July 18, 2024

Dezeen School Shows: a project that addresses the severe impacts of climate change on the Netherlands’s river region is included in Dezeen’s latest school show by students at Amsterdam University of the Arts.

Also included is a shelter space for female survivors of domestic violence and a project that explores how architecture is designed for visually impaired individuals.


Institution: Amsterdam University of the Arts
School: Amsterdam Academy of Architecture
Course: Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Architecture

School statement:

“The world around us is constantly changing and at a rapid pace. We are facing major, cross-border and wide-ranging questions.

“The challenges – related to climate change, resource scarcity, energy transition, social inequality and declining biodiversity – are urgent, complex and spatial issues for which answers must be sought now to maintain perspective on a sustainable and inclusive future.

“The Amsterdam Academy of Architecture is an internationally oriented educational and research institute where students are trained in the national and international fields of architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture.

“The artistic and personal development of the student is the key focus within the intensive education, which is characterised by a high level of expertise, where a culture of innovation, collaboration and experimentation challenges students to look beyond borders and break new ground.

“Students study and work simultaneously to become spatial designers and thinkers, with strong roots in practice, as well as critical thinking focused on the future of the respective professions.

“Architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture courses are offered concurrently and in an interdisciplinary manner in order to prepare students for integrated and future-focused professional practice, thus paving the way for a transformation of the design professions.”


visual of an exhibition space by a student at Amsterdam University of the Arts

The Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul by Gavin Fraser

“The Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul is a project located in Greenock, Scotland, aiming to challenge how architecture is equipped for visually impaired individuals.

“It repurposes abandoned sugar warehouses and harbours in a city marked by high rates of visual impairment due to its lost sugar industry.

“Globally, around 253 million people suffer from visual impairments, with care primarily focusing on physical aspects.

“This project seeks to address the often-overlooked mental health issues associated with visual impairment. It combines clinical and social responses, redesigning eye hospitals to prioritise patients’ mental wellbeing.

“Additionally, it establishes a social centre offering alternative therapies like art, music, horticulture and movement to address social isolation and loss of purpose.

“The project promotes community integration, education and financial independence for visually impaired individuals.”

Student: Gavin Fraser
Course: Architecture
Tutors: Elsbeth Falk, Jeanne Tan, Jo Barnett, Machiel Spaan and René Bouman


two models by a student at Amsterdam University of the Arts

Average Place: Agency of Architecture in Authoritarian State by Maria Khozina

“This project delves into the role of architects and architecture’s language in an authoritarian state, aiming to explore how architectural skills and knowledge can contribute to societal change and politics.

“It’s a personal exploration, addressing grief, loss of belonging and questioning one’s role as an architect in their homeland.

“The project seeks to find a new architectural language to redefine the architect’s role, looking at architecture’s interaction with people and how it can deepen their experiences.

“It combines elements from the plastic arts and architecture to create the architectural machine, representing a social issue. The project encourages diversity and expanded awareness in architecture.”

Student: Maria Khozina
Course: Architecture
Tutors: Marc Schoonderbeek, Rick ten Doeschate, Michelle Provoost, Arna Mačkić, Tom Franzen and Txell Blanco Diaz


an architectural vision of a park design

Garden and gardener of the Peelrandbreuk by Roy Damen

“The project explores the intersection of natural and social themes around the geological fault line called Peelrandbreuk in the village of Liessel, North Brabant.

“It presents a garden as a conceptual framework, comprising four ‘garden rooms’ that represent natural elements such as peat and groundwater.

“These spaces make invisible processes visible and connect humans to the ancient fault line. The garden serves as a spatial narrative where geological and cultural history converge.

“The gardener’s role symbolises a personal journey of rediscovery, bridging a connection to their roots and embracing the landscape’s story, aiming to awaken, rather than create, something meaningful.”

Student: Roy Damen
Course: Landscape Architecture
Tutors: Saline Verhoeven, Paul de Kort, Erik de Jong, Maike van Stiphout and Remco van der Togt


a master plan of a landscape design project

Burnt: A Tale of Three Fires by Jacob Heydorn Gorski

“Burnt: A Tale of Three Fires explores how embracing wildfires can enhance resilience and foster cultural connections between a landscape and its inhabitants.

“Informed by Dutch approaches to water management, it centres on Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, challenging prevailing wildfire narratives.

“The project develops three strategies: defensive, resilient and resistant, engaging the community and using local materials. These strategies reshape the ecosystem, offer unique landscape experiences and promote community exchange.

“While site-specific, they provide a model for handling wildfires in the American West, suggesting a future where fire is integrated positively. The project offers a new path forward, illuminated by the transformative power of fire.”

