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 2022

As an introduction to Complex Projects, the MSc1 design studio ‘Dutch Change’ focuses on the Netherlands’ ground. By getting familiar with the Dutch environment, the new MSc students will learn to understand the complex system behind buildings and establish a connection between building design and process improvement. In the fall semester of 2022, Dutch Change focuses on the food industry changes, researching its territorial impact and exploring the architectural typological innovations. 

Programme MSc 1 fall semester 2022 (pdf)

MSc2 Complex Projects 
Design and Research studio in collaboration with Digital Culture
Spring semester 2022

The MSc 2 design and research studio explores a specific theme and its impact on the built environment, with the aim of positioning the architectural project into a broader social, cultural, political and economic context. First, students conduct thorough research, including data analysis and urban context analysis for a specific topic of global relevance. Students are then asked to translate the outcomes of research into an architectural and urban design proposal tackling several different scales in parallel: network, city, building and interior. The aim of the studio is to reflect on the contemporary societal changes, and to imagine and visualize spatial implications of those changes on Dutch cities. To foster imagination, both conceptual and realistic representations of design and research are welcome. Students are encouraged to present their work in a creative and original manner, from axonometric line drawings to mixed-media collages.

Programme MSc 2 spring semester 2022 (pdf)
MSc 2 studio Interactive Architecture spring semester 2022 (pdf)

MSc3 & MSc4 Complex Projects 
Graduation Studio in collaboration with Digital Culture

The focus of Graduation Studio is the building. During the graduation year diverse aspects of the building will be researched and integrated into a compelling project. While focusing on the building, students will investigate various scales and subjects: global relevances, urban contexts, building concepts, functionalities & technology, materializations and critical details. In the first semester students will conduct research and translate it into the design question in a form of project brief. The following semester will be used to provide an answer to the brief in a form of the project proposal. The aim of graduation studio is to develop a methodological and structured approach to the design process. To learn how to process, organize and use a large amount of data in the design, students are confronted with the complex and demanding design assignment. By having strictly defined process and deliverables, students are encouraged to produce, think and design simultaneously. Deliverables are not only used as final presentation material but also to develop, explore and test the design. Collective research, sharing of information and open discussions are used in the studio to guide, and progress the design process. 

Programme MSc 3 fall semester 2022 (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

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