Responsive Suburbia

Master thesis: A housing project comprised of 72 units is located in IJ Burg— a new suburb east from the center of Amsterdam. More specifically, the project sits on a man-made island called Steigereiland North, on a ‘left-over’ green strip of land. Two types of dwellings (A and B) are disseminated around the site forming various permeable blocks of living and working units. These apartments consist of free-standing, row, and semi-detached typologies, depending on their arrangement and orientation. The capacity of these units to grow and change over time is a key feature of this project. The project has an additional activity strip between the waterside and the housing fabric border which will aid to serve as a lively catalyst for the neighbourhood. This ‘mat’ consists of landscaping and supplementary functions such as: tennis courts, a soccer field, playgrounds, picnic zones, pergolas, a climbing wall, a dance studio, and storage facilities. The newly-added layer of economical, community-driven activities reinvigorates IJ Burg. Introducing light production as well as the creative and working classes into the urban fabric will also result in an extrovert and well-functioning community.

The project combines living and working in suburbs such as IJburg. Responsive Suburbia suggests an approach to the design of collective spaces, through the diffusion of the barriers between the public and the private. In times of crisis, the solution lies not in a row of houses, but in DIY. — B-Nieuws November 2013

This is a subtle and thoroughly thought through project with outstanding compositional qualities. It responds to the changing use of dwellings in a aesthetically strong manner. – Archiprix Jury


type of project: housing, individual (thesis)
location: IJBurg, Amsterdam
supervisors: Nelson Mota, Ype Cuperus
advisers:  John van der Vliet (Climatic), Joop Paul | ARUP (Structure)
date of completion: june 2013

*** Netherlands Archiprix 2013 nominee ! (National level, November 2013)
*** TU Delft Archiprix 2013 nominee ! (Faculty level, September 2013)
*** published in Morfae !
*** published in Bnieuws ! (November 2013 ed.)
*** published in ArchiNed (June 2014)




1:200 physical card model. laser cut + handmade

Please have a look though my group-conducted theme research book on ‘Responsive Dwelling’. A theme was chosen which responded to the Dwelling Studio. This theme was a catalyst for the research as well as conceptual design phase. All three members were given a case study to analyze in-depth based on defined parameters for every project. This 4-month exercise resulted in a 122-page booklet with graphics, diagrams, text,  all conducted by Felipe Aldana, Tetta Huizinga and Dominika Linowska

may20 ZONING rules

june19 AXO same diagram FINAL web

C:UsersDOMEKDocumentsmay10 transp - Sheet - A1 - Unnamed.pdf

studio theme: at home in the city

The graduation studio At Home in the City focuses on contemporary and future urban architecture on the scale of both the dwelling and the city while simultaneously implementing an in-depth search for new concepts for dwelling. This particular studio calls for an investigation into new building typologies, for spatial explorations and programmatic variations, as well as for different ways of materialization and technical innovation. The main issues of the studio revolve around: density, typology, identity and lifestyles, transformation, mixed programmes, sustainability, new materializations, and new technical

concepts. Redefining twenty-first century city living was my task and incentive. Since the site for this project is located in IJ Burg, generating dwellings within newly-created communities was something I had to keep in mind throughout the design process. Although Responsive Suburbia is located within a new Dutch suburban area, the project functions as an anti-suburb, serving a multitude of activities (light production, small-sale businesses as well as offices).

“The dream of living in a house in the idyll of one’s own garden, even though it is still deeply lodged in people’s imaginations, must compete today with choices of habitats that lay their emphasis on the proximity of urban services and demand an architectural quality that is adaptable to the ways people live today… A new awareness…” – New Forms of Collective Housing in Europe

We need to design dwellings which are more integrated with the city and its’ infrastructure. It is my objective to focus on how this can be done if the project location is seemingly isolated from the rest of Amsterdam. Responsive Suburbia is the missing link between the city and the dwellers in IJ Burg (even if it’s not a physical one).  By integrating economical, social, and sustainable needs within the whole system of the housing complex, the link is formed.



research theme: responsive dwelling

The graduation studio project incorporates the theme of ‘responsive dwelling’. The design takes this theme into account by means of responding to evolving economic conditions, demographics, and lifestyles. Designing a non-monofunctional, flexible building was key in order to meet this criteria. Responsive Suburbia integrates this theme from the very start of the design process, and within all scales, respectively. The project evolved thanks to constant re-affirmation of the following questions: How does the building respond to its surroundings? How does the dwelling respond to the user? How does the façade respond to the dwelling? And so on and so forth. These were all questions which helped generate the outcome of the research theme topic into a successful dwelling project.
As mentioned earlier, the project is designed to grow and transform over time. Residents of Responsive Suburbia have potential to make changes prior to occupation as well as being capable to adjust one’s housing over time after occupation. This notion of additions and change picks up on the group-conducted theme research on incremental housing (Quinta Monroy), or ‘responsive dwelling’, rather.

wider social context

“In the future there will be a change of paradigm related to collective housing. Collective housing will be emancipated and change in character from a mass-oriented, mainly public and standardized form of building into a consumer-oriented, flexible and individualized form of architecture. It can offer a real alternative to suburban housing. The change can have enormous consequences for urban development and can give new meaning to the concept of density.”– New Forms of Collective Housing in Europe. Birkhauser

The goal of the thesis research was to design a new type of collective dwelling suited for twenty-first century living, which incorporates responsive design on sociological, economical, and environmental levels. The objective is to investigate in a new typology (from the urban to the dwelling scale) which could be appropriated as a positive example for living collectively. Overall, Responsive Suburbia is a healthy model for designing blank development sites.

street bef and aft

No Title

rooftop june 19

ma20 typologies THICKER

june24 increment PPT

incremental growth

house A

house A

house B

house B


1:50 final model; back (courtyard-facing) and front- black shingle (street)

large 1to1000


1:50 study cardboard propotytpes

C:UsersdomekDocumentsapril3.pdf         C:UsersdomekDocumentsmar26.pdf

D:DocumentsUNIVERSITYdelftMSc3 gradIJBURGREVITapril3 - Sh
Ground floor plan of a part of the building ensemble. W = work areas. + possible extensions shown.


1:100 study dwelling models

Phase 2 design; subject to change


The beginning of a 1:200 MDF model; spatial explorations / massing / draft / study

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