JDWA – design agency voor architecture and complex projects

Johan de Wachter Architects is a design practice for architecture and complex urban development in the existing city with an approach based on research and design. Our approach is always grounded in the local context with regards to spatial aspects as well as the socio-cultural and economic conditions. Our work is grounded on the search for opportunities through innovate design research, on various scales, for places that at first sight only seem restricted. Designing together and for residents of the neighborhoods is a very important aspect of our work. Generic concepts and standard typologies are never used directly but change according to the project’s context and complexity. For the project to be successful this approach results in an intense working process that demands a lot of communication and interaction between the client, future users and the design team. The real needs are often beyond written briefs and become apparent through discussions and intensive research within a multidisciplinary environment. We constantly engage in projects that form a conceptual challenge for the design team, either because of their programmatic complexity, their location in the city or their technical constraints. By formulating challenging concepts we explore the tensions between dream and reality through architectural and urban design. Concept, context and technique are solid parts in the design process.

A large part of JDWA’s current work is invested in innovative typological research for projects where living is combined with other functions. The combination of living and working on the neighborhood scale is an important aspect. Other combinations are care and public functions. The intense and active relation with the public space and the larger city tissue is integrated in these investigations. Several of our current projects are a combination of renovation, intensive adaptive reuse and smart extensions. This context of progressive “step-by-step” transformation of the existing city is often the focus of the office projects and research.
Our Rotterdam based office works (or has wordked) on projects in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, China, Estonia and Lituania. Our clients are housing corporations, developers, local governments and private parties. We are interested in the opinions of future users. The implementation of design strategies in close collaboration with those users is a very important aspect of our work. Our projects are a result of this intense collaboration between our design team, the client and the users of our buildings.



Johan De Wachter 

After his studies at the Catholic University of Louvain (KUL) in Belgium, Johan De Wachter worked for the Office of Metropolitan Architecture of Rem Koolhaas from 2000 until 2004. There he contributed to a large number of projects and competitions. In 2003 Johan founded the Fün Design Consultancy and was partner until 2005. In 2005 he founded JDWA and in 2011 he teamed up with Rik De Vooght to establish 2DVW Architects in Antwerp.
He has been teaching at the Delft Technical University and the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design. Currently he is teaching at the Fontys Hogeschool voor Architectuur & Stedenbouw in Tilburg.
In January 2015 Johan De Wachter was appointed associate professor at the Kaunas University of Technology (Lituania) where he leads the urban planning studio focused on city transformation. The focus is an extensive research on the soviet neighborhoods. One studio ‘Microraion Transformation Strategies’ examines the transformation possibilities of socialist monofunctional housing areas through a combination of renovation, programmatical diversification, typological innovation, new constructions and redefining public space. The second studio ‘City (axis) Transformation Strategies’ investigates transformation and reuse on a larger scale including infrastructural aspects and reprogramming on a city scale. Within the university context the studio aims to create a research project where other departments and faculties (engineering, infrastructure, building technology, sustainability, …) collaborate in a multidisciplinary environment.



Marieke van Hensbergen 

Marieke was born near Amsterdam. Her curious character stimulated her to explore the city and beyond. The lines of trees and water of the surrounding polders triggered her abstract thinking. She moved to the United States at the age of nine. Here she travelled through all the states and learned the meaning of space, bigness, emptiness, density, park, city, a.o. Back in the Netherlands she developed a special interest in the flexibility of structures and plots. Her ever growing interest in the use of space and the always changing built environment set her off to study architecture in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Delft. After her studies she started working at JDWA where she contributed to many projects and competitions. Here she has worked on various projects on different scales, for example the Huis van Droo, De Bodenloods, Kulturhus Dinxperlo.



Patricia Mata Mayrand 

I have been involved in architecture projects for 15 years with a focus on design solutions that bring together efficiency, comfort and identity for the final user.
The simplification of the process that allows to reach solutions for complex issues has always been an obsession of mine. In this line I made up my career through different offices, and within the offices through the different projects I have worked on. A good reference of this achievement is the project Deca factory.
I came to Holland after finishing the University with a scholarship to work in MVRDV, after which I went back to Spain to build a villa on the coast.
Once again in Holland I worked in EEA and with a more clear idea of what I wanted to achieve I decided to join JDWA.



