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 

Space-S, social co-creation

Space-S_Customer driven design in social housing _ Multiple award winning!

“What would you build here on Strijp-S? What kind of a program, shape? We have calculated that about 400 homes could be built. But how and in what way?

Woonbedrijf came to 12N Urban Matters with this question in 2012. It was an invitation to think about living on Strijp-S – a wasteland on Eindhoven’s largest transformation area. An area where former Philips factories and office buildings were transformed into “the cultural heart of Eindhoven”.

It was a question every designer craves for. But also a question that gnaws at conscience: I have always stated that a designer should approach large developments with restraint. Too many Dutch locations and landscapes have been ruined by uniformity, by building too much in the same style and at the same time. And now, what have I done…?

A second question quickly arose: do I really know what residents want? A house with a garden? A penthouse above the city? What else? And what if they can’t afford that? Isn’t it more differentiated than that?

Therefore, my answer to the corporation was that we must ask future residents what they want, in terms of how they want to live. We do this in existing neighborhoods. We could also do that in new constructions. So, my proposal was: 12N would rather like to design the process for this, than the building itself. Of course with the knowledge of urban and architectural design.

That led to a lot of educational moments. About designing. About theory and practice of involvement. About changes in organizations. But especially about living. That it is not just about a good floor plan, but about living in a broader sense: about neighbors, about renting, about safety and community, about the inside and the outside.

I wish a process like this for every resident, for every designer and for every commissioning party. It is, and was, worth gold.

It was never boring. Playing the saxophone to do a sound test with the residents. Taking a day trip up to and down from Paris in order to view example projects and to have a lot of conversations. Accomplishing deadlines because, despite all the meetings and conversations, the schedule had to be achieved. And camping a night on the construction site, at the initiative and invitation of the active core.

Fulco Treffers was able to use the full breadth of his experience as project leader of a large team of Woonbedrijf, Stam + De Koning and advisors. As an urban designer in the team at Urhahn. As a structural engineer in responding to proposals from architect Inbo and contractor Stam + De Koning. As a workshop developer and session leader at all meetings with residents.

By inviting Rutger Büch and Stefan Herwich to the project team, knowledge about customer-driven working and the use of social media was strengthened. Such strategic knowledge is now used in other projects and cities.

Customer-driven goes beyond customer-oriented
We are familiar with the customer-driven approach: the customer comes first, we listen carefully, communicate well. 12N Urban Matters went a few steps further at SPACE-S by actually giving the customer a leading role. Why don’t we apply that in a new construction project as well?

We are proud of the result. There’s no slowdown, but rather an acceleration in comparison to regular. There’s no budget overrun. There have been various awards and nominations, and hundreds of national lectures have been given. But above all: there is a group of residents with a beautiful place to live.

The design: from the outside in
Everything was different from the start. Even before an architect was picked, future residents had discussed their wishes for their new living space and environment. This change in procedures required a continuous flexible attitude of the Woonbedrijf staff, who kept a clear goal in mind and had to rely on the process.

In December 2016 the first units of Space S were ready to be occupied. The train is rolling, the final design choices for the common areas are made and the residents’ association has been strengthened. 12N has transferred knowledge and experience with workshops and excursions to the residents and employees of Woonbedrijf.

The role of 12N Urban Matters is over. The project was completed, and the project has begun.

Download the project book here: SPACE-S _ 12N

Commissioned by: Woonbedrijf
Period: 2013-2017


  • Vanenburg Award 2014 (corporation prize)
  • Dirk Roosenburg Prize 2017 jury prize, best building in Eindhoven
  • Dirk Roosenburg Prize 2017, public prize, best building in Eindhoven
  • Best building of 2018, in the Livability & Social Cohesion category, by Bond Nederlandse Architecten (BNA)
  • Best building of 2018, public vote, organized by BNA in collaboration with Volkskrant
  • European Collaborative Housing Award 2019, First prize for the best social housing project in Europe
  • World Habitat Silver Award United Nations

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

Social housing process

Drents Dorp_Social and spatial transformation

Eindhoven is booming. Strijp is hot. But Drents Dorp Oost, in between all major developments of Strijp S, R and T, seemed to be on a permanent break. Drents Dorp consists of almost only small, low cost houses, largely built by Philips between 1925 and 1930. When Philips left Eindhoven, the neighborhood spiraled down. Unemployment, crime, anonymity and personal problems prevailed. Not only the houses, but also the local people needed some attention.

