Grey, greener, greenest



Commissioners and designers of buildings often claim that their projects are ‘green’. How do they measure this? When is a building considered green? In a selection of Amsterdam projects taken from the Amsterdam green architecture guide 2000-2025, Arcam seeks to answer that question.

Measurable concepts such as energy performance (EPC/BENG) and circularity (MAT1 and MPG) allow for a comparison of buildings. Non-residential buildings are assessed using the BREEAM score. Less measurable concepts, such as nature inclusivity and climate adaptability, are part of the point system in municipal tenders, so we have considered those as well.

The city of Amsterdam adheres to ambitious minimum standards. Clients and designers often struggle with the increasing stack of requirements and point out the limits to these ambitions: in terms of time, costs, and also livability. There is ongoing debate on how sustainability can be achieved at the level of individual plots and whether the criteria in tenders automatically result in the most optimal buildings. After all, there is no reward for innovation in areas that do not earn points. However, when we look at these ten buildings, we see that the stringent requirements do lead to innovation.

This exhibition showcases how the living environment is changing, becoming literally and figuratively greener. Buildings may become (economically) more expensive, but they yield greater societal benefits. Materials change, and facades take on new functions. So, even though green architecture may sometimes appear quite gray, the city is becoming greener, more efficient, adaptable, and smarter.

Plan your visit

Grey greener greenest
 Arcam, Prins Hendrikkade 600
Date: 4 November 2023 – 24 March 2024

Opening hours
Tuesday – Sunday, 1-5 pm

Tickets Arcam (all exhibitions included)
Students: € 2.00
0-18 years: € 0.00
accompanying person of a visitor with a disability: € 0,00
Entrance with I Amsterdam City Card: €0,00

Arcam is wheelchair accessible. All floors are accessible via our lift and there is an adapted toilet on the ground floor. If required, we also offer assistance, please feel free to contact us at

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