In urbanism, ONE has learned how design can help simplify and smoothen complex puzzles, and, through that, to create space for others to engage in the city. ONE has extensive experience in designing the interrelationship between the city and its infrastructure, as well as the interrelationship between organizations, finances and territory. ONE is at the forefront of sustainable, resilient urbanism and smart city technology. One Architecture has worked prominently on the Netherlands’ spatial planning. Initially for private clients, ONE helped develop the project for Schiphol at Sea and, in a series of studies for the Consortium Transrapid, ‘Randstad Round’, as well as on several of the national government’s most important planning projects. More recently, ONE has worked internationally on projects for the German federal ministry, Delhi 2050, 100 Resilient Cities, the Asian Development Bank and the Regional Plan Association.

As part of the Four Corridors Design Initiative for RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan, ONE + Only if’s scope is to develop a comprehensive design for the Triboro corridor on the base of the research and growth projections done by the RPA (2040). The team’s goal is to develop a new, broad vision that transcends existing jurisdictions and political boundaries. This aim of the design proposal is to communicate the opportunities and importance of the region to the local community and stakeholders in order to make a pathway towards positive transformation. Currently the team is formulating design strategies and a broader narrative for growth along the corridor. ONE+Only If are interested in better understanding local economic development initiatives, current industry growth, and organizations working in this arena. ONE+Only If hope to provide new models for local entrepreneurship and collaborative approaches for local value capture as a means to activate smarter and more responsible growth. At a finer level, the team is interested in what the community needs from a jobs perspective as well as where the community is heading from a broader economic context.

In collaboration with: Only If, Regional Plan Association

One Architecture has partnered with Columbia GSAPP Studio-X and the URBANUS curatorial team to create Data Mining the Urban Village, an installation at the 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB). In response to the theme of UABB 2017, “Cities, Grow in Difference,” One Architecture and Columbia GSAPP’s Studio-X chose to examine the phenomenon of urban villages using data mining and machine learning techniques. Riding off recent advancements in big data and machine learning, the team behind Data Mining the Urban Village aimed to create a comprehensive database of nearly two decades of public thought on urban villages through the massive culling of accessible online media. They also created an algorithm using that data to produce its own original content.

Data Mining the Urban Village is a moonshot venture to collect all existing knowledge written on the concept of the urban village. Using advanced machine learning tools, the installation attempts to parse out large, opaque deposits of data, draw useful conclusions from them, and mobilize the findings to further research and public interest in the consequences of rapid urbanization. Looking at shifts in public and academic sentiment over time, Data Mining the Urban Village hopes to reveal large-scale trends in urban theory and understand how diverse groups propagate these ideas across a wide range of online media sources. Watch the installation video here.

In collaboration with: Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and UABB

One Architecture and Urbanism helps the Chief of Resilience Officers (CROs) broaden their understanding of what design is and what design thinking can do. Goal is to create a new pedagogy around designing in resilience and effectively communicate these ideas with a broader audience that works in the resiliency field. The curriculum is build using visual and interactive tools, allowing both an overview of the role of design and a tailored focus on specific challenges per each city. The process involves an online visual presentation with ideas and example projects, a design workshop with three of the CROs and a report with feedback from the design consultants. Role of the design workshop is to introduce the CROs to design thinking, experiment by evaluating an on-going project in their city in terms of its resilience capacity, and charrette on alternative approaches that could have broaden the outcomes of the project.

In collaboration with: Marylin Jordan Taylor, PennDesign100 Resilient CitiesRockefeller Foundation

One Architecture operates on a variety of scales, places and design fields. While working in these different realities and contexts, ONE recognizes the growing importance of digital technology and Smart Cities for today’s design questions. Often working as an integrator between different disciplines and agenda’s, One Architecture is more and more often using technology and technological tools. In the years ONE started to make technology and Smart City thinking part of both traditional projects and some special (research) projects. These projects evolve around four themes, each addressed with different, context-related, partners:

Smart Governance with The Mobile City. The rise of ‘big’ and ‘open’ data allows for new actors and new ways to get insight into urban infrastructures, salient urban issues as well as in opportunities for urban development. Next to that the rise of (social) media platforms provide citizens and institutions with new tools to organize publics around collective issues, mobilize people, and manage social infrastructural resources in collaborative ways. One Architecture works more and more as ‘arrangeur’ in citymaking processes.

