Is a Dutch architecture firm full of ambition, working in a refurbished warehouse located on the Amsterdam harbour front.
KettingHuls was founded in 2012 by Daniëlle Huls and Monica Ketting. The practice works on projects that vary in scale, dimension and programme; ranging from architecture to urban design.
A distinct approach
To us, buildings never exist in isolation: we look beyond zoning boundaries and see the built environment, public space, the landscape and society as parts of a whole.
We aim to reveal human perceptions, memories and imagination. Our interest lies in studying how residents and other users behave, perceive and remember their environment.
Our objective is always to create everyday beauty. We like to draw attention to universal yet forgotten values that are still valid and give them new meaning through the spaces we design.
We look at the city and the land from the perspective of those who move slowly: those who travel about on foot or by bike; active people who draw on all their senses to perceive and experience the built environment.
Cofounder Daniëlle Huls has been leading KettingHuls since 2022.
Daniëlle has worked as an architect in Amsterdam since 1997. At first as architect-director at the Architectengroep, later in her own office Daniëlle Huls Architect. She has worked on a wide range of commissions and has seen to a number of large housing projects built.
In 2007 she started work at Bureau B+B (Urban Development and Landscape Architecture) as an urban designer, and joined the board of directors two years later. At B+B, Daniëlle worked on urban plans and landscape designs in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and China and was involved with the redevelopment of brownfield sites as well as with the design of new suburbs.
She is a guest lecturer at Delft University of Technology’s Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment and the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam.
She has been a member of the Advisory Committee of Arcam, Amsterdam’s architecture centre, since 2019.
Daniëlle graduated as an architect from Delft University of Technology. Her thesis project was awarded with an honourable mention. She then completed the Diploma School at the Architectural Association in London (with a scholarship from the Fonds voor Beeldende kunsten).
Photo by Judith Jockel
Lars den Admirant
Mihai Ionut Blahuianu
Alain Fernandez del Rey
Alexandre Garcia Estelles
Ivo de Jeu
Enrique Orts Costa
Basia van Rijt
Academy of Architecture Amsterdam
Creative Industries Fund NL
De Werf Nobelhorst B.V.
Edwin Oostmeijer Projectontwikkeling
Madefor Projects BV
Municipality of Almere
Municipality of Amsterdam
Municipality of Best
Municipality of Kerkrade
Municipality of Utrecht
Rentmeester Hollandia Maatschappij NV
Slokker Vastgoed BV
Tour de Force
Vink Bouw BV
Zheng Management B.V.
Foundation Mevrouw Meijer
Foundation Woonzorg Nederland
Awards and nominations
|APA 2022, Architectuurprijs Almere 2022, Vliervelden, Oosterwold, Almere, the Netherlands
Nominated ArchDaily 2022 Building of the Year Awards, Restobar Mama, Maastricht, the Netherlands
Nominated ArchDaily 2022 Building of the Year Awards, Vliervelden, Oosterwold, Almere, the Netherlands
|Longlist ARC21 Architecture Award, Vliervelden, Oosterwold, Almere, the Netherlands
|Nominated for Public Building of the Year, Architectenweb Awards 2020, Restobar Mama, Maastricht, the Netherlands
|Winner tender Barony of Cranendonck, the Netherlands
First Prize competition 'Stay Grow Play', Sittard, the Netherlands
|Winner tender Atriumsite, Kerkrade, the Netherlands
Selected Artist in Residence, Baer Art Centre, Iceland
|Second prize competition ‘Set foot in Sittard’, the Netherlands
Third prize competition ‘Ambyerveld’ Maastricht the Netherlands
|Prize winner ‘China Jinzhou World Landscape Art Exposition’, Jinzhou, China
Winner tender Innovationpool, Turnhout, Belgium (i.c.w. B-architecten)
|Winner tender School for Special Education, Haarlem, the Netherlands
Second prize ‘Industriestrasse/Bocholter Aa’, Bocholt, Germany (i.c.m. SeARCH)
|Prize winner competition Atelier Malkovich, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
(i.c.w. Bureau LADA)
|First prize competition 'Nieuw Tij, een nieuwe impuls voor Zeeland’, the Netherlands (i.c.w. Louisa Rottier)
|Second prize competition ‘De Romeinse Lijn’, Provence of Utrecht, the Netherlands (i.c.w. Bureau LADA and Susann Rittermann)
|Shortlist Young Architect of the Year Award (i.c.w. Loos Architects)
Honourable mention competition ‘Kerngebiet Bockenheim’, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (i.c.w. Loos Architects)
|Landscape Model, Delft University of Technology’s Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, the Netherlands
|‘Vrijstaat Amsterdam’, 4e International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR)
|‘Atelier Malkovich’ Nieuw en Meer, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
|Working Apart Together, architecture centre ARCAM, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
|‘Kunstspoor 2006’, Noord-Beverland, the Netherlands
'Nieuw Tij, een nieuwe impuls voor Zeeland’, CBK, Middelburg, the Netherlands
Nieuwe Oogst BNA, architecture centre ARCAM, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
|‘De Romeinse Lijn’, architecture centre Aorta, Utrecht, the Netherlands
|‘Van Werf tot Stad’, Vision on the Stadswerven’, Dordrecht the Netherlands
|Über Vierkanter, Radfahren und Zeichnen’, Kunsthalle in Krems an der Donau, Austria
BIKE-Inc, an inclusive approach, Architectenweb symposium ‘Het nieuwe hybride stadsblok’, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
|Podcast Architectenweb, interview with Michiel van Raaij, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
|Tafel van Arcam, architecture centre ARCAM, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
De Dag van de Stad, Creative Stad, Amersfoort, the Netherlands
|Expo for Public space, Maastricht, the Netherlands
Building Holland Amsterdam the Netherlands
CAST Tilburg Centre for Architecture and Town Planning the Netherlands
|Pecha Kucha, Inside design, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Pecha Kucha ‘Dag van de Architectuur’ UCK Utrecht the Netherlands
|‘Polderen bij de verstedelijking’, part 2, Dreamed Urbanism, Rode Hoed, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
|4e International Architecture Biennale, Rotterdam (IABR) ‘Tolhuistuin’, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
‘CBK Zeeland’, Middelburg, the Netherlands
|Department of the Built Environment University of Technology, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
|Department of the Built Environment University of Technology, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Dutch Design Center Initiative (DDC-i), Utrecht, the Netherlands
UIA Congres, Istanbul, Turkey
|Delft University of Technology’s Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, the Netherlands
NEVER WASTE A GOOD CRISIS
A crisis is a moment of freedom and a reason to break new ground. Approaches to spatial change in urban areas that may have worked five years ago, fail today. Issues have grown more complex, frequently combining cultural, social and economic aspects. Fascinated by this development, we think that the narrow-minded approach of the ‘traditional’ architect no longer yields solutions. To us, buildings never exist in isolation: we look beyond zoning boundaries and see the built environment, public space, the landscape and society as parts of a whole.
