MA @ Kharkiv (Ukr)

Team member of Master program at the Kharkiv School of Architecture

Fulco Treffers is assigned the member of team for developing the Master education program at the Kharkiv School of Architecture. The aim is to reopen the MA program in September 2022 as a bridge to the professional practice. Due to the war, the deadline for starting this master program had to be postponed. The school wants to provide international knowledge and experience for national value and impact. Treffers is responsible for the design of the new educational concept and lessons program of the master program. This was decided after the experience in teaching in several studio projects and guest lectures at KhSA.

KhSA is founded by architect Oleg Drozdov. His aim is to boost the level of architecture education in Ukraine. It should focus on developing new work, as well as new architectural language and approach that would fit the challenges of our time.

The aim is to introduce a new generation of architects and urban planners who can take responsibility for the quality of space and societal challenges, using modern technology and new ideas. The program does not shy away from challenges, also tackling sociological, philosophical and ethical issues in order to elevate the architectural level.

Fulco Treffers is also tutor at studio projects in the bachelor program.

Commissioned by: Kharkiv School of Architecture
Period: from January 2022 

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

Tutor studio projects (Ukr)

Teaching at the Kharkiv School of Architecture

Fulco Treffers is involved as a tutor in studio design projects in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

In 2021 the 3rd year bachelor students were given intensive introduction in urban design in the context of a typical post-soviet city, Severodonetsk.
Assisted by Natalya Kozub.

In 2022 the 1st year bachelor students are working on the topice of ‘housing’. What means home? What is a place to reload? To feel free? Safe?
With Kateryna Herasechkina and Tetiana Lynnyk.

Fulco Treffers is also Head of MA at KhSA.

More information about the Kharkiv School of Architecture can be found here.

Period: From 2021
For: Kharkiv School of Architecture, Ukraine

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

Park house Severodonetsk (Ukr)

Severodonetsk_Park and cultural venue

12N was invited as the chief designer of a park design and a public building. The design for a multifunctional city park (2 ha) containing a public building for meeting, culture and work. The aim of the design is to show the local stakeholders the potential of the area in order to generate support and finances for its realization.

The park is a “forgotten” area in the center of Severodonetsk, a city close to the Russian border and the war zone. Severodonetsk was designed through consistent application of socialist principles, but has, in recent decades, deteriorated considerably in maintenance and management. The former sports fields are now vacant sand and mud, but have the potential to be a pearl in the chain of public facilities in the city.

In a short time, a team of colleagues from Tbilisi (Georgia) and Severodonetsk (Ukraine) worked on participation, park design, and the design of a multifunctional cultural location. Fulco Treffers was responsible for the overall design of the park and the building. Colleagues from Georgia were primarily responsible for participation, demand specification and organization. The colleagues from Severodonetsk worked on the 3D model and the landscaping.

Residents from the city were invited, through seven sessions, to think about the functionality of the 2-hectare park. The input has led to a diversity of possible indoor and outdoor activities for the park. A choice has been made to divide the park into a number of zones, each with its own character suited for different target groups. This creates a soft separation between quieter and more dynamic areas, between open zones that can be filled in freely and those which could be pre-planned. Cultural events are organized from and near the park building, where indoor activities also take place. There is a strong relationship between building and park in material, greenery, form and use of color.

The design of the building takes into account a compact base that is technically easy to solve, providing a cost-efficient layout. Due to the roof shape and glass part, the building stands out from the gray Soviet architecture, which was rang out as an important signal throughout the participation sessions. Within the strong orthogonal structure of the city, the park provides a new, poetic soft addition to the urban fabric. Due to the relatively low labor costs, choice of material, plants and trees, play equipment and management and maintenance have been taken into account.

Commissioned by: USAID and Severodonetsk Municipality
Period: February – March 2020

Smart City Luhansk & Donetsk

Luhansk and Donetsk region_Smart city development in Eastern Ukrainian cities

15 cities and villages close to the war border in Eastern Ukraine. Perhaps, not the most logical place for technological urban development. Or maybe, it is?

Here’s an example: a regional main water pipe that passes through the occupied war zone is a source of conflict. How much water is used in the occupied area, and how is it paid for? Simple IT equipment along with transparent data, make it possible to measure what the occupants have to pay at the end, as well as the beginning of the water pipeline. Online services or assistance can also improve living conditions for people living next to the war border, no matter how complex their circumstances.

