Forteiland Pampus

Self-sufficient island

The background

The Forteiland Pampus Foundation is facing the challenge of developing the island of Pampus, which is located in the IJmeer off the coast of Muiden, into a fully sustainable, self-sufficient system that operates fossil-free. Pampus needs a replacement entrance building and a new restaurant and restaurant pavilion, and construction of the pavilion has to begin at the end of 2020. The Foundation needed to find an architect who could create a circular pavilion that is as sustainable as possible and fossil-free, while enhancing the cultural heritage of the existing fort. We supported the Foundation in designing and implementing the selection process to find the right architect.


When it was built at the end of the 19th century, Pampus was an artificial island with a huge fort that could house more than 200 soldiers for long periods of time. Acting as the keystone of the Defence Line of Amsterdam (Stelling van Amsterdam in Dutch), Pampus was equipped with technical innovations that meant it could provide its own water and energy with no connection to the mainland. Today, the fortress island Pampus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. The island currently depends largely on diesel generators for its operations, including the pavilion, with about 20 percent of the total energy demand being supplied by solar panels.

The question

Design a selection process that is appropriate for finding an architect to design a sustainable pavilion – an architect who has proven past experience with innovative projects and world heritage, and who has a vision of sustainability that meets Pampus’ high ambitions. This process must explicitly take into account existing collaborations with parties that implement energy-related innovations on the island.

Current situation and future

Inspired by its history as a self-sufficient military island, Pampus is taking responsibility for its role in the energy transition: it is becoming the first self-sustaining public heritage site in the Netherlands that operates on circular principles and without using fossil fuels. To design the ideal pavilion and renewable energy infrastructure, there needs to be an optimal balance between renewable energy, heritage, exploitation and education.

The process

We designed a two-round process to select the architect. Following a pre-selection based on relevant experience, in the first round, we spoke to seven architects and agreed on two architects to proceed to the next round. In the second round, the two architects each organized a working session in which they explored the solutions needed in the assignment. We assessed them on number of elements on the basis of their sessions, paying extra attention to their understanding of the assignment, and making their solutions and approaches concrete.

The results

The Forteiland Pampus Foundation selected Paul de Ruiter Architects to design the new pavilion. The selection team were in agreement that the firm scored highly on all assessment criteria, and that they excelled on vision, innovation and experience with ambitious sustainable projects.

“Copper8 has proven to be a loyal partner in our search for a sustainable future; you need partners like them when you have few resources and towering ambitions. Copper8 was willing to stick its neck out and lead us through a very important phase in our plans. The consultants had more than enough willpower, experience and flexibility to take us to the finish line, and they are still very much involved in how Pampus and our chosen architect are preparing to take the next steps.” Tom van Nouhuys Director

Similar projects

Want to learn more about our projects? Email us.