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Housing with a Mission


“Housing with a Mission” was the outcome of the NAI’s matchmaking program that I initiated, in which Dutch architectural expertise was matched with international community projects. Against this background, NAi selected five Dutch architecture firms (NL Architects, Arons en Gelauff architecten, NEXT architects, KCAP and BARCODE Architects) and five Chinese architecture firms (Urbanus, Standard, NODE, O-Office and the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) for a specific project, which consisted of developing new concepts for high-quality affordable housing. The project was later presented as the Dutch entry for the Shenzhen architecture bienniale in 2011 under the same title. The exhibition displayed design solutions for affordable housing that were developed as part of a joint Dutch-Chinese project.

NAI China Housing Workshop

china-netherlands housing symposium

​Organized by the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI), this three day workshop brings together Dutch and Chinese architects in order to explore common grounds and differences between Chinese and Dutch design on social/low-cost/low-rent/affordable housing in China.


The new international agenda of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) takes the concept of “matchmaking” as the key concept. This matchmaking project has the ambition to instigate collaborations between Dutch and Chinese architects. It is the ambition of the NAI to see where Dutch architectural knowledge can be off value all around the world.

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Housing with a Mission

dutch and chinese architects’ designs for the ants tribe


Dutch architects have been active in the Chinese market ever since the opening up of the Chinese economy. What has been the effect of their presence in China for their practice and how did it affect their architectural language in this fascinating country? Have we seen a process of integration, or did their work by and large remain isolated? And if they worked together, did their common efforts lead to creating solutions for specific problems in Chinese society today?


In the exhibition, Housing with a Mission: dutch and chinese architects’ designs for the ants tribe, tries to find an answer to these questions. This exhibition is showcasing a unique project in which the NAI brought five Dutch architecture offices together with five Chinese, to work on an actual project to be realised in Beijing by VANKE real estate developing.

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