JDWA – design practice for architecture and complex urban development

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.

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.

Joris van Arkel

Was born and raised in Rotterdam, but moved to our Belgian neighbors to complete his studies. Has filmed a documentary, built bars and pavilions and took a dive into the deep pool of conceptual architecture. Rides the thin line between an abstract and a hands on approach. Finished his master in Brussels with a thesis exploring design methods for the post Anthropocene. In which we are aware, that in our environment, everything impacts and has been impacting one another, forming a web of infinite complexity of which we are a part. The architect is seen as the mediator between different types of expertise, creating a (visual) translation in an effort to navigate our reality.

Anneke Wisse

With Anneke, people, the object and the space are central to every design. During her bachelor’s and master’s degree at the University of Antwerp, she gained a lot of knowledge in the field of interior architecture and she learned to apply this in existing but also in new architecture. Anneke likes to look for creative solutions that create a pleasant living environment. Anneke graduated in 2018, her graduation project was aimed at redesigning modernist buildings. During this project she was busy redesigning several post-war residential towers. In addition to the interior, she has also focused on the architecture and the development of the landscape around the buildings. Since then she has been interested in creating total concepts in which different disciplines come together and reinforce each other. In addition to her work, Anneke studies architecture (Masters) at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. In addition to studying and working, she enjoys riding a horse on the beach in Zeeland, where she was born.

Liene Medniece

Liene is originally from Riga, Latvia where they really know what the cold means. She has known since primary school that she wanted to become an architect. During her Bachelor degree Liene studied on exchange programs in two different universities in Spain – the Polytechnic University of Valencia and also in Cartagena. She is currently living in Rotterdam meanwhile taking Masters studies, which is based back at her University in Riga. Liene is developing her design style, where alongside having a desire to make something unique she always prioritizes the human aspect of architecture, focusing on providing quality, atmosphere and soul to a space. She is a versatile personality who loves to try all kinds of new things, spending her free time playing badminton, singing in a choir, playing table tennis, jogging, doing athletics, drawing and more.

Anna Dobrawa Kicinska

Prior to moving to the Netherlands, Dobrawa pursued BSc in Architecture in Warsaw, where she was born and raised. During her Bachelor’s degree she spent one year participating in exchanges, studying diversity of societies and urban environments in Seoul and Madrid. During her Master studies at TU Delft she further experimented with a concept of shaping local communities through designing distinct and vibrant common spaces. She graduated in 2019 with a thesis on relevance of physical public spaces in the Information Age.

Former collaborators: Marco Moretto (2017-2020), Heejin Chung (2018-2019), Virginia Lazarou (2019), Xavier Aguilar (2017-2018), Mathieu Chataignier (2018-2019), Cristina Genovese (2018-2019), David Zatloukal (2018), Helen Devine (2018), Gemma Carcasona Molió (2017-2018), 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)