Frans van der Werf

Frans van der Werf studied architecture and urban design at the Delft University and graduated on his award winning project: ‘Housing in a Linear City’, in which he anticipated Open Building ideas.

He participated in the planning of Evry, a new town near Paris. He designed social housing, city centers, care centers and urban design schemes. He designed a bio-ecological and organic architecture.


Now Frans presents his new Open Building proposition:

“The Transformation of Slums into Low-Rise High-Density Urban Districts”.

Around courtyards and streets he designed very simple open support structures of three solid floors plus attics, with the option to insert local sustainable energy, rainwater harvesting, grey water purification and gardening on roofs. After the parcelation of the base-building in private units occupants can complete their homes their way. (see: projects, lectures and consultation).


From the outset Frans has been convinced that in social housing user residents could be empowered in order to decide on the layout and fit-out of their own dwelling. As one of the first architects he pioneered user participation through the separation of support and infill. He also advocated the quality of urban tissues on which he co-developed the new design method SAR73 supervised by Prof. Habraken. He served on the boards of the Foundation of Architectural Research (SAR), the Open Building Foundation and the Association of Bio-Ecological Architecture (VIBA), always supporting the movements by lectures and workshops all over the world.


Frans is a keen user of Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language, originally a tool for designers. He uses it to communicate with clients and officials about  the form of public and collective spaces and their qualities of daily life.


In his book ‘Open Ontwerpen’ (Open Design) he discusses his professional experiences with innovations in Open Building projects. 


Nowadays Frans wants to share his knowledge by giving lectures, guiding excursions, leading workshops and offering local consultations.