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

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)

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

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 design in participation

Utrecht_Sustainable future

Getting off your bike for a little chat. Cross the street to get a doner. Quickly park the car to do the weekly shopping at the grocer and Iranian specialist. Go for a walk with the pram. Walk home from the station in a few minutes. Have a bite to eat with a few friends at Surinamese restaurant down the street.

Sociability. Crowds. Urban dynamics. And peace, daily life, going to school, playing in the street and sitting in the garden. But also the experience of a messy and unsafe Kanaalstraat and Damstraat, by speeding cars, youngsters hanging, laughing gas users and a long history of incoming and outgoing residents. Plus the huge developments in the immediate vicinity of the station and the Jaarbeurs, affecting areas such as traffic and health.

Local businesses and residents have a huge drive to turn their area in a beautiful and special place. They are supported by 12N Urban Matters, and Frans Werter and Suzy Koot of Buro de Steeg. Together with stakeholders, a sustainable future for the charming little district is discussed. Sometimes, there is a conflict of interest between business owners and residents, and they try to find a solution together. Sometimes very constructively and collectively, and sometimes stubborn and opposed. But always in dialogue . A very complex task, where traffic, economy, health, sustainability, organization, planning, housing and community development interlock. And a great challenge for 12N Urban Matters.

The vision
The Kanaalstraat and Damstraat will continue to be lively shopping streets in a residential area, known far outside of Utrecht. Many people visit the Kanaalstraat: people from Utrecht West, the rest of the city and even further beyond. You can come here by bus, bicycle, on foot or by car. Everyone feels at home, safe and pleasant in the Kanaalstraat and Damstraat. It is neat and clean here, with a Mediterranean “look and feel”. This is truly a multicultural society, in the very heart of the city. The different groups of Dutch people mix and meet, but also keep their own customs and habits, and all of that without hassle, trouble or irritation. Despite everything being busy and close together, despite so many inhabitants on a square kilometer. Not the most decent neighborhood in the city, but also one far from rough and unsafe.

Today, the Kanaalstraat and Damstraat are versatile streets, as well as they will be in the future. Currently, the residents and shopkeepers experience regular nuisance from youth or petty crime. Or from the traffic that is chaotic and dangerous. Pedestrians, cyclists and cars regularly get in each other’s way. We want to solve that.

That is why our main vision includes:

  • safe and quiet way of living and growing up in a beautiful, clean and sustainable environment
  • shops and catering: for the neighborhood, the city and the rest of the Netherlands
  • maintaining the current multicultural character; more diversity of products completes the street
  • space for all residents and entrepreneurs (no crowding)
  • higher quality of appearance, spacious for more greenery, meeting and residing
  • accessibility and safety for car, bicycle, pedestrian and public transport, as well as more space for pedestrians
  • Damstraat as an entrance to Lombok without any shortcuts

Offered and accepted
Each of the above points corresponds to concrete measures in the vision. And, it includes: a redesign of the public space, added space for pedestrians, one-way traffic for cars on the Kanaalstraat and monitoring of the parking situation in the residential streets.The vision was presented by the neighborhood in December 2017 and offered to the councilor. The city council subsequently passed a motion encouraging the councilor to find money necessary for implementation as soon as possible.

Click here for the vision
Click here for the blog
Click here for the infographics about the process until mid-April

Commissioned by: municipality of Utrecht
Serving: entrepreneurs and residents of Lombok
In collaboration with: Frans Werter (Buro de Steeg) & Suzy Koot (Bureau Lokahi)
Period: October 2016 – December 2017

Area Plan, Eindhoven

City area plan Strijp_Urban and intimate living in Strijp

City area Strijp is constructed from old Philips districts, the foundations of Eindhoven. Corporation Woonbedrijf manages more than half of the 6000 houses in Strijp. Woonbedrijf knows a lot of people in the 22 neighborhoods. Sometimes it’s difficult to zoom out to district level. 12N Urban Matters assisted in this process.

