23 de Enero is a district in Caracas / Venezuela, where there are ‘70s modernistic residential blocs built for 50,000 people. For political reasons and thanks to housing shortages, Barrios (informal housing areas) where built in between the modernistic blocs, and now, the district houses a total of 200,000 people.

view 23 de Enero, 2010

My main conclusions, results from the urban analysis, were that district 23 de Enero and the whole town of Caracas is fragmented and segregated. As a result, I designed an urban path for 23 de Enero, which will integrate the different areas and work also as a catalyst for defragmentation. The path is the key element in my whole design, and I want to help create change on an urban and architectural level.

urban maquette

First, the path will provide the access to the different areas by stairs, lifts, and escalators and it will also provide the public space with new elements. Second, it will stimulate the self-initiatives from the inhabitants in different locations.

path in the Barrios
path in the Blocs / daytime
path in the Blocs / nighttime

Third, there will be four buildings on the path which will transform the whole area: a gym, a tower and bar, a recycling industry, and a cultural center. The cultural center will be the starting point and the fall case study of the urban and architectural investigation.

visualization cultural center

The cultural center is a combination of different programs: an underground parking garage that will accommodate the huge need of parking lots, an underground musical hall for 1,000 people to congregate (at the moment there are no buildings in the district to accommodate this number of people). The cultural center will provide different activities on the ground level including: a skating park, a restaurant, different playgrounds and a market. These cultural events will help eliminate the possibility for criminal activities, will handle the inhuman scale between the two modernistic blocs and will attract and give meaning to the people of Caracas.

maquette cultural center

There are also two lofted buildings, which are women’s centers. In Caracas, the question of emancipation is not solved in society; there is a large need of a space where women can meet, discuss, get education, and find self-confidence.

Sustainably speaking, there are 3,000 square meters of sun panels on the roof and also a rainwater tank under the skate park.

Architecturally, the building handles the formal and the informal, and allows for various elements to be used for informal fillings, including areas from the path and columns. The formal language from the path is a crystalline structure, which is a result of how the barrios are built into the topography. The lofted buildings are independent structures that can be internally customized by the women themselves.

maquette cultural center

Famous Brazilian boxer Nelson Garrido owns a boxing school under the overpass’ Viaduto do Café in São Paulo, that he opens to residents from the nearby low income neighborhood.

Viaduto do Café in São Paulo

The boxing school is positively impacting the area in a variety of ways: people are gaining self-confidence, have access to healthy and fulfilling recreation, are less inclined to aimless street loitering, and as a result, the crime rate in the neighborhood is dropping.


Together with a team, I designed new seating elements inspired by the roughness of the boxing school. Recycled tires were used as the material, as we wanted to combine the social element of the boxing school with a sustainable aspect, reusing material that was already at the location.

building process

City Kids will be a home for troubled youth in Amsterdam’s ‘Overtoomseveld’ district.

The Overtoomseveld is designed by van Eesteren and belongs to the AUP of 1920. The existing buildings are compositions of blocks and the problem of the public spaces is that they have no identities.

urban maquette Overtoomseveld

The idea is that the residents can prevent the neglect of the public space. The design assumption was that the new buildings are defined by cutouts, immediately giving the public space its own identity.

maquette Citykids

The youth are invited to appropriate the public space, planting fruits and vegetables in the courtyard, on the roof gardens, and in the two greenhouses on top of the buildings. The fruit and vegetables are for sale in the shop and of course, to use, which also creates an active connection with the surrounding neighborhood.

floorplan +0
floorplan +1
floorplan +2

The vision for the City Kids is about security and freedom. This is visible in the wall, which enclose the building. This architecture refers to monastic architecture and, like a monastery, there is an obvious separation between inside and outside. On one side the wall is a safe enclosure and on the other hand, this wall with its many cutting outs clearly shows that a  healthy ‘rehabilitation’ brings a lot of freedom.

visualization courtyard
visualization shops

Each culture has the living room, the center of the house. Usually there is a couch to relax, the space where guests are welcomed.

view Robert-Scottbuurt

In the Robert-Scottbuurt, a greenhouse will be the living room. The greenhouse will be a catalyst between people, cultures, and know-how. It will be a space where the cold Netherlands meet the warm Mediterranean.

maquette greenhouse
maquette detail greenhouse

Anyone, big or small will provide something. The people, for example, bring books to create a library or they bring their old furniture for the living room. The pattern of the large carpet in the middle is a creation of plants by the people who live in the neighborhood. The harvest is the gift for the neighborhood.

drawing carpet

Twente is a region of beautiful landscapes, home to to national parks and many country estates. t Vaneker within Twente now consists of scattered farms, interspersed with open meadows and arable land. It has an almost park-like character.

