Floating building with harbor master office, facilities and a club room and reorganisation of marina jetties for marina, 100 sqm, Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands


A New Marina Centre


In the WVA marina an old, converted freight ship named “Lis” provides space for the harbor master, sanitary facilities, and a meeting area. Unfortunately, this ship is outdated, unsafe, and no longer sufficient for the needs of the harbor. Therefore, the marina has engaged Studio Larkemika to design a new floating structure that will serve as a future proof facilities center for the harbor.

A Suitable design

With a design with a great sense of openness and a strong visual connection between life inside and outside, we aimed to invigorate the vibrancy of the marina.
The floating structure consists of three parts on a floating concrete base. The harbor master’s office is located at the head of the ark, right next to the bridge and harbor entrance. Surrounded by glass, the harbor master has an optimal view of the traffic on water and land and can operate the bridge safely. The more enclosed middle section houses sanitary facilities and other amenities. The harbor’s long continuous jetty leads to the entrance of this section. The multifunctional club room at the other end of the ark offers a beautiful view of the harbor, canal, and windmill. Large sliding doors can open this space to the adjacent terrace.
The design language of yachts, with long visual lines and integrated window parts, is translated into continuous strips of glass and wood cladding, and solid facades with light grey planks. Together with the cantilevering roof, it gives the club ship a dynamic appearance, that fits well within the marina.

Minor Finetuning of Jetty Structure Provides Major Improvements

The use and appearance of the marina are greatly enhanced by modest modifications to the jetties around the ark. The jetties were originally built as an efficient infrastructure. Slightly rotating the position of the ark provides space for a substantially wider jetty deck. This provides room for a terrace. Extending the jetties also makes a poorly connected part of the marina easily accessible and allows a relocation of the waist containers and other outdoor facilities, which are currently next to the narrow entrance zone.
At the heart of the harbor, at the intersection of all walkways and right next to the club room, a sunny terrace with a magnificent view emerges. This cozy meeting place becomes the spot for all the great sailor’s tales

Sustainable Design Leads to Expressive Architecture

Architectural interventions result in energy efficient design with relatively few and simple installations. These design-specific measures endow the harbor ark with a distinctive yet fitting character within the marina and surrounding buildings.
For a strong visual connection between the interior and exterior, the ark features a considerable amount of glass. Overheating from sunlight is limited by the overhanging roof, windows set deep into the facade, and adjustable sunscreens. To accommodate the low-angled sun, the roof extends further out on the east and west sides.
The sleek, elongated design allows for effective natural ventilation with windows and vents that can be opened on all sides. The use of the marina is highly seasonal. The club ship is extensively used during the warmer months and only very occasionally and briefly in the cold season. The installations are designed for efficient and rapid heating of the interior spaces.
The ark generates more energy than it consumes, thus providing power for facilities and ships in the marina. The solar panels on the roof are oriented east-west to maximize energy yield for the roof area. The photovoltaic panels are integrated into the design. The undulating roofline mirrors the movement of the water and forms a playful variation on the roofs of the surrounding buildings.

Creating a Better Environment Together

We designed the new center for the marina together with the members of the club. The marina is operated by volunteers within the club of the marina. Creating consensus among the highly involved and passionate members was essential in the process. In addition, the interests of local residents and the municipality had to be carefully considered/ negotiated. Coordination and communication were vital parts of this trajectory. We have received the building permit and finished the tender process, which was won by the specialized contractor ABC Waterwoningen. They will build the ark in their large manufacturing facilities 150 km away from the harbor. Once completed, a tugboat will tow the ark the marina.


Edwin: “As a child of avid sailors, I spent a lot of time on the water and in marinas. Improving and making this marina more enjoyable was truly a task close to my heart.”


Team: Edwin Larkens, Majka Mikulska, Filippo Gelpi
Client: Watersportvereniging Alphen aan den Rijn
Contractor: ABC Waterwoningen
Status: permit granted, under construction, completion 2025

Copyright Studio Larkemika