Smart Fabrication with Waag Society and Filson and Rorhbacher. New relationships between designers and fabrication are made possible through digital fabrication. Digital technology and Building Information Modeling have changed the way our teams work and how our architecture is simulated. Using ‘direct prototyping’ and computer-aided manufacturing (CNC or robotics), One Architecture, with its partners, is constructing a number of projects.

In the Netherlands, ONE co-curates the Buiksloterham Living Lab, a 600 acre brownfield redevelopment in Amsterdam-Noord based on the principles of the circular economy — therein also acting as investors for a small housing area.ONE initiated both the research and the housing project and is a core member of the circular Buiksloterham team.

Currently, ONE’s New York office is expanding on its expertise by working on “Smart City” digital infrastructures and data-analysis.

The Hackable City is a research project that explores the potential for new modes of collaborative city-making, in a network society. The team’s primary case study is Buiksloterham, a brownfield regeneration project in Amsterdam North. Our approach is hands-on. We actively take part in activities in and around the neighborhood. Hackable citymaking revolves around the organization of individuals into collectives or publics, often through or with the aid of a digital media platform. Individuals contribute resources, such as knowledge, time, information or money, and at the same time reap some form of a benefit, be it social, economic or political, on an individual or communal level.

The first contours for this project were laid out by One Architecture and The Mobile City during the Metropool NL workshop organized by the Deltametropool Society in 2012, resulting in the publication Eindhoven, Hackable World City. This was followed by an ‘embedded researcher’ project executed by Cristina Ampatzidou, hosted at the University of Amsterdam and One Architecture and funded by the Creative Industries Research Centre Amsterdam, with contributions from Utrecht University.

In 2013 funding was received from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) for a KIEM-exploration (lead by Michiel de Lange at Utrecht University). And in 2014 NWO funded this as a Creative Industries research project hosted at the University of Amsterdam, The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), and One Architecture. For the latter, new partners joined the research coalition: The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Pakhuis de Zwijger, and Stadslab Buiksloterham. Today, Hackable City has created an online open platform that acts a record of the team’s thoughts and ideas, available to be shared with the neighborhood.

The Big U/Dryline is a protective system that encircles Manhattan, responding to the needs and concerns of the island’s diverse communities. Stretching from West 57th Street south to The Battery and up to East 42nd Street, Big U/Dryline protects 10 continuous miles of low lying geography that comprise an incredibly dense, vibrant, and vulnerable urban area. The proposed system not only shields the city against floods and stormwater; it provides social and environmental benefits to the community, and fosters an improved public realm. Coordinated plans were created for three contiguous but separate regions of the waterfront dubbed “compartments. Each compartment comprises a physically discrete flood-protection zone that can be isolated from flooding in adjacent zones. Each presents unique opportunities for integrated social and community planning. The compartments work in concert to protect and enhance the city, but each compartment’s proposal is designed to stand on its own. Proposed solutions for the components were designed in close consultation with the associated communities and many local, municipal, State and Federal stakeholders; each proposal has a benefit-cost ratio greater than one; and each is flexible, easily phased, and able to integrate with existing projects in progress.

In collaboration with BIG Bjarke Ingels Group, Starr WhitehouseJames Lima Planning + Development, Green Shield Ecology, AEA Consulting, Level Agency for Infrastructure, Arcadis, Buro Happold

One Architecture is the urban planner and supervisor for Gouda Oost. In the past years, Gouda-Oost had become an (undeserved) symbol of the difficulties in new towns. When ONE started, in 2008, residents, municipality and housing corporations had already been cooperating for some time to transform and upgrade this neighborhood in Gouda without much success. In an essay, One Architecture suggested an adaptive ‘open’ plan that will be filled in piece by piece, by involving local authorities, stakeholders and especially local residents. With the urban plans for 3 different parts, One Architecture has now elaborated the first parts of the renewal.
The urban plan comprises a new, green, public area, the ‘Oversteek’ (traverse). The new and existing neighborhood facilities, like shops, supermarkets, a community school, the existing church and the mosque, are all situated along this area. The construction of the Oversteek is linked with the realization of an ambitious and diverse housing program, which will accommodate both existing and new residents, as well as special target groups. By dividing the housing groups into small plots the architecture will aid to showcase the newfound diversity.
The landscape is an important bearer of the developments in the neighborhood. Therefore, there has been an intensive collaboration with Lodewijk Baljon Landscape Architects. Central to this is the consolidation of the existing structure of green-bordered waterways.

