Key Values

They are a fundamental part of how we make places that are valed by their community

  • Curating transformation

    The city is never finished. It is subject to continual change, each intervention the product of multiple hands guided by numerous interests. Design allows us to capture a moment of order and find a clear narrative, but we must go beyond design to enact meaningful and long-lasting change. We see the key to creating livable and sustainable urban environments in curating transformation processes throughout the lifetime of the development. Our role is broader than our specialisms as architects, urbanists, landscape, and interior designers suggest. As caring experts, we bring together collective needs and private interests to create places that nurture, enable, and inspire people. We add social value.

  • Creating Open Cities

    The open city is a place that successfully accommodates change and difference. It is our vision for a sustainable and inclusive urban condition. To realise this vision, our architecture and urban plans create productive relationships between public and private realms, reconciling integration and separation, order and disorder to create a fertile home for collective life. We never treat buildings as isolated objects but part of the fine mesh of public spaces, landscapes, streets, and private realms that make up the city. The designs act as frameworks that allow individuals to flourish while supporting collective needs. To this end, they fulfill a fundamental aim of design. They establish the conditions for freedom.

  • Designing Coexistence

    The essence of urbanity lies in the successful mixing of functions, activities, and people of diverse groups and tools to set conditions for vibrant, productive neighbourhoods, landscapes, and buildings. The programmatic concepts we develop form precise relationships and synergies within the plan. These concepts are ways to promote new patterns of activity, such as better mobility habits. We use programmes to activate ground floor levels, stimulate street life, and provide places for encounter and exchange. They are a fundamental part of how we make places valued by their community, creating authentic togetherness.

  • Redefining Cultural Landscapes

    As cities grow and spread across a territory, they cease to be a single entity with a clear centre and periphery but become a complex relationship of parts, what we call a cultural landscape. It is where mixtures of agriculture, housing, logistics, infrastructure, and extensive natural areas co-exist. Our work aims to give legibility to different parts and improve each site's distinctive qualities. We intensify natural assets to create more cohesive and ecologically productive green-blue infrastructure. We define continuities and counterpoints in typology, functions, grain, and material to create new developments that are rooted in their place. Minimal environmental footprints and a close connection to the landscape are fundamental.

  • Planning for a Sustainable Future

    The overwhelming challenge of our time is to build cities that protect the earth's resources and habitats while tackling the challenge of the climate crisis. We can only achieve a sustainable balance by reconciling human interventions and the natural environment. For us, the task is to design dense, adaptable mixed-use cities that work closely with natural ecologies and take care of their residents' wellbeing. We design productive urban landscapes where water and waste management, mobility, and ecosystems, the built and the unbuilt function are complementary systems, all with future requirements in mind. Bending these systems into circles, we limit waste and minimise the use of resources. Our buildings actively limit energy consumption as well as generate power, becoming part of sustainable urban districts.  

  • Crafting our Built Environment

    We have a straightforward approach: craft is making things that work well for people. We bring countless hours of experience and training to complex projects to arrive at solutions with clear rationality and a strong relation to context. Our interdisciplinary approach pushes us to seek a radical pragmatism: projects with ambitious concepts that are nonetheless imminently realisable and limit the ecological footprint. Our craft is expressed in the precise, elegant, and feasible resolution of the city's material. It is present within our architecture, urban, and landscape projects in an integrated and interdisciplinary manner.

Selection of Publications

  • The Potato Plan Collection. 40 Cities through the Lens of Patrick Abercrombie

    The Potato Plan Collection. 40 Cities through the Lens of Patrick Abercrombie

    Kees Christiaanse, Mirjam Zuger
    nai010publishers
  • The Grand Projet - Understanding the Making and Impact of Urban Megaprojects

    The Grand Projet - Understanding the Making and Impact of Urban Megaprojects

    Kees Christiaanse, Anna Gasco, Naomi C. Hanakata (authors), Ying Zhou, Pablo Acebillo, Dissa Raras Pidanti (contributors)
    nai010 publishers
  • Textbook - Collected Texts On The Built Environment 1990–2018

    Textbook - Collected Texts On The Built Environment 1990–2018

    Kees Christiaanse (author), Jessica Bridger (editor)
    nai010 publishers
  • Open City - Designing Coexistence

    Open City - Designing Coexistence

    Tim Rieniets, Jennifer Sigler, Kees Christiaanse
    SUN
  • City As Loft

    City As Loft

    Martina Baum, Kees Christiaanse
    010, Forum
More publications

Selection of Awards and Nominations

2021

2020

  • DGNB Gold Certificate


    Aeschbachquartier
    Switzerland’s first DGNB Gold certified urban quarter (sustainable planning and area development)

2018

2017

2016

2014

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