Circular and social, article

Circular and social

Fulco Treffers and Marjo van Schaik worked together on a article about circular building and social ambitions, for the cooperative network of Cirkelstad.

This so called ‘green paper’ gives an answer to the following question ‘How does circularity relate to social objectives?’ It gives a fundamental perspective on this, to look at circularity from the social viewpoint, to find ways to connect the system world and the real life world. The theories of Kate Haworth, Jurgen Habermas, Bruno Latour and Stewart Brand are used to find a set of values to build on. Next to the fundamental perspective, the practical approach can be found. All topics and theories come with links to interesting and inspirational projects.

The document will be the base for the Cirkelstad community on this topic, and will be discussed, enriched, adjusted for a more social circular building future.

Download the pdf (in Dutch only).

Period: Jan-May 2023
For: Cirkelstad
With: Mare

Soledar, city perspective (Ukr)

Soledar, city strategy, landscape design

“The gift of salt” is het meaning of the name of Soledar, a small  town in the East of Ukraine. For Izolyatsia, a cultural platform originally based in the city of Donetsk, this town reflects the situation of Ukraine as it is right now: a typical soviet town close to the occupied area. The war is only 30 km away. People are leaving because of the lack of work and cultural and social movement.


Question to 12N was: how do public spaces help to change the perspective of the city? 12N Urban Matters invited Mare as a specialist in public cultural venues. The result after a short time research and design project was an art installation and video of our work.

The aim is to make  a connection between under and above ground; under the ground in the salt mines is a touristic and cultural world. We suggest to make the magic of downside visible upside by using lights and redefining public space. Developing the centrally located city park and a hill at the side of the town called Yurchina will turn this place upside down. By putting the down side up.

The central park has old stories to tell. It is now a transit route, mainly used to walk through as a nice or short way from one place to another. There are memories of how it once was. That’s the sentiment. The sense of being together, of care, needs a new imagination, a different language. We will put a new layer over the old, but the old will always remain visible. We can also add something new, a different view, a new perspective, that gives hope and fun.

The design is a zoning plan and relatively cheap solutions for improving the urban furniture, art objects and program, plants and trees, without removing everything that is already there. Plus, we propose to add a view tower in the centre of the Park. An extra tower, referring to the shape as the mine shafts, reusing old elements of the industrial parts. An old shape, a different form: a beacon of air and light. Connected to the other shafts in the city by colourful flags. Distinct from the other, asking to be climbed rather than descend.

Local vlogger Pavel made this video about it.

For: Izolyatsia cultural platform
Period: December 2021
With: Marjo van Schaik, Mare

Innovator Berlijnplein

Berlijnplein Utrecht _ Innovator, co-creator and circular expert

Berlijnplein. An area of ​​9000 m2, built in a circular manner, with a mix of outdoor and indoor spaces, special architecture, surprising installations, a diverse cultural program and workspaces for artists. A place where you can meet, wander and be surprised by art and design. A place where you can actively work and where there is always something different to do and experience.

In this project, Fulco Treffers can use all the experience he has gained over the years in participation and co-creation, area development, the art and culture sector, spatial design and circular construction. Collaboration, translation, connection, innovation, deepening: As account manager for innovation, Fulco represents a link in the project team between the various substantive goals and between the civil servants, market parties and cultural partners.

There is one overarching theme: The future of the city. Now that more and more people live and work in an urban environment, this is becoming an urgent theme. How do we keep our cities healthy and liveable? What is the role of technology? How will the social relations in the city of the future become? Who does the city actually belong to? A fascination for these kinds of questions about the future of the city is what connects all “residents” and visitors to Berlin Square. They will work together on it, from various fields and resources, such as the arts, design, technology, journalism, socio-cultural (youth) work and education.

The program is intended for a wide target group; from families in Leidsche Rijn who stay there on a Sunday afternoon, young people from the area who are challenged to become makers themselves or to participate, to culture lovers from far beyond who attend a special event.

This story has now been elaborated and established as “Development Framework Berlin Square”. A large new theater was conceived in Leidsche Rijn center years ago. But now we work in a different, organic way. Form follows ambition. This is where the future of the city is made. With culture, with meeting, with building, with the neighborhood and with high-profile projects. And – not least – according to circular principles.

