ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles] investigates the contemporary urban landscape on every possible scale by means of solicited and unsolicited designs. The output of the office ranges from political research to urban planning and from landscape design to architecture. ZUS works with a belief that everything and every place has the potential to become unique and thrilling. A spatial intervention should therefore always be inspired by the specific qualities of the site or its context.
ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles] was founded in Rotterdam by Elma van Boxel (1975) and Kristian Koreman (1978) in 2001. In 2007 they received the prestigious Rotterdam Maaskant Prize for Young