Fulco Treffers worked for VNG International as a strategic advisor on the development of smart city solutions in those cities. Speaking in broad terms, the project had four phases: knowledge development – translation to local situation – choice – cooperation and deepening.

The process had several stages. In the first phase, knowledge from all over the world was shared concerning ICT applications in water purification, public transport, air quality, services and urban design and planning. During the second and the third phase, the fifteen cities involved implemented the acquired knowledge into their own local situation, urgency and prioritization. Through intensive sessions, Fulco Treffers supported the cities in formulating the right questions and prioritization and choices. Each municipality presented multiple issues concerning public transport, youth work, government services and management and maintenance of public space.

In the fourth phase, an in-depth visit was made to a selected number of the cities involved. During those visits, local developments were further investigated and urban planning issues were raised. What can be done with hundreds of hectares of stationary industrial sites? How to deal with the dried up tourist influx in old historic towns? Fulco Treffers gave compact advice to the cities with a form of fast-forward design.

The most memorable moment of this project? During a walk through the center of Ivano-Frankivsk, representatives of the town of Stanica Luhansk suddenly started taking photos of a modern public toilet. These self-cleaning toilets are hygienic and cost little to manage. Why were the photos taken? Stanica Luhansk is where one of the three heavily guarded border crossings from Ukraine to the Occupied Territory and back is located. There, people who have family across the border can cross more or less safely. But because of all the administrative activities and understaffing at this border crossing, people must wait at least four hours before crossing. So, what’s the first thing they need upon their arrival in Ukraine? A clean toilet.

Commissioned by: VNG International and 15 local cities
In collaboration with: Uliana Sydor
Period: summer 2019

This is one of the many examples of research trips 12N Urban Matters has made for Dutch architects and urbanists in Ukraine or for Ukrainian architects and urbanists in The Netherlands.

Zhytomyr culture city (Ukr)

Zhytomyr, Ukraine

“Zhytomyr ??? What will you be doing there? “
“There is really nothing happening in Zhytomyr!”
“Zhytomyr is a city to drive through fast.”

Those were just some of the reactions of Ukrainian friends and colleagues, following the announcement that 12N had been invited to the city of Zhytomyr, one and a half hours drive away from Kiev.

A short tour of the city made it clear how wrong those people were, but also how understandable their reactions were. Figuratively speaking, the city is covered in a thick layer of dust. The existing urban designs and architecture present enormous opportunities. However, those opportunities are hardly ever realized. Abandoned cinemas and outdoor dance venues, are all past their time. Soviet mosaics in parks and on buildings, also in decline. Public parks and tree avenues, just as well.

Following the initial scan of Zhytomyr, 12N and Mare were invited to investigate the opportunities for cultural development of the city. 12N focused on the relationship between architecture, urban design, public space and culture. Mare took on a culture program, organization, and identity.

See the video of the first visit to Zhytomyr: 
To download the sheets of the presentation: Zhytomyr Fulco Treffers 

Commissioned by: Zhytomyr stakeholders
In collaboration with: Marjo van Schaik, Mare
Period: 2017 – 2018


Urban acupuncture (Ukr)

Mariupol Magazine, Ukraine_Urban acupuncture starting new perspectives for Mariupol

A country and a city hit by war. A need for new perspectives, despite the war. Cultural platform Izolyatsia from Ukraine invited fifteen architects, artists and designers to consider the opportunities and creative impulses for the city of Mariupol. One of them was Fulco Treffers from 12N.

Treffers spent two months in Mariupol. He talked to many people, experienced the city with the war so close by, but also the daily life and the resilience that goes with it. He made a glossy magazine, in which he described, in an accessible manner, what the current state of affairs in the city was, and the opportunities he thought existed on an urban, social and economic level.

In doing so, he looked both at the short and long term. In the short term, Treffers advocated urban acupuncture interventions: fast, small-scale local interventions that facilitate meeting, and thus have an added impact on the entire city. For the long term, he researched sustainable economic development: from the steel industry alone to a varied economic infrastructure. He views urban acupuncture as an engine for powering new energy, growth and change.

Download Mariupolmagazine ENG
Download Mariupol Magazine 2015 _ RU/UKR

Commissioned by: Izolyatsia, Kiev Ukraine –
Period: July – August 2015