ONE designed the urban plan and infrastructure for the Deventer Rivierenwijk. In 2008, housing corporation Rentree’s ambitious plans for the transformation of the Deventer Rivierenwijk, a so-called Vogelaarwijk, came to a slow stop. 300 houses were already demolished in the process, leaving a neighborhood torn to pieces. After this, One Architecture was asked to design an ‘essay’ on the future of the neighborhood. The essays main analysis focused on the arduous method of planning used in the past, in which every aspect and element was entangled with all other aspects and elements. ONE proposed an alternative way of planning and was commissioned to lead a new start.

ONE’s Urban Framework describes spatial starting points, conditions and directives. It indicates how the actors’ various spatial interventions, e.g. the reconstruction of the Amstellaan, 500 new houses, local facilities, neighborhood connections, and landscape structure, will combine into a coherent result. All obstacles obstructing the restart have been solved with the designs of the plan’s components. An important feature in the design and how the neighborhood will function in the future was integrating and widening the Amstellaan, a main traffic artery. For this, One Architecture created a new design. With the design within budget and having the full support of the area’s residents, the reconstruction of the neighborhood and its infrastructure was re-started in 2013.

Further optimizations of the plan’s components are the result of this integral planning process. Investments in the integration of the Amstellaan also helped with the construction of Children’s Center. Project Amstellaan has resulted in a “tree bank”, making full-grown trees available cheaply for new construction. The green buffer space enables flexibility and room for optimization of Rentree’s housing program. The various components can be elaborated within this Framework in a time and pace fit to the specific project. This also allows for the insertion of new insights in the project.

VROM (The ministry of spatial planning) has commissioned One Architecture, in combination with Zwarts & Jansma Architecten, to design the Olympic Main Infrastructure for the Netherlands for the Games in 2028. The OHS approaches the spatial assignment related to ambitions in the field of sports, economy, sustainability, welfare and society.

The core of the advice is that the Netherlands are basically too small to organize the Olympics. It is spatially small. It is organizationally fragmented. It is mentally small. How to plan big in a small country?

There are two ways to handle this. The first is to force the compelling scale of the Olympics, and the second is developing flexibility and cleverness based on this smallness. The tension between these two dimensions was detected continuously while working on the OHS. The question is whether the focus should be on the Olympic Games or on the Olympic Plan. Between a focus on the candidate cities Amsterdam and Rotterdam or on their environs. Between planning policy starting with the OHS or with the OHS following spatial policy. Between the IOC guidelines and pro-actively working to change these, in a form of ‘agency’. Between concentration and distribution of functions (it might be argued, following Frieling, that this tension is the basic tension in Dutch planning of the last 6 decades).

The Olympic Plan, so the analysis goes, is a good way to deal with this tension, but fails from a planning perspective. The time-dimension of planning is much larger than the time-dimension of building support. In planning, we don’t have time to lose. The result of One Architecture’s work is the invention of a mechanism to deal with this tension in the field of spatial development. A method of planning is being proposed in which, starting from a wide scope plans are increasingly focused: rather a road map than a design. This results in a way of planning in which public discussions, innovations, change and unforeseen developments can find their place, not by changing the plan but by defining moments of choice and decisions in order to focus the plan more and more. Those moments also create the politically very important ‘exit’.

Within Randstad 2040, the Structure Vision on the development of the Randstad that passed the Dutch cabinet in 2008, Matthijs Bouw initially led the theme ‘networks’, in which ONE produced a number of alternative scenarios for infrastructure (and tied them to the spatial choices that each demanded). The purpose of the models was to be able to talk about the functionality of the Randstad and the positioning of program and infrastructure. Clear definitions of the models and simple names were chosen deliberately, in order to be able to reach a wide public.

Subsequently, Matthijs Bouw was studio-master of the ‘integration’ studio, where the findings of the two other themes (housing and landscape) where integrated in order to provide a clear set of choices for the involved ministries.

