Complex Projects

Complex Projects targets all scales of the architectural thinking: details, building, city, and region. Complex Projects aims to expand the knowledge about design and dense urban area development, and to broaden the mind and thinking of future architects.

The architect operates within many different scales and cultural contexts. Consequently, the architect sees the world through many lenses: as an artist, organiser, politician, economist, philosopher, strategist, humanitarian, planner and sometimes visionary. The complexity of these parameters converges into a new definition of design. This enables students to unpack virtually any set of design constraints, cultivating a strong critical and analytical approach to the design process.

Focus and Approach

In Complex Projects, the research-by-design zooms in from the large scale of the city itself, to the medium scale of the site, to the scale of the building. This serves as basis for a design narrative that in turn is a lead for individual proposals. The research products of the different design studios vary from the kick-off material provided by the teachers to the individual design projects, models, collages, books, videos, wallpapers by the students. Through the various products it becomes visible how the research led to the narrative, and how this in turn is translated in design. A selection of the students' works is part of the exhibitions periodically organised and curated by the Chair.


MSc1 Complex Projects Design studio
Fall semester 2021
The MSc 1 design studio focuses on buildings in the Netherlands and makes students familiar with the multiple aspects of research and design. Students conduct an architectural design project in a Dutch city, which challenges to explore both the tradition of Dutch planning and building culture. It is about identifying and making decisions on the balance between ‘what changes’ and ‘what remains’ in Dutch architecture.

Programme MSc 1 fall semester 2021 (pdf)

MSc2 Complex Projects Design and Research studio
Spring semester 2021

The MSc 2 design and research studio promotes both collective group work and independent thinking, with the aim of positioning the architectural project into a broader social, cultural, political and economic context. Students are faced with two challenges. First, they will perform a thorough urban research in order to understand the area’s history, logistics and dynamics. Second, they are asked to synthesise the complexity of a specific urban condition into an architectural and urban design proposal of a medium size project in a European city. The research zooms in from the territory to the urban scale and the results are organised into a comprehensive research book. This serves as a basis to analyse a specific area and sort a design proposal.

Programme MSc 2 spring semester 2021 (pdf)

MSc 2 studio Interactive Architecture spring semester 2021 (pdf)

MSc3/4 Complex Projects Graduation studio
Fall and spring semester
In the MSc 3/4 Graduation studio, all elements of the building and design will be seamlessly integrated into a clear compelling project. The project deals with all issues such as analysis, problem definition, urban design, building in context, building concept, to critical detail. These are all based on a clear narrative that contributes to increase the relevance and criticality of the project. The studio has a global orientation and defined method. The MSc3 research phase focuses on testing and defining the brief of urban and architectural design interventions, that steer the transformation of existing locations around the world.

Programme MSc 3 fall semester 2021 (pdf)

Additional information

Additional information about the projects and student work can be found here.

For detailed course descriptions, please visit the study guide:

MSc 1 (only in fall semester)
MSc 2* (only in spring semester)
MSc 3

* The MSc 2 semester of the Architecture track consists of 5 credits of compulsory courses and 25 credits of electives, of which an approved MSc 2 Architecture design project. See also the MSc 2 design projects page for an overview of MSc 2 Architecture design projects. Visit the study guide for an overview of 5 EC electives. AR0109 City of Innovations project, AR0136 Making, AR0217 AREA are offered by Complex Projects.


Dr. Manuela Triggianese

MSc 3/4

Ir. Hrvoje Smidihen