In the past, the residents of Twente lived from the land. The farmers lived in small social communities; ‘buurschappen’. On the boundaries sit hedgerows, giving each cluster an intimate atmosphere. From the clusters are sightlines to the landscape, alternating with an open landscape.

siteplan Buurschappen

This particular landscape and social situation is the basis of the design. According to the analysis of the area, the main point is to be as strong as possible against urbanization. We want to keep the special character of the alternating openness, the density of this unique area and we want to preserve the sight lines to the landscape as much as possible. The project was made in collaboration with Anita Rühle.

groundplan +0

These were the main starting points by the planning of the four living units as one cluster. The buildings are planned low with one or two floors to maintain the visual openness as much as possible.

view east
view north
view south

The Virtual Museum Zuidas is currently a platform for artists who are documenting the building process of the Zuidas. In the next 25 years, the Amsterdam Zuidas is slated to develop into a top international location. The mix of high activity, urban living and improving public facilities creates a diverse and international atmosphere. In the future, the A10 freeway and the railway tracks will cover a distance of 1.2 kilometers underground.

siteplan Zuidas 2009
siteplan Zuidas 2020

The Beatrix Park overlooks the skyline of the Zuidas and has recreational significance for the inhabitants of the Zuidas. A newly designed art trail through the park engages the entire audience of the Beatrix Park with art. This trail will widen up at a certain moment and give the new museum shape. The new building for the museum will have 3000m2 of exhibit spaces, studios and housing for artists in residence.

siteplan Beatrixpark with art trail

In the phase before the A10 goes underground, the museum will span part of the train tracks. In the second phase, as the A10 and the railway tracks go underground, the new landscape will be filled with green and the museum will act as a connection between the art trail and Amsterdam Zuid. The shape of the art trail is a composition of two ribbons.

There are different entrances; from the north via the cafe art space; the other possibility is to go directly to the official entrance of the ground level. On the ground level is the main exhibition space and on the on the first level are the art studios. The second floor can be accessed via a staircase. On sunny days, the public is invited to sit on the stairs. On the third level are the housing for the artist who also has access to a roof terrace.

visualization Museum Flux 2009
visualization Museum Flux 2020

Plan Zuid is a residential area in Amsterdam, with the master plan designed in 1917 by Berlage. When the plan was designed, Berlage didn’t calculate the underlying landscape or the already existing city. The plan is self-concentrated and the design gains its shape from blocs. If, for example, one bloc falls apart, the plan no longer works, which makes it unsuitable for changes and revisions. Everything in the plan is predetermined, and although Berlage was a Socialist, Plan Zuid is today an exclusive area with high rents.

 existing situation Amsterdamplan amsterdam nieuwe meer schinkel

In comparison with Plan Zuid, the district Schinkel between Plan Zuid and Nieuwe Meer has an entirely different history and character. Here, there have long been areas with fuzzy boundaries, seized by a combination of residential and commercial properties; no single function dominates the landscape. The area is flexible in its use because citizens take their own initiative to give the neighborhood shape. This area is characterized by its residents’ involvement, the degree of openness to the outside and occasional, temporary space.

vision Schinkel

I propose a new strategy for Plan Zuid, co-opting the informality modeled in Schinkel as a guide. Spaces present social structure and users recognize themselves in the urban settings they’ve helped influence. People will care more for their environment if they are invited to create it. A new strategy for Plan Zuid will be the platform for informal interventions to make this area more livable, to open it up for mixed use and to introduce more green into this area. Like the space itself, the timeline would also be fluid, allowing time for the plan to prove itself, with needed adjustments scheduled after five years.

vision Schinkel

When the Academy “Bezalel” in Jerusalem wanted a new building, they held a competition for the new design, to be constructed northwest of the Old City. Jerusalem is an ancient city with a rich history spanning centuries. Over the years, it has seen many culturally and religiously significant buildings built. The sightlines to such important religious buildings must always be kept free, even as new buildings go up. Jerusalem also has a very unique topography, and from the start, it was important that the new structure fit seamlessly into its surroundings.


Because of that, we didn’t want to design one monumental building, blocking the sightlines of surrounding areas. We also took inspiration from the special white Jerusalem stone – all new buildings must be up to 70% of this material. It’s from these stones that Jerusalem takes its nickname, ‘the golden city’, as the stone reflects a golden shimmer when the city is bathed in sunlight.

floorplan -1
floorplan +1

We began with the concept of broken stones, swimming in space. The new building will be comprised of several different buildings, corresponding to the separate units of the Academy. Framed in the spaces between the buildings are sightlines to the old city, the east mountain, and other important religious structures.

The project was made in collaboration with Anita Rühle.


Through the ages, the church has been a symbol of community life, marking the center of the city. To spark conversations about the intersection of church and community, we built an inflatable church with cheap materials and occupied the public space, blowing up the church on various locations in inner city Amsterdam.

We wanted to engage passersby in dialogue about what church and community mean to them. In response, many joined the discussion and wanted to sit in the church.

This project was realized by the art community ‘Nieuwevaart’.

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