Student: Jacob Heydorn Gorski
Course: Landscape Architecture
Tutors: Jana Crepon, Hank van Tilborg, Sarah McCaffrey, Marieke Timmermans and Robbert Jongerius


visual of a riverside landscape design

Water Driven: a Breathing River Landscape by Rex van Beijsterveldt

“This research emphasises a transformative approach to the Dutch river region, addressing the severe impacts of climate change and landscape cultivation.

“The river area faces challenges like droughts and flood risks, particularly in low-lying river polder regions. The proposal advocates for a comprehensive strategy that leverages water and soil management to combat these challenges.

“This approach not only mitigates climate change impacts but also promotes nature restoration and innovative land use.

“A smart water management system, including water basins within the river polders, offers a dynamic landscape that adapts to changing conditions, providing both environmental benefits and resilience in the face of climate change.”

Student: Rex van Beijsterveldt
Course: Landscape Architecture
Tutors: Mirte van Laarhoven, Saline Verhoeven, Gerwin de Vries, Ziega van den Berk and Roel van Gerwen


photos of models of a living room and a courtyard

Shelter: an Architectural Typology to Host Women Victims of Domestic Violence by Alice Dicker Quintino Dos Santos

“This graduation project aims to reimagine women’s refuges for survivors of domestic violence in the Netherlands.

“Recognising that spatial design can significantly impact the recovery process, the project focuses on an Amsterdam city block.

“Inspired by traditional Dutch ‘hofjes’, the design creates a protected inner world within the urban context.

“It balances seclusion and inclusion, privacy and collectivity, offering a domestic environment with shared spaces for recovery and individuality preservation.

“A sequence of enclosed gardens helps shape transitional experiences between the city and the shelter, providing a secure and healing atmosphere for women to recover from the trauma of domestic violence.”

Student: Alice Dicker Quintino Dos Santos
Course: Architecture
Tutors: Marcel Lok, Pnina Avidar, Hannah Schubert, Susana Constantino and Paul Kuipers


a landcape design model by a student at amsterdam university of the arts

Wad Belongs to Wad: Building on Reciprocity in Aquatic Ecosystems by Laurien Zwaans

“Wad Belongs to Wad presents a vision of nature-inclusive construction within the vulnerable Wadden ecosystem, where the sea transforms into land twice daily.

“The project addresses rising sea levels and seeks to harmonise architecture with this unique water landscape.

“It features three mudflat structures connected by a walking route from North Groningen to Schiermonnikoog, acting as ‘experimental gardens’ to promote collaboration between humans, landscape and nature.

“These structures aim to boost biodiversity, tackle issues like seagrass extinction and mussel bed disappearance, and incorporate natural, biodegradable materials.

“The design method emphasises reciprocity, allowing architecture to enrich nature and vice versa, fostering a sustainable aquatic ecosystem.”

Student: Laurien Zwaans
Course: Architecture
Tutors: Maartje Lammers, Machiel Spaan, Bart van der Salm, Pnina Avidar and Dingeman Deijs


illustration of a lively city scene, a market next to a park by a student at amsterdam university of the arts

Voorland: Spatial Chances for Cities in the Hinterland by Mike Wissing

“This design proposal focuses on the potential for densification in cities located in the hinterland, using the city of Doetinchem in the Netherlands as an example.

“It addresses the challenges faced by major Dutch cities with high-density development, including unaffordable housing and environmental issues.

“Meanwhile, cities like Doetinchem have not benefited proportionally from prosperity, resulting in declining amenities and liveability.

“The proposal advocates for densification in hinterland cities, revitalising them while preserving space for nature, sustainable housing, businesses and community influence.

“The design envisions a resilient future, emphasising compact urban planning, multifunctional spaces and integration with the surrounding landscape, promoting sustainability and liveability in these cities.”

Student: Mike Wissing
Course: Urbanism
Tutors: Herman Zonderland, Iris Wijn, Eric van der Kooij, Riëtte Bosch and Daryl Mulvihill


photo of a greenhouse model

Greenhouse: a Unified Living Environment for Plant and Person by Wouter Grote

“This graduation project explores an innovative living environment concept within greenhouses, offering an alternative to the conventional single-family homes often built in the Netherlands.

“Inspired by childhood experiences in greenhouses in the village of Lent, the project questions the disappearance of these structures due to urban development and proposes preserving them as part of the living environment.

“The concept involves constructing ‘residential greenhouses’ among existing production greenhouses, fostering a connection between people and plants.

“This approach promotes a harmonious relationship between nature and residents at multiple scales, from the neighbourhood to individual homes, ultimately encouraging a re-evaluation of traditional housing in favour of a more symbiotic coexistence with nature.”

Student: Wouter Grote
Course: Architecture
Tutors: Rob Hootsmans, Dingeman Deijs, Hans Hammink, Pnina Avidar and Geurt Holdijk

Partnership content

This school show is a partnership between Dezeen and Amsterdam University of the Arts. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

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