Nowhere in The Netherlands you can see so well the influence industrial revolution had on Dutch urban design. Large factory sites and related working-class neighborhoods alternate in Strijp. Here innovative developments, like transformation and compaction, are booming the last years, because of the new residents, like young designers, home working family counselors and mobile consultants. They don’t live and work in the ‘old Philips age’. Time to take a closer look at city district Strijp: what makes Strijp the living, creative, urban, but also rural, historic district that the corporation wants it to be?

The city district plan has two main goals. On the one hand it connects the social and spatial connections in the separate neighborhoods. Secondly the district plan provides insight to the task and the method of the corporation in Strijp as a district. The problems, challenges and main directions should be made clear for all the Woonbedrijf employees, professional parties and community organizations. In a time of a retreating government and big changes in real estate, the corporation has to take a clear position within the collaboration.

Together with the involved parties 12N entered into the search for the future of Strijp. The search led to three main points in the task and the method: managing, developing and connecting. The managing goes beyond the maintaining of the houses. The vision will expand, like offering chances to residents by means of social support.

The developing of, among other things, wasteland and vacant buildings takes place in the neighborhoods where Woonbedrijf has a lot of property. Property that stimulates cooperation with the municipality and other involved parties that have the same goal. Think of Info-centre Drents Dorp, where renovation of the neighborhood takes place at the temporary information center under an overpass.

The connecting brings coherence in the developments that simultaneously take place in Strijp. Considerations can be made in a better way. What to do with vacant buildings, or where to locate a new supermarket, and who actually has a say in such situations? How can the municipal social analysis of the whole of Strijp be linked to Woonbedrijf’s future plans? Such considerations have been made in the new metropolitan area in the Strijp-S neighborhood and in the development of a widely supported social-spatial vision for the future of the neighborhood Lievendaal.

Download the City Area Plan here: districtsplanstrijp

Commissioned by: Woonbedrijf
With the cooperation of: Timo Bralts – Bestwerk, layout en cartography & Dorot Sobczyck – photography
Period: from Februari 2012

Zeist structure vision

Zeist structure vision 2020_Course of the municipality for the next ten years

For the municipality of Zeist, 12N Urban Matters worked on a very extensive and challenging urban development project. Within the municipality of Zeist there were major differences of opinion in advance about the desired developments of the municipality, which led to strong discussions at the meeting table and via the press. The Zeist 2020 Structural Vision has ensured a clear picture of the future for the municipality. The desired spatial and programmatic quality in ten years’ time has been described on the basis of research, participation and design. This includes both the built-up areas (Zeist, Den Dolder, Austerlitz, Huis ter Heide, Bosch and Duin) and the outer areas. Special attention is given to both sides of the A28, where there are many opportunities for improvement when it comes to sustainability and quality of life.

The structural vision was drawn up in the period summer 2009 – summer 2010. This structural vision came about through a highly interactive process. The various options were discussed in nearly 40 different meetings with individuals and groups from society. These meetings were sometimes integral and sometimes specific in nature and contributed strongly to the overall plan. In the structural vision, general spatial, programmatic and area-oriented statements have been made, plus an implementation section with a global financial framework.

12N took care of the substantive outlines of future scenarios and the substantive management of an official team of specialists. Simultaneously with the process of the structural vision, 12N worked on analyzing and discussing the existing number studies and calculation models. As was the case in many other municipalities, those numbers led to discussions about its value and the significance of translation into policy documents. Such open method has led to greater appreciation and confidence.

Fulco Treffers worked intensively with Frans Werter from Buro de Steeg (process management), and with Timo Bralts from Bestwerk for (carto) graphic work.

The structural vision followed the Zeist Development Perspective in which 12N was previously involved. A complex substantive task, in which a vision of the future has been sketched based on participation. This vision of the future formed the basis for the next ten years.

Download Structure Vision Zeist 2020 summary
Download Structural Vision Zeist 2020 total

Commissioned by: municipality of Zeist
In collaboration with: Frans Werter – Buro de Steeg, Timo Bralts – Bestwerk & Ingrid Appels – De Appelboom
Period: summer 2009 – winter 2011