Bajeskwartier, a new residential area on the site of a former prison on the outskirts of Amsterdam, will include a special ‘incubator’ for artists who are finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable studio space within the city boundaries.

As Dutch inner city areas are redeveloped and upgraded, the old industrial spaces loved by experimental artists are becoming increasingly short in supply. But developer and Holland Metropole partner AM was happy to ensure the Bajesdorp artists village, first established on the site by squatters in 2003 could remain, albeit in a different form.

The incubator development is now at the planning stage and once the green light has been given, a new building will be erected on the site of the former director’s home. The ground floor will have a café, theatre and music studios and a space for performances. The three upper floors will offer housing and ateliers of 15 to 25 square metres to 10 artists in residence.

The cost of the project is put at €2.5m, of which 65% has been covered by a mortgage by a German cooperative bank. The rest of the funding is being raised via a ‘crowd-lending’ campaign. The 10 residents will each put €5,000 into the fund but will not own their homes. Instead, the building will remain in the hands of a cooperative to preserve the space for future generations.

Once completed, the complete Bajeskwartier district will have 1,350 new homes, offices, commercial functions, shops, restaurants, a hotel, urban farming and workshop space, in addition to the incubator for art and alternative lifestyles. Bajeskwartier will be energy neutral, with heat pumps to provide winter heating and all organic waste created in the district will be used to produce electricity.

‘Sustainability and climate adaptive development are key in this project,’ AM chief executive Ronald Huikeshoven told Holland Metropole magazine earlier. ‘In fact, 98% of the building material salvaged from the demolition work will be reused. We want to respect the site and its history.’