Drents Dorp is not a place for the very faint of heart; it’s a typical blue collar area with lots of colorful residents. Most of them feared that the area would be demolished, feeding suspicion and anger towards the housing corporation. But Woonbedrijf didn’t demolish, the corporation decided to maintain and invest in the neighborhood.
In 2011,  12N Urban Matters was asked to work with residents on a local vision for Drents Dorp Oost. Starting point was preservation of the urban structure, and maintaining the affordability of the homes.

Major maintenance

Drents Dorp is no place for massive participation evenings in anonymous venues. It is, however, a place for small talk with your neighbors, for informal and lowkey conversation. So 12N organized meetings on a street by street level, at home with one of its residents. Dubbed the ‘Tupperware method’, it was a quick and easy way to talk to people about their homes and neighborhood.

What do you want, what don’t you want, what choices can we make together when it comes to major maintenance of the neighborhood? Connect people and then translate their wishes: after nine months 12N presented a social- spatial plan. In collaboration with more than half of the total number of residents, it showed the wishes, ambitions and commitments for housing, the public space and social interaction in the area. It presented clear choices for residents.

The major maintenance in Drents Dorp is now finished. The majority of residents is satisfied. One looks back on an admittedly radical maintenance, but with much appreciation for the way 12N involved residents in the process.

Social cohesion

When Philips left Strijp and Eindhoven, Drents Dorp lost a thread in its history. This had major consequences. A neighborhood where many people worked, knew each other and cared for each other, Drents Dorp turned into an anonymous place with high unemployment and anonymity.

How do you spark a newly discovered energy and a newly developed identity? That required an out of the box strategy.
Along came the Drents Dorp Angels, a concept designed by 12N and Anemoon Geurts (moon|and|co). Three girls working in the creative industry challenged the residents, sometimes literally, to cross ther threshold of their doors and join in for various activities. For exampke a festival for the both most loved and hated local residents: pets., and annual participation in one of Eindhovens most important events: the Dutch Design Week.  A successful approach: social cohesion grew strongly in a few years time. The role of the Angels slowly changed from guiding to supporting residents. By now, there is a strong team of volunteers, that organises a large number of successful events.

Social design – also called co-creation – is still part of the program around. Design and culture, based on the stories, wishes and people in the neighborhood, highlighting the uniqueness and identity of Drents Dorp. People changed their views and beliefs; of themselves and their talents, but also of their neighborhood and environment. Through social design Drents Dorp was able to make the connection with the developments at Strijp S, R and T. In his own unique and quirky way of course.

Meeting place: the Drents Dorp Headquarter

Space and social get together in the Drents Dorp Headquarter. After signals from 12N residents explored the possibility of a meeting place for the neighborhood. The choice fell quickly on an unusual location: right under the viaduct at the entrance of the district, known locally as the ‘Strijps Bultje. Neighboring designer Piet Hein Eek was commissioned to build the property. Made from recycled materials, the place is bright and cozy and open almost every day. This transformed a gloomy, dark place under the overpass to the vibrant heart of Drents Dorp.

This way of working fits into the line of work of 12N Urban Matters: large effects on the quality of life through minor physical intervention.


The combined approach of physical and social issues in Drenthe Village, has launched a movement that now attracts attention from around the country. Once an area in a downward spiral, the neighborhood now shows how politicized ‘participation’ may look like in practice. Drents Dorp is still that stubborn neighborhood with a raw edge. But pride, full of initiative and caring for each other. 12N Urban Matters, together with partners, designed the building blocks for a future in which residents take matters into their own hands.

