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Fort Kudelstaart
Circular Zeilfort


The Living Lab Project

Fort Kudelstaart

Built in 1906, the Fort near Kudelstaart is part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. The Defence Line is a 135-kilometre-long military defence line of dozens of forts, dams and sluices, interconnected by dikes and ramparts. An ingenious system to keep 'the enemy' out. At all 45 forts belonging to the Defence Line of Amsterdam, the land around the line could be flooded (inundation), resulting in a pond that was "not deep enough for ships and too deep for men and horses". It never got that far. In the past, the line was indeed brought into position to defend the city of Amsterdam, but battles failed to materialise. Since 1996, the defence line has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Fort Kudelstaart will transform into a nautical centre with a wide range of functions. Zeilfort will host a museum, a variety of conference rooms, cafes and restaurants, an underground parking lot, and a hotel with a small spa. This master plan is divided into two phases, with phase 1 concerning the renovation of the existing building and phase 2 concerning the planned expansion. Elements to be realized in phase 1 include restorations of the original contours of Fort Kudelstaart, retrofitting thermodynamic systems, strengthening of the building insulation, cafe, toilets, showers, temporary catering facilities, a museum, and the development of an ecological bank. As an UNESCO World Heritage Site retrofitting is limited and by requirements to preserve the historical value.


Fort Kudelstaart’s proposed plans represent a great challenge: sustainably retrofitting built heritage while preserving cultural value.  With the urgency to address climate change and take it into account with the renovation, it's obvious that the area which would use the most resources gets priority when it comes to concept development. It will also be important to not only look at traditional ways to achieve energy efficiency, but to also look at the compatibility of new technologies combined with historical elements. Due to the large size of the project and the many processes delaying the start of the build, we decided to dedicate this study to a part of the Fort where there are possibilities in any case. In phase 1 of the construction of Zeilfort, concerning the renovation of the existing building, a cafe kitchen will be introduced in the right wing's fort. Therefore this Living Lab did research on the impact of implementing a circular system in the kitchen facility of Zeilfort Kudelstaart. The team had employ the theoretical mechanism of the Water-Energy-Food nexus as a tool to categorically organize inputs and outputs of resources within the scope of our analysis of the cafe kitchen facility. This living lab’s goal is to contribute pertinent research-to-practice realizations in reducing built environment impacts, proving that valuable insights may be gained from intense periods of research and development from outside, multi-disciplinary sources. 

What is the impact of implementing a circular system for the cafe kitchen facility of Zeilfort Kudelstaart?

Zeilfort kitchen facilities

The focus on the kitchen was a decision made to scope the living lab to a manageable load for the limits of our three-month timeline. We researched how we could best integrate the three elements of the WEF nexus into one persuasive and circular scenario. This scenario has set an example for the process to introduce circularity in a kitchen. The scenario consists of multiple interventions for the kitchen facility in phase 1: see location on right. The interventions create a higher state of circularity in fort Kudelstaart and in the long run towards a self-sufficient fort as it was back in the 19th century.


During our living lab, we chose a path that has not often been trodden before. We have therefore saved and noted the route we had to discover. Now more clearly and made visible, we are happy to share the route. The roadmap, therefore, contains a step-by-step guide for other entrepreneurs, forts, or restaurants to boost the circularity in their kitchens or businesses. 


Find out more about fort Kudelstaart's circular kitchen:

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"I'm more interested in the future than in the past, because the future is where I intend to live."


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