The Lived Environment
We aim to reveal human perceptions, memories and imagination. Our interest lies in studying how residents and other users behave, perceive and remember their environment. We do not believe in destroying the old to make room for the new: we focus on what is there, its cultural history, its social context and on the qualities of a district or place. Incorporated into a new structure – an urban plan, a building development, a new square – these are made visible again, acquiring new meaning in the minds of their users. Trees, ditches, old walls, existing buildings or urban structures need not disappear under layers of construction sand: they can be integrated into a new system, adding value to the identity and quality of life in a neighbourhood or district.
We look at the city and the land from the perspective of those who move slowly: those who travel about on foot or by bike; active people who draw on all their senses to perceive and experience the built environment. Sound, wind, shadow or light largely determine the quality of a space or place. Too often, unfortunately, such factors are ignored in the design of urban spaces and buildings. We advocate a more poetic approach to the built environment and urban life, one that stimulates the senses. We do not ignore the ‘fast’ city, but focus on adopting a different perspective on the built world. In our daily lives we also live slowly.
Obviously, the everyday beauty of a place, area or object creates feelings of satisfaction, pleasure and delight: a basket of apples, a chestnut tree in the courtyard, a large sliding door out onto the garden. Our objective is always to create everyday beauty. We like to draw attention to universal yet forgotten values that are still valid and give them new meaning through the spaces we design. In addition, our projects are specific, because we pay attention to authenticity and local conditions. We love simplicity and clear-cut plans.
The smell of green grass closely envelops the house. We are eating outside. Barefoot, I walk in and out with bowls of food, a jug of water and a bottle of good wine. There’s a fire burning to dispel the evening chill. (From: Het Weilandwonen en de Nesteljas by KettingHuls and Bureau B+B)
Stories play an important part in the lived environment and in reading a location. Our stories and images seduce. As experienced creative and spatial thinkers, we are able to translate plans and ideas into imaginative narratives at an early stage. During the design process, we illustrate thoughts expressed by clients and other involved parties. This is our strength: expressing atmospheres in poetic, lyrical or dramatic images and narratives without prior detailing or designing. This facilitates communication between all of the parties involved because together, words and images fully explain jointly decided purposes and visions.
Our focus lies not only on the creation of human-centred products and services but also on a design process that is humane. We draw on our intuitive ability to develop ideas with emotional impact. We base our work on our own observations and personal experiences gained through hands, eyes, feet, stomach, behaviour, changing needs and desires, rather than on functional norms and standards. Nobody wants to run an organization on the basis of feelings, intuitions and inspiration alone, but relying too much on the rational and the analytical can be just as risky. Our working method provides an open and refreshing view of the landscape and the built environment, and we see this as a route to new strategies, to a world that is both varied, layered and human.
We believe in cross-disciplinary collaboration, especially during the initial phase of projects when starting points have to be redefined. We want to do things differently. We want to break habits and look beyond our own discipline. We want to work in teams involving our clients and people from other fields, among them sociologists, financial experts, landscape architects, users and administrators. We see this as a new approach to the current quest for new technologies, new value systems and new models that serve the interests of society.
Our designs, based on simplicity and attention to distinctive elements, succeed in creating everyday beauty even within tight budgets. Because we are able to give free reign to the experience of others as well as that of ourselves as designers of buildings and cities, we can create plans that take the running costs into consideration at the same time as the spatial plan, the identity of a place and its cultural history.
Up for discussion in the future is the living environment: there ought to be more ways to deal with issues such as identity, degradation or building vacancy than either construction or demolition. We facilitate a design process that does not necessarily result in a building: we may design a product, a service or a process that offers new ways of determining the shifting demands and needs of people and markets. Besides construction plans, visual quality plans, strategies and research, the results of our designs may include activity calendars, the upgrading of public space or lighting plans.
As designers in the field of architecture and urban development, we work in densely populated areas or in the countryside. We initiate projects that provide pragmatic solutions to problems that have social or economic dimensions. In high-density areas, we seek solutions that will transform the existing built environment into a sustainable one: one that reflects future changes in society. In rural areas, we seek to maximize the interconnectedness of buildings and landscape.