[S!MPL] wins BNA Architectenweb Dragons’ Den

[S!MPL] wins BNA Architectenweb Dragons' Den

With their proposal ‘Create Your City’ [S!MPL] (Environmental Psychology and Architecture) was named winner of the BNA Architectenweb Dragons’ Den during the Young Architects Day 2011.

The theme of the event was collaboration. The BNA (Royal Institute of Dutch Architects) and Architectenweb organized a competition for the best idea for a new kind of collaboration.

During the Drangons’ Den 8 teams presented their ideas in two rounds. The teams were judged by Marijn Schenk (Next Architects), Michiel van Raaij (editor-in-chief of Architectenweb) and Fred Schoorl (Director of BNA). In the end it was [S!MPL] that was named the winner with their proposal ‘Create Your City’.

Interactive platform
‘Create Your City’ endeavours to change the traditional planning process. It facilitates new formats for planning by creating an platform that enables enthusiasts, governments, architects and other professionals to post their ideas and plans online. Through social media (facebook, twitter, etc.) people can react to these plans. When an idea or plan is detailed enough and has gathered enough support, it can be realized.

Interactive platform 'Create Your City'

Environmental psychology
[S!MPL] introduces an important new player in the planning process; the environmental psychologist. The environmental psychologist addresses the interaction between man and his environment. The influence of the environment on man and vice versa. Important themes are: navigation and orientation, crowding, perceived control, social interaction, restorative effects, etc. The environmental psychologist researches the needs of the future user, while acknowledging the complex relationships between different kinds of behaviour.

According to Architectenweb [S!MPL] tries to “bridge the gap between the needs of residents and companies and the designs and developers” with their proposal.

The Dragons’ Den prize money will be used to start up the online platform ‘Create Your City’.

‘Create Your City’ is based on the knowledge and experience gained from research lab ‘Vrijstaat’ by the Government Buildings Agency, a project for innovative resident participation for the Municipality of Melbourne and ‘Create Your The Hague’ at the Today’s Art Festival 2011. 


More information

Paul de Vries, M.Sc.
[S!MPL] Environmental Psychology and Architecture
T: +316 3356 9512
E: paul@smpl.biz

Child’s play

“We have an amazing view of the city from our apartment on the 5th floor while simultaneously watching our children play on our peaceful courtyard.”

A vertical city for families

2010 BNA competition for young architects entry
By [S!MPL] studio: Paul de Vries, Simon Droog – renderings: Dario Kristic

In collaboration with Ymere and Proper-Stok, BNA organised the Young Architect competition 2010 within the framework of The Netherlands is Changing.

The theme of a vertical city has been researched extensively in the 20th century by architects like El Lissitzky, Le Corbusier and Van den Broek and Bakema. Urban renewal, densification and a forseen decline in new developments puts known solutions into a new perspective. Would it be possible to enlist the vertical city to solve the problems of building in the 21st century.

Participants were asked to come up with a vision for a vertical city for families, in the tradition of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation and translate that vision into a spacial concept. That vision needed to be adaptable to suit still undefined locations in the city.

Play and discover,
Your environment grows with you.
Learn and enjoy,
Your parents nearby
And feel at home,
On your own playground.

Our concept takes shape as we focus on usability – focus on the needs and wishes of the families living in the city.


Parents are leaving the city to provide a safe and comfortable living environment for their children. These small scale child friendly neighbourhoods are hard to find in the city at present, while easy to find in villages or suburbs. A child friendly living environment provides a safe place for playing children with plenty of green and plenty of opportunities to explore the neighbourhood. At the same time the environment allows parents to keep an eye on their children. It is important for children to be able to slowly expand their living environment. Current high density urban housing projects, like flats and skyscrapers, are not designed to accommodate this growth.

Playground on the 5th floor

Family needs and wishes

Child friendly: safe, protected, easy to read and green with possibilities to expand living environment. Of course a lot of options to play: slide, climbing, sports (soccer/tennis/volleyball), hide and seek, tag, biking, skating, water games in summer, build fortresses, etc.

Transitions from public (city) to private (house) provide safety and overview.

Less complaints about noise.

Connections with urban environment and possibilities for retail and offices.

Playground: Children see their environment as one big playground.

Control over living environment is essential to living in the city. E.g. options to adapt your house to seasonal changes or your preferred level of privacy.

Options for amazing views and overview, but also for retreating and reflection.

Multi-functional use of space provides a sanctuary for parents in addition to room for playing with their kids.

Perceived control over your living environment

The vertical city for families is also highly suitable for other living solutions. Demographic diversity will automatically ensue over time.

Functional mix

Great diversity in size and shape of the plots offers many opportunities for a lot of potential support functions. Even changing functions over time is among the possibilities.

For example, a supermarket that could provide for the families. Additionally, plots for small scale retail and entrepreneurs are present. Think: home offices or nearby.

Great diversity and flexibility

Possible functions that support family life:

Child Daycare next to the playground on the 5th floor.

Small school positioned under the playground

Office space: your home office or nearby in one of the two building blocks

Parking space: parking garage underneath the building

Supermarket inside the building

Small neighbourhood shops on raised street level: barbershop, florist, butcher, pharmacy and clothing boutique, etc. all within the building.

All these options provide plenty opportunities for exploitation.

Transitions from public (city) to private (house) provide safety and overview.

More information

Paul de Vries, M.Sc.
[S!MPL] Environmental Psychology and Architecture
T: +316 3356 9512
E: paul@smpl.biz