Throwing back to this time last month, when AWW set off to Amsterdam in order to expand our horizons of the built environment, foster knowledge exchanges, and create lasting memories.

The trip offered a unique and enriching chance to explore Amsterdam’s cutting-edge world of sustainable urban development. The weekend was both educational and an opportunity to embrace the collaborative and collective spirit that defines AWW.

The specially curated itinerary included a captivating boat tour through the canals of the city. Our guide, architect Verena Haydin, took us on an unforgettable journey through Amsterdam’s historical architecture and distinctive urban planning. We travelled along the picturesque waterways and witnessed first hand the interaction between the historic charm and modern innovation of the city’s architectural landscape.

During our exploration of Amsterdam by boat, we delved into the intricacies of the city's unique housing system. It was fascinating to discover that a significant proportion of Amsterdam's housing, approximately 42%, is designated as social housing, primarily intended for lower-income groups. The Government has imposed rent price caps on these dwellings, ensuring affordability for those who need it most. This dynamic has led to a relatively small private housing sector, fostering the growth of various alternative housing initiatives. One remarkable example we encountered was the Pilot Housing Project, formed in 2016 by the housing association De Key. This pioneering project targets individuals aged 18 to 28 and provides 565 modular housing units ingeniously housed within renovated shipping containers. This innovative approach to housing exemplifies Amsterdam's commitment to providing sustainable and adaptable solutions to its housing challenges. A fascinating approach that we all learnt something from.

We also got the chance to see the central waterfront and industrial docklands that now form the new city centre as well as the varied residential areas – namely the water houses of IJ­­burg and the barges moored along the canal network. This newfound knowledge gave a better understanding of the specific cultural and economic developments that form the basis of Amsterdam's successful architecture and planning.

Then it was time to get creative with the company-wide photography and sketching competition that focussed on the broad themes of exteriors, interiors and sense of place. The challenge enabled us to interpret, document and capture the essence of the city through our own eyes – with the added incentive of a prize for the winner! Have a look at a few of the fantastic entries:

The health and wellbeing of all employees at AWW is paramount. This can be seen in our attitude towards social value and our commitment to prioritising the satisfaction of both our clients and employees. This study trip allowed the team to socialise and enhance relationships outside of our daily working environment, whilst broadening the depth of their experience of alternative landscapes. Truly a trip to remember…