Commissioned by: Woonbedrijf
In collaboration with: Moon | and | co
Period: 2012-2015

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

Loft design: live + work

Work/living space_Redesign garage, Eindhoven city centre

Fulco Treffers of 12N Urban Matters designed his own living workspace. He transformed an old garage shed in the center of Eindhoven into a multifunctional living space, while succeeding in retaining the industrial character of the building, along with plenty of space for unplanned extra functions and activities.

The transformation presented an architectural task, and despite its small scale, this development could be viewed as an example of small-scale urban development. The neighborhood and the municipality were enthusiastic about the developments and cooperated where necessary.

The design solved the most important physical limitations of the building, while maintaining its most powerful elements. The building is wedged between barns, halls and gardens, and stands entirely on its own plot boundary. Originally, there was hardly any daylight present and almost no outside space. The lack of daylight has been solved by placing a skylight over the full length of the roof, along with a 10-meter wide sliding glass facade on the newly installed storey floor which overlooks the neighboring gardens. An outdoor area has also been created.

By building a transparent (glass) volume in the space, the full length of the hall and the strength of the old repeating roof trusses can still be experienced, but the space becomes climatically more manageable. The temperature can be adjusted within the glass room. Old and new come together through the visibility of the materials, the experience of the old garage shed, and the presence of the old (also glass) company manager’s house that has been kept in its place.

Want to know more? Watch the video here: Woonwerkpand 12N Stedenbouw

Commissioned by: self
Design: 2009
Build: summer 2009 – spring 2010

Family house design

Designing a place to call home

Ellen and Adrie need a change. The house is old. It’s finished. But the place is beautiful, and they do not really like to leave. They live in a gorgeous setting, with space for themselves, their three children and two horses.

The first talk made clear that this was an assignment that 12N Urban Matters liked to take on. ‘Warm, open, ordinary and extraordinary, and curious about the future.’ And ready to make it work!

The ideas started flowing, with long conversations about living, about life, about houses and about feeling at home. home and at home. Finding inspiration elsewhere, measuring, building workshops with he kids, and ultimately drawing, designing and building the house.

Commissioned by: Ellen and Adrie and the kids
Period: from June 2014

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:

Social design, Eindhoven

Sonseweg_Linking social and spatial characteristics

The backdrop: a northern suburb of Eindhoven consisting of 120 very small houses – just about as small as they come in urban social housing. An organically grown neighborhood with an eclectic mix of people, all of whom are slightly scarred by life and ended up in the neighbourhood simply because they had nowhere else to go.

Lots of changes have been made in the area recently. Five years ago, problems were on the rise, but after effective and sharp intervention, the corporation reinstalled peace and quiet. A coffee-corner, where residents meet field professionals, works incredibly well. One might conclude: much achieved, end of story. But the corporation was curious for more.

The public space surrounding the dwellings lacks clear structure and clear separation between public and private areas. The connection with the adjacent park is dodgy and undefined. Should something change, according to the residents? And if so, how? The group of residents is so diverse and yet so specific that it is hard to define their needs and wishes.

A typical challenge for 12N Urban Matters: investigating the relationship between spatial and social characteristics in the area. Commissioned by 12N, Mildred Montpellier (social and medical anthropology) and Wessel Dragt (spatial analysis) set to work.

The project was implemented in four phases. Firstly, needs and wishes of residents were defined through interviews and open discussion. Parallel, analysis of the spatial environment took place. Based on the results, four scenarios for the public space were developed. These scenarios were presented to the residents during a fun-filled activity in the park. Taking residents response and opinions into account, a final proposal for the outdoor area was presented.

The chosen approach presented an additional challenge. In parallel to all open conversations with the residents, background calculations were needed all the time: to what extent should the ambitions be tempered or stimulated? Design drawings and Excel sheets went hand in hand. Several residents also provided help, in form of pruning and clearing actions. The result is a safe, pleasant outdoor space, maintained by the neighborhood.

Commissioned by: Woonbedrijf, district Woensel-Noord
In collaboration with: Wessel Dragt and Mildred Monpellier
Period: January – June 2012