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


The New WVA Marina Centre


In the 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 Unfortunately, this ship is outdated, unsafe, and no longer sufficient for the needs of the harbor.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 club has engaged Studio Larkemika to design a new floating building as the new future proof centre for the marina.

Designing a Vibrant Heart for the Marina

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 design is inspired by the esthetics of yachts, with long visual lines and integrated window openings. A continuous horizontal strip of windows and wood cladding on top of a base of light grey planks give a dynamic appearance, that fits well within the marina.
The long and narrow volume on a floating concrete base contains a more enclosed middle section and at each end extrovert rooms with glazing all around. The harbor master’s office is located at the head of the ark, right next to the bridge and harbor entrance. It provides a clear view of the traffic on water and land and allows to operate the bridge safely. The middle section houses sanitary facilities and other amenities. The multifunctional club room at the other end of the ark offers a beautiful view onto the harbor, canal, and windmill. Large sliding doors can open this space to the adjacent terrace.

Minor Adjustments of Jetty Structure Improves Usability and Experience.

The jetties were built as an efficient infrastructure. Slightly rotating the position of the ark provides space for a substantially wider jetty deck with 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 Gives Formal Expression

Architectural interventions result in a sustainable design and give the harbor ark a distinctive yet fitting character within the marina and the surroundings. Design-specific measures result in an energy efficient clubhouse with relatively few and simple installations.
Overheating from sunlight entering through the considerable amount of glass is limited by the overhanging roof, windows set deep into the facade, and adjustable sunscreens. The roof extends further out towards the east and west sides to cover for the low-angled morning and evening sun. The sleek, elongated volume with openable windows and vents on all sides allows for effective natural ventilation. 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.
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 available 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. Creating consensus among the highly involved and passionate members was essential. In addition, the interests of residents and the municipality had to be carefully considered. Coordination and communication were vital parts of this trajectory. We have received the building permit and finished the tender process. Specialized contractor ABC Waterwoningen will build the ark in their large manufacturing facilities 150 km away from the harbor. Once completed, a tugboat will tow the ark to the marina.


Edwin: “As a child of avid sailors, I spent a lot of time on the water and in marinas. Making this marina a better and more enjoyable place 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