Category Archives: SPATIAL SOLUTIONS

How to define growth with quality? What are the criteria, and is there a maximum to growth? An interesting question if you want to add not only housing, but work spaces and social amenities such as parks to a city in order to make it future proof.

As quartermaster city architect Mathias was asked to do some research by design in the form of little finger excercises for a series of locations in Zaanstad municipality. Based upon the no-net-landtake vision upon the built environment until 2040 and beyond (in Dutch: Omgevingsvisie) it was suprising how much growth is possible within a a strong conceptual appproach rooted on integral spatial quality.

In February 2024 a collaboration started between the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Babel Architecture Centre and Zaanstad Municipality. Students of the Built Environment Studies will analyse and design a future for the N203, a merely 12km long provincial road running through the entire municipality of Zaanstad. Mathias delivered an inspirational lecture on the road and the vision for the built environment of Zaanstad which he has been co-autoring.

How can this high way like road become a connector, a destination and a development area of integral programs along a city alley? The coming months will show the thoughts of the students, which will be exhibited in a Bayeux tapestry style in Zaandam later this year.

(c) Daan van der Veen

On 31st of May Mathias chaired a design atelier intended to accelerate nature inclusive development. This atelier was requested for by developers Dura Vermeer and Habeon. The Utrecht Province established these ateliers with a group of renown experts in the field. The experts included Erik Bijsterbosch (Ruimtelijk Netwerk), Jan Henk Tichelaar (Rooftop Revolution), Harry Boeschoten (Staatsbosbeheer), Bart Cardinaal, (HUNC, Human Urban Nature Connected) and David van der Veen (Utrecht Province).

(c) BDA

Together with Jörg Gleiter, Hartmut Böhme, Eric-Jan Pleijster, Heike Hanada, Sophie Kimmig, Gernot Weckherlin, Thomas Hauck & Wolfgang Weisser and Michele Porcelluzzi Mathias contributed to the thematic magazin by Bund Deutscher Architektinnen und Architekten (BDA) in March 2023. Entitled ‘The urban habitat’ (OSSN 0003+875X) Mathias elaborates in his article about the lessons learned in the past 10 years of his work with nextcity.nl, and what can be hands-on strategies to employ in all architectural and urban projects to create benefits for biodiversity, nature in the city and quality of life for all species. The article was conceptualized with Mathias’ nextcity partner Maike van Stiphout.

On november 29th, 2022 Mathias was giving a workshop as part an the climate adaptation network (KAN netwerk) expert session. The network organized by the Dutch real estate sector NEPROM has almost 50 project developers as members, and is run by Claudia Bouwens.

The case study of the workshop was Zaandam Oost, an area in Zaanstad that boasts a lush post-war green and blue infrastructure, but also major social challenges.

On September 19th, 2022 and invited by Prof. Carola Hein of Delft University of Technology and Prof. Dirk Schubert of Hafencity University Hamburg Mathias lectures within the network of ‘Spatial and Social Impacts’ as part of the VW sponsored Research Digital Humanities.
The workshop contribution stresses the spatial relation between urban nature and health, focusing on green-blue-grey networks.

Dirk Schubert: „Mathias shared possible answers to the questions raised….which are an important aspect for teaching”

Co-speakers include: Hülya Lasch, Lukas Höller, Jeroen Nelen, Dr. Christopf Lofi, Dr. Lixia Chu, Dr. Rainer Fehr, Dr. Elke Jakubowski, Dr. Christina Strauß, Dr. Gabriele Bolte, Dr. Sabine Baumgart, Dr. Jackie Hamilton and Prof. Dr. Cor Wagenaar.

Upon invitaion by Utrecht Province Mathias structurally joins an expert panel for nature inclusive design. The panel advises project initiators in a pressure cooker workshop session on how to integrate nature in their proposals and contribute to life of all species.

The panel features national experts such as Jip Lauwe-Kooijmans (formerly Birdlife Netherlands), Hildrud Poetz of Atelier Groen-Blauw, Jan Willem Burgmans of Heijmans, Erik Bijsterbosch of Ruimtelijk Netwerk and others.

Great collaborative synergy and a truly nature inclusive desing in the team of Next Architects, ABT engineers, Karres en Brands landscape architects and Valkwerk sustainability advisors which Mathias was asked to strenghten in 2021 for the design of a tender in the Amsterdam Sluisbuurt/IJburg.

January 18th, 2022 was the premiere of the first online Master Class as part of the Integral Knowledge Program Space, set up to for Zaanstad Municipality to increase strategic potential and internal cooperation. Frits Palmboom opened a series of four sessions broadcasted online and accessible live, moderated and curated by Mathias and the team.
Watch the 45 minutes broadcast for free here.