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)

Museum design Mariupol (Ukr)

MaMy Mariupol Museum_Port of memories

Memories are hidden in the soul of the building. Some of these memories re­flect good times: the residential era and the gymnasium episode. Some reflect bad times: the shootings, the war, the ruins.

The architecture in this plan recognizes, acknowledges and honours the past, ánd reaches for the future. Both the traditional and progressive minded citizens relate to the building as if it’s theirs. The old façades along the public streets will be kept, renovated and updated with large windows. A new contempo­rary building arises behind the old wall and brings in a new era. It is made of concrete columns and floors, and wooden framed glass. The double façades represents the tension and the collaboration between old and new, closed and open, private and public.

The stone walls will partly be covered by wooden panels. All Mariupol residents will be asked for their memories in diaries, small text books or post cards. Hun­dreds, thousands of memories about the city, the bombing or daily life will be collected during a project that will be organized around the entire city. All these memories will be burnt on wooden panels and become part of the collective soul of the place. The panels will be placed on the exterior of parts of the old wall, with the text or drawing to the backside. Like personal secrets to store. Only one key word out of each memory will be written at the front side share the collective feeling.

The building connects activities, people, spaces. From outside to inside. From floor to floor, room to room. With many opportunities to sit, talk and reflect. New memories will be collected in a public art installation in the vertical void. The coffee bar (-1) and the restaurant (top floor) mark the endpoints.

The floorplan is open, spatial and flexible to cover different kinds of events, even at the same time. The building will show new perspectives through art, programs, meetings, events and architecture. In all possible ways the architec­ture and interior design invites to feel welcome and to participate.

The entrance, elevators and stairs are situated to create a very flexible floorplan and simple routes for the program now and in the future. The outside kiosk with a shop, coffee and tickets counter is an option to improve the quality of public space and marks the museum seen from Teatral’na Square.

The artist residency is organized on the first floor with its own entrance and staircase. To accentuate their presence and energy of the artists their main place to meet and work is situated inside the old foot bridge at the back. Yearly an artist can be asked to change the exterior look and feel of the old bridge.

The name MaMy stands for Mariupol Museum. A modern name for the new institute, with a wink to MoMa (New York) or MMMA (Moscow). But also refer­ring to the Russian and Ukrainian word for ‘mother’, the one who has known you all your life and keeps your memories and secrets, and the one we can always talk to.

Contribution to the architecture competition in Mariupol “Port of Cultures”. With 49 entries from 21 countries.

Download the design

In collaboration with: Egor Shtefan en Hannah Pikovska
Period: January 2020

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

Art incubator, founder+director

TAC_Temporary Art Center

Like many good ideas, TAC was born at the pub bar.

A few years later there was a foundation, an organization, a building, but above all: many artists, designers, musicians, theater makers, fashion designers and architects who, together, created a vibrant experimental breeding ground for young people. Fulco Treffers was one of the founders, and for years the “central midfielder” of this dynamic volunteer organization. During this period, TAC evolved from an idea on a beer mat to a project plan, and from a pioneering phase to a core player in the Eindhoven and Dutch cultural landscape.

Many exhibitions, performances, shows and festivals later, TAC lives like never before. And, every now and then, Fulco looks at the many videos of TAC_Live or inside the beautiful books made during the early years: VanTAC.

1999 first idea phase
2004 TAC starts
2011 farewell to Fulco Treffers

Some VanTAC booklets can be seen here:

Creative district, Dordrecht

Voorstraat Noord Dordrecht_Creating a street full of culture

What are the measures used to create the right climate for creative, dynamic initiatives in the monumental Voorstraat Noord in Dordrecht? 12N inventoried the possibilities for creating more vitality out of the 130 monuments in the street and the buildings in between, as well as from public space, by shifting emphasis.

The inventory resulted in advising both to the Department of Economic Affairs and the Department of Cultural Affairs. The reason for using 12N was its experience in optimizing the relationship between culture and the city. In the narrow street, the organizational and programmatic recommendations turned out to be more likely to create change than the spatial design issues. Ideas for future models were sketched with imagination by collages.

Commissioned by: municipality of Dordrecht
Period: November 2005 – March 2006

Cultural area, Eindhoven

Viktoriakwartier_Programmatic vision and planning cultural creative neighborhood in Eindhoven

How is a neighborhood made to grow organically? What should and shouldn’t be done? 12N Urban Matters developed a toolkit and framework with which users, housing corporation and municipality could move ahead.

The client’s wish was for an inventory of programmatic and organizational aspects for the development of Viktoriakwartier in Eindhoven, to become the setting for a dynamic, creative-cultural neighborhood. Viktoriakwartier is a planned, top-down building- and redevelopment project in which living, cultural recreation and creative outreach come together in an intimate wijkje or mini-community; situated in the historic centre where old and new combine and the city eases out of the shopping spree towards an alternative, creative promenade scene.

To achieve a properly-balanced concept development, planning and implementation, the developing party, Woonbedrijf, with the support of the City of Eindhoven, assigned 12N as responsible for the project’s programme. 12N summarized the functions in Viktoriakwartier that could be merged and the necessary requirements to do so. 12N drew up the overall programme specifications, performed group studies and defined the various price levels for renting residential, shop, workshop- and office space. Methods introduced by 12N included excursions, networking days, workshop days, conceptual brainstorms and events which also welcomed outside expertise and cultural entrepreneurs as knowledge sources and creative motors.

12N also offered suggestions touching on the subject of identity, dealing with existing and historical urban elements, recruitment and selection of residents/users, contact with stakeholders, communication strategy and organizational structure. The process included interim presentations and products that adhered to the ‘style’ of the project – public sessions organized along with on-the-spot interviews, virtual 3D animation, DJ’s, VJ’s, live music and a 14 x 14 meter plan that enabled visitors to literally take home a piece of the neighborhood.

A very intense cooperation was achieved with Mathijs Bouw of One Architecture, who worked on the spatial parameters. 12N was in charge of the programmatic directives. The development of Viktoriakwartier has ground to a halt, mainly due to a change in priorities within the building plan.
Note: after thirteen years of waiting the redevelopment got new energy with several new partners in 2020. Realisation to be started in 2022.

Download the result here.

Commissioned by: woningbouwcorporatie Woonbedrijf
In collaboration with: One Architecture
Period: 2005 – 2007