The whole process was followed by an exploration of the so-called Randstad Key Projects following from the Structure Vision. The exploration of these projects (done with O.M.A.) has resulted in the publication “Differentiëren, Calibreren en Integreren Ontwerpende verkenning naar sleutelprojecten in het kader van de Structuurvisie Randstad 2040”. ONE’s research showed that a central issue in the definition of the key projects was the redefinition of the central government, which had been watered down by two decades of decentralization and liberalization. It is better to differentiate between types of projects and, in the interest of regional area developments, to stimulate the relationship between the central government and regional government based on the market principle of quid pro quo. The report followed this advice up with the actual definition of key projects.

For many years the area surrounding Leiden Central station has been below standard. It has been a cacophony of architectural ‘incidents’ in an area focused on infrastructure, lacking a proper connection to the city center and the university hospital. NS Poort has invested heavily in the station, as a prototype of its ‘World Station’ concept, making the surroundings look even bleaker. This fifth station in the country by number of passengers has the appearance of a highway location. One Architecture and NS Poort have developed a vision for the integral development of the area in order to persuade the city and other parties to start planning, together and integral.

The development vision comprises of a number of extraordinary elements: the large city blocks will be opened up for program and parking, a number of ‘stepping stones’ will reinforce the route to the city center (starting with a small cultural satellite at the station), and a structure with ‘urban entertainment’ and housing covering the bus station at the city side. At the sea side, a connection with the university hospital will be made with an integral solution for parking.

This vision has proven to be successful: All parties involved now work on this project, together and integral.

Kop van Isselt in Amersfoort is located on a strategic location close to the city center and in near proximity of highway and train station. Surrounded by several major urban development projects, Kop van Isselt can play a key role in the growth of Amersfoort.
Kop van Isselt has unique spatial qualities and a rich industrial history. Key elements in its character are the ‘backbone’ of the Nijverheidsweg, the connection with Amsterdamseweg and the existing (latent) structures such as the Warner Jenkinson area. Five different perspectives provided insight in the range of possibilities for Isselt. A financial quick scan and tentative schemes for phasing support the perspectives and helped to develop a long term vision for the area.

In the current hospital financing system, a successful re-development of this former hospital area translates directly into the cost of treatment.

The loose architectural organization of the existing complex allows, when repeated, for a similar freedom in the architecture of the new buildings. In the Beeldkwaliteitplan, the relationship between such aspects as volume, massing, materiality, style and size is formulated in order to establish the limits of possible differentiation while allowing maximum freedom. In its studies ONE found out that the pre-war parts of the hospital complex, called the SMCD, organized around a courtyard with ‘arms’ stretching into the landscape, would be well-suited for new, economically strong, demographic groups, people fed up with the boredom of suburbia and with a desire to live in an urban yet green setting. The complex will be converted into a mix of apartments and townhouses, with services attached.

Repetition of the SMCD is subsequently used to create a concept that extends the identity and quality of the pre-war hospital buildings onto the whole 8 hectare site, while allowing development in distinct parts under a common urban-, marketing and management plan. With One Architecture as its prime-consultant and planner, leading the team of specialists, in lieu of a commercial project developer, development revenues were channeled from the developer back to the hospital by selling at a later stage than is usual.

For a consortium of ABN AMRO, Siemens and two developers, ONEe did the integral planning for the introduction of a MAGLEV system in the Netherlands. The basic premise was that the system characteristics of Transrapid make it the perfect infrastructure for the conurbation known as the ‘Randstad’. With HST speeds but the acceleration and deceleration of a metro, it could tie together the existing city centers and the new developments along the highways, circling the Randstad with 11 stops in less than an hour.

One (initially with O.M.A.) offered strategic advice, developed a spatial strategy and the calculation of real-estate potential on terminal locations and terminals. Subsequently, ONE designed the concept and produced the visuals for the communication strategy.

In 1998, Matthijs Bouw and Donald van Dansik visited Siemens to discuss their ‘Airport in the Sea study’ and the potential that separating Terminal and Tarmac by means of the Transrapid hold for the Randstad. Out of these discussions, the plan was made to use Transrapid as a metro system for the West of Holland. ‘Rondje Randstad’ will contract the Netherlands in time, making it a metropolis, while allowing for extensive green spaces.