Marco Moretto

Originally from Venice (Italy), Marco completed his postgraduate degree in Architecture at Delft University of Technology. His studies and work experience have taken him to different countries in Europe as well as India, the USA and Central America. As a trained architect, currently based in Rotterdam, he researches and intervenes in contemporary settings, working with the belief that all places have the potential to become both unique and inspiring. He is passionate about creating vibrant urban environments suited for site-specific contexts and he is the new addition to our office.



Gemma Carcasona Molió

Born and raised in the rural North of Spain, she came first in touch with design through her parents’ work as artisan jewelers. The combination of fine materials, care for the detail, and the emotions that a well-designed piece of jewelry can trigger, has always fascinated her.

Gemma studied architecture in Barcelona and Zaragoza. Her passion for travelling also took her to discover Asia, where she worked in different offices in Shanghai. Now, the wind has taken her to Rotterdam and to our office. (She still misses the Mediterranean light).



Nicolette Marzovilla

Sunny, positive and dynamic like the city where she was born and raised in the south of Italy, Nicolette graduated  in 2016 at the Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria (IT) with her thesis “Urban Regeneration for Queens (NY)”. During the academic years she reaffirmed her interest in urban regeneration and she researched new ways to represent urban and architectural issues through diagrams. She loves to travel around the World, and after her first work experience in The Netherlands, she decided to be based in Rotterdam, as an opportunity to gain new professional and social skills.



Monique Haarman

Born and raised in Rotterdam, Monique started as a communications consultant in advertising, 20 years ago. In 2005 she specialised as a communications consultant in the real estate market. Even though not an architect herself, she is completely devoted to the real estate. The process of making something out of nothing, just a sketch or an idea, it is insanely. To see a project get build is amazing, from that first idea to something real. It’s like magic. Monique focuses on opening up new markets, searching for market needs and act on these.


Théophile Paquet

Born and raised in Normandy, Théophile’s studies and professional experiences have taken him around the world. He arrived to Rotterdam in the summer of 2017 in order to discover new ways of thinking the built environment. He is soon to complete his thesis in which he explores different ways of showing the urban environment. Linked to his thesis he collaborated on an exhibition curated for his hometown’s 500 years celebrations. He will graduate from Paris-Belleville school of Architecture next June and wishes to pursue his professional career in the Netherlands.


Anne Declerck

Born and raised in Antwerp, Anne has just finished her Masters degree in Urban Design and Spatial Planning at the University of Antwerp this summer. Before this she also completed a bachelor in Interior Architecture which has given her the opportunity to explore many aspects of the built and urban environment. She came to the city of Rotterdam to further develop her knowledge and skills within Architecture and Urban Design, where the city lends itself perfectly to. Her professional aim is to contribute to the quality of the daily lives of people within a public space.


Former collaborators:

Karolis Grigaitis (2017), Andrius Kalinauskas (2011-2017), Erica Volpini (2017), Anna Kintsurashvili (2015-2017), Job Willems (2011-2017), Mikas Kauzonas (2014-2016), Cristina Filca (2016), Monika Mickute (2015-2016), Liana Sofiadi (2015–2016)Luis Larrauri R Viguri (2014), Elina Jakovele (2011–2014), Viktorija Gailiūtė (2013-2014), Kim van den Hoven (2009-2013), Gonçalo Castanheira (2013), Isabel Marcos (2012), Lourdes Carretero (2012), Eunjin Kang (2011), Martijn Kwant (2010), Gonçalo Matos (2007-09), Smahan Amrach (2008-09), Manueline Caseau (2008-09), Tiago Pinto de Carvalho (2008), Dipl.Ing. Kerem Masaraci (2008), María Alejandra Maennling (2007), Dipl.Ing. Jens Pötzsch (2007), Ir. Joana Torres (2006-07), Louise Nedergaard Clausen (2006-07), Ir. M.H.Farshid Madjidi (2007), Ana Ruiz (2006), Jef Hendrickx (2006), Antonio Rodriguez Camara (2006), Laura Gracia (2005-06), Alexandra Waluda (2005), Tuuli Köller (2005, 2007-08), Ceren Hancioglu (2005),  Teo Hidalgo (2005), Ignacio Cabezas (2005), Diego Ochayta (2004), Julia Rodriguez Bujan (2004), Zuoming Wang (2004), Pei Liu (2004)