden columns are locally grown, windows are harvested from a nearby commercial building. The oak ceiling panels were previously the floor of the boardroom of the ING bank ‘het Zandkasteel‘. CLT floor panels are harvested from a local school and the bar was previously a bowling alley. Plants are carefully selected in collaboration with ecologic experts, same as the birdhouses, insect hide-aways and bat hangouts. In 10 years time the contractor will buy all materials back and give them even a third life. 


The challenge was in the building permit. What materials to specify if you plan to harvest local leftover materials? Our trick was to show a convincing technical and appearance direction.

An overview of the island showing the picking garden, pavillions for restaurant, social activities and the outdoor bar.
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An island on an island.

Kokomo will be a free haven in the middle of everyday life. A place to relax, where you can choose your own adventure. The concept of an imaginary island gives groups from different generations, cultures and backgrounds a place to find a new home and an opportunity to discover new flavours and surprising ideas together.


Kokomo will open Spring 2023.

The masterplan consists of an island with three pavilions in a landscaped area, linking and connecting the space and experiences together. Central to the heart of the scheme is a restaurant, because food connects people of every culture. Embracing local and seasonal products, residents can come together to cook, eat and enjoy this shared space. In the surrounding landscape there are hubs for innovation and education and more pavilions dedicated to neighbourhood initiatives.

With the vision and brief from the municipality on the table, Apto Architects together with the project team, developed the concept collaboratively over a number of workshops and inspiring ideation sessions. To fully realise the concept Apto  partnered with Dynamo; a social partner in the area who brings connectivity with local residents, harnessing the momentum of great ideas, business’ and relationships that already exist in the neighbourhood today.

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Connecting people

The concept aims to connect people and bring them together in a fun, innovative and sustainable way. Underpinned by a diverse programming of the space and by working together with the various partners, the goal is to ensure there is not only something to do in summer, but all year round; a truly activated environment. In order to build sustainable and ongoing relationships with people, Apto Architects believes it is essential to involve people. The programme will therefore always include and embrace initiatives from the local neighbourhood. By organising recurring activities and events, people are invited to experience the adventure together; something new every time. An annual festival opening of the ‘Harvest Garden,’ a vintage flea market and fresh food and produce markets will be open to different cultures from the neighbourhood. The island will be a place where people can share their own ‘home kitchen’ with the community, a place to celebrate the diversity of our city and the villages within it.

kokomo Zeeburgereiland sluisbuurt in aanbouw apto architects

Monument of the present

Repurpose of building materials means you adopt the previous life of those items.

The history, the stories of what happened and what was experienced between those walls. In this way, reuse offers a past to new buildings. Immediate character and authenticity even before the building is put to use. It makes a newly built project a monument of the present.

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