Since then, the idea has taken hold. One Architecture has worked for a number of private and public clients on such diverse aspects as studies for new centers, real-estate potential, traffic chain management, terminal layout, marketing concepts and, in 2002, the supervision of the national design for the Delta Metropolis. In this Design Studio Deltametropolis ONE developed the format of a design studio, assigned various design teams their briefs, engaged the different stakeholders, organized the external expertise and reported on the findings.

Together with city architect Azedine Al-Hamouti, Ouafaa Boutenache and supported by the Dutch Architecture Fund, ONE’s project sets an example for sustainable development.

Nador, situated on the Mediterranean Sea in the North-east of Morocco, is a fast growing city (from 20.000 inhabitants in 1960 till 170.000 now). The mayor of the City of Nador asked ONE to take the initial step in the process that would lead to the next phase in the expansion of the city by designing a new landmark and public area along the coastline ‘Le Corniche’. For the Corniche in Nador it is important to set an example, to make it beautiful with minimum front-end investment by the City, while allowing future development and economic activities and directing profits back into its economy.

In order to regulate the future growth of the program, a permit system is designed and put (literally) into place, by surfacing the Corniche with an elaborate triangular pattern in bi-coloured concrete: the permit system defines the placement and sequencing of the different programmes, so that there is an optimal situation at any stage of development. The surface finishing will include drawn lines and icons indicating future development and different programmatic zones, and based on this system permits can be bought to establish stalls, shops, etc.

The Nador urbanism is ‘mission-oriented’ and focuses on the ‘software’, which allows for flexibility and adaptability to new developments.

Together with city architect Azedine Al-Hamouti, Ouafaa Boutenache and supported by the Dutch Architecture Fund, ONE’s project sets an example for sustainable development.

Nador, situated on the Mediterranean Sea in the North-east of Morocco, is a fast growing city (from 20.000 inhabitants in 1960 till 170.000 now). The mayor of the City of Nador asked ONE to take the initial step in the process that would lead to the next phase in the expansion of the city by designing a new landmark and public area along the coastline ‘Le Corniche’. 

The beauty is that traffic circles can easily be adapted to function as a local network, simply by adjusting traffic directions.

The circular traffic structure, with its possibility one- and two-directional traffic, uses a little less road surface than the municipality’s proposal. While the circular traffic structure might be a little cheaper, it looks much more expensive and as such generates a feeling of luxury in the area, both for the single-family housing and for the social housing.

In this 1998 study, ONE proposed a counter-strategy to the inner-city-suburbanization that endangered Eindhoven (as a result of Philips’ move to the High Tech campus) at the time.

Strijp-S would become, on short notice, completely ‘empty’ and would, because it is too big to develop quickly, draw functions that would be better located in other parts of the city (near the station, in the center or on the edge). Strijp-S would negatively influence the development of other sites. That is why ONE have formulated a strategy for Strijp-S that can be characterized as ‘autistic’. The vision starts with creating a non-place in Eindhoven, an area that does not function and that does not have any relation with the surrounding city. This non-place can serve as an incubator for new, unforeseen or temporary developments (what has later been dubbed ‘the creative economy’). ONE called it an ‘experimental dystopia’.

It is the urbanism of ultimate generosity: it does not demand anything from the city, but could in the long term, in a completely unpredictable way, contribute much to Eindhoven as a whole.

The prize winning competition entry, with Noël van Dooren, for ‘Living along the Dikes’ drastically reorganizes the Dutch river landscape.

The heavily Ruhr-polluted topsoil needs to be removed from the floodplains in order to increase flow-capacity. When moved outside the area, the law says it needs to be cleaned at high cost. This project proposes to deposit the polluted soil on site, on the higher sandy grounds within the floodplains.

Competition, Bouwen aan de Dijk, (with Noël van Dooren), second prize

Six under a Tennis Court investigates the possibilities of an urban planning that is not suppressed by geometry.

The houses have a tennis court on their roof. This colossal order, as it is called in classical architecture, of tennis courts makes it possible to place each dwelling individually, with every architecture possible. It makes this area of Leidsche Rijn simultaneously into a park, thereby redirecting notions of the public and the private.