In this project, Fulco Treffers can use all the experience he has gained over the years in participation and co-creation, area development, the art and culture sector, spatial design and circular construction. Collaboration, translation, connection, innovation, deepening: As account manager for innovation, Fulco represents a link in the project team between the various substantive goals and between the civil servants, market parties and cultural partners.

and as a booklet: Development Framework Berlin Square

Commissioned by: municipality of Utrecht, RAUM, DePlaatsmaker
In collaboration with: Copper8, Tender People, Bestwerk, Beeldstories
Pictures: Felice Hofhuizen (boven), Han Ernest (onder)

Circular design

Circular architecture

In this house just at the border of Amsterdam there is a maximum innovation in new and reused materials, old technologies, biobased solutions and nature based design.
Here are some first pictures. More pics and text to follow.

Period: January 2020 – May 2021 (design and realisation)
With: Mark Luiken – Groenluik, Mario van der Linden, Huibert Spoorenberg.

Circular housing concept

Research circular social housing

Social Housing corporation Woonbedrijf has established in its sustainability policy that they want to be circular within now and 10 years. An experiment has been started to achieve this. The aim was to build 15 social rental homes from its own raw materials. The building decree is the starting point and the houses are suitable for the target group of the corporation.

A team of various parties, including 12N Urban Matters, came together to take the next step in sustainable social housing. It is very important to develop, experiment and learn from this. Residents were involved to think along, to design. Fulco Treffers was responsible for landscape design and connecting with the residents and ambitions regarding learning, recording and presentation to the outside world.

In collaboration with: Inbo architects, Van Liempd, Baetsen, Stam + De Koning

Initiative CircularHub


The understanding of circular economy (design, production, construction) is still in its infancy. Technically, there are possibilities, although the development is still in full swing. In terms of processes, legislation, financial models and behavior/culture, many limits still need to be overcome. CircuLab was created for that purpose by an initiative group of Woonbedrijf, Park Strijp Beheer and 12N Urban Matters.

CircuLab’s mission is to bring circular construction forward, from a niche market to regular (larger) players. The role of the end user (usage, experience, comfort, willingness to pay) is a key factor in this. The former SFS bunker on the Glaslaan/Kastanjelaan side will, in the following months, be transformed into a lively place where knowledge about circular building and design will be bundled and shared. The circular homes of Glaskring (by Woonbedrijf) will be located next to it. Such bundling of projects provides knowledge, energy and a network for further development of circular thinking.

Fulco Treffers was a quartermaster of CircuLab, and put the new building on the map in the first place, in collaboration with PluginCity, in October 2019. The open organizers, designers and operators of this circular hotspot were attracted via an open call. BuroKade, PluginCity and De Girls van Eindhoven took over the baton in December 2019.

Commissioned by: Park Strijp Beheer, Strijp-S Eindhoven
Period: 2019

Landscape design RAUM

 RAUM Utrecht _ Landscape  design

RAUM – a new cultural institution in a young neighborhood. A new culture cluster. An addition to the heart of Leidsche Rijn. On top of the A2. It is a cultural institution that does not want to determine its own future, but rather wishes to do so with the neighborhood, with artists, with stakeholders in the city.

The appearance of the outdoor space at RAUM (approx. 4000 m2) was in dire need of renewal. In fact, the area looked like a wasteland festival site where the rain puddles, garbage cans and parked cars dominated the view for most of the year. There was an important desire for creating a place suitable for larger events which would also invite use even without prior program or organization. All of that on a budget appropriate for a design period of approximately five years. 

By applying large wooden frames in the area and paths of concrete plates with intermediate greenery, the area can be used on three levels. The green areas give rise to small encounters, possibly several at the same time. The frames divide the area into a central square with four adjacent zones. Between the frames are planes where larger objects or activities can take place. And, due to the transparent nature of the frames, the entire area can also be used for a single, grand event.

The design is based on the circular idea. Materials that were already present on the site (clinkers, gravel and concrete plates) were reused. New objects were made, as much as possible, from bio-based material. Dismountable and therefore re-locatable and adaptable, they can be used in case more permanent buildings on the location are realized in a few years’ time.

See this video for an impression of the area.

Commissioned by: RAUM
In collaboration with: LaBolleur, Donkergroen, Venividimultiplex and 100% FAT