Architecture – 27 projects selected

In the second Architecture round of 2021, 27 proposals have been selected. All the positively assessed applications were awarded grants. Coordinator Dominique Geelen reflects on the round.

28 July 2021

general impression

In this round, the quality was very good and many highly developed proposals were submitted to the committee. Most of these plans take a strong social issue as their starting point, with the design often creating new opportunities to reach diverse target groups. Collaboration is often sought with architectural institutions, which is important in order to build a bridge between content and audience.

Since this year, a criterion on which the Fund assesses applications has been diversity and inclusion. This happens in terms of content or theme when projects are examined to see how and in what way they can contribute during implementation to a multi-perspective design field. The extent to which diversity and inclusion fits within the spirit of the project in question is consistently examined. The angle can be formulated by applicants themselves and can apply to different facets, for instance an alternative approach to a technical bid book for an offshore wind farm that takes local biodiversity as its starting point instead of economic gain, the search for other voices in the historiography of architecture that do not start from the industrial revolution, or parties from other disciplines who offer new perspectives on the built environment and architects' ways of thinking.

This broadening of perspectives also touches on recurring principles of self-reflection and revision of aspects that are often already present, but remain underexposed. Examples include reflection on and renewed attention for the construction details, an investigation into urban in-between spaces created by urban planning patterns, or design attention for quiet spaces in care homes. These are all examples of topics that are often the final piece in a design process, rather than the starting point. Others, including a revaluation of the use of local building materials as the basis for a different architecture, the historical development of Almere, or the importance of a restored synagogue in the social structure of Amsterdam, show a special reflective layer in which the existing living environment is looked at from a topical point of view.

AFFR 2021 - More than Houses

Three selected projects that illustrate this are:

De subjectieve atlas van Amsterdam
– Stichting Architectuurcentrum Amsterdam (ARCAM)
ARCAM aims to bring together multi-perspective reflections on the built environment in a publication called De subjectieve atlas van Amsterdam. The project consists of a public research programme that collects underrepresented perspectives on Amsterdam's built environment. In collaboration with Annelys de Vet from publishers Subjective Editions and various Amsterdam interest groups, ARCAM is organizing eight workshops in which participants visualize their experience of Amsterdam's built environment. Subsequently, the public is engaged in conversation within a programme of activities. The aim is to work with policymakers, urban planners and architects to make design practice more inclusive. The interest groups include The Black Archives (archive for black and other underexposed perspectives), IHLIA (interest group of the LGBTQI+ community in Amsterdam), Stichting Blinden-Penning (organizes activities for blind and visually impaired people) and De Bond Precaire Woonvormen, which campaigns for the rights of people in a precarious housing situation.

– Studio Hedwich Hooghiemstra
Studio Hedwich Hooghiemstra sees that the focus with an ageing population lies primarily on physical accessibility, but argues that the mental wellbeing of elderly people is at least as urgent. The research project Stilteruimtes investigates the relationship between architectural elements, emotional experience and the function of quiet spaces. In the start-up phase, the architectural elements of quiet spaces are investigated, scale models are designed and the results are presented to care institutions. Studio Hedwich Hooghiemstra is working together with Vitalis care institution on the project. Hans van Laar, spiritual counsellor at Vitalis, is also involved. In addition, Rob Vermeulen (formerly of Cube Design Museum) offers his knowledge and expertise on mourning and multi-sensory design. There is also a collaboration with Marieke Sonneveld, head of End of Life Lab (TU Delft), who offers her expertise on elderly people who are at the end of their lives.

Stilteruimtes - Studio Hedwich Hooghiemstra

Kijken in de grond – CHRITH architecten
Studio Stephan Schagen and CHRITH architects want to show the beauty and diversity of the ground in the Netherlands with the project Kijken in de grond. The central aim is to develop building blocks to form a cultural biography of landscape and crafts. The form is a wind-dried earthen stone that is unique to each location; in fact, it is composed on the basis of cultural biography, local soil, a plant structure, and a local mineral. In this way, they also aim to add the concept of 'material cultural identity' to the discussion on circular construction. They make a journey through the Dutch landscape to find locations for making the stones. Bringing all the stones together in an exhibition, and a closing event that can also be viewed online, form the final piece of the research. The team is supported by Natuurmonumenten, Centre for Global Heritage and Development, Maikel Kuijpers, lecturer in Archaeology at Leiden University, and Oskam VF.

Click here for all the projects selected in Architecture in 2021.


Of the 50 subsidy applications taken into consideration, 27 are receiving grants. This brings the percentage of applications receiving grants to 54%. The originally available budget of € 372,500 was increased in this round to € 506,230. This was possible thanks to additional funds made available by the Minister as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis, and allowed all the positively assessed applications to receive grants. The deadline for the third round of the Architecture Grant Scheme is 12 August 2021. The next deadline after that is 6 October 2021.