JDWA 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Born and raised in Seoul, she found the city and place full of infinite possibilities and potentials that would establish the basis of every day life. As a constant thinker and creative architect, she decided to study abroad for a new challenge that would broaden the horizon of the built environment. During the studies in TU Delft, she involved with the transformation projects in the Netherlands, which led her to set her position on finding the balance between existing context and innovative idea.
Raised in Scotland, Helen has always been interested in different ways of life, in cities and in rural areas, and the role of architecture in such places. This has encouraged her to travel widely, and now to work in Rotterdam. As a student at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Edinburgh, she focuses on the emotional experience of architecture, and aims to design for the rapidly changing world.
Originally from Ecuador and raised in Spain. I’ve studied architecture at the ETSAE (Spain) and at KTU (Lithuania). My studies and work experience has led me to different countries and Copenhagen became my home for the past 3 years. Living in different cities has made me think as a global citizen. I believe that experiencing different environments and living in them, getting to know different urban spaces, people and life styles, have reinforced my desire for designing architecture and create spaces. Willing to keep learning and doing architecture adapting myself to a new context is what has brought me to Rotterdam and to the office.
Born in the Czech Republic I have always been interested in the contrast between complexity and simplicity. After working in several offices in my homeland it was time for some professional experience in the Netherlands. After researching a social context of housing in Lithuania and Portugal I decided to aim on this topic by understanding the problem and apply those ‘every day live knowledge’ to architectural solutions to create better living conditions.
Anne Declerck (2017-2018), Théophile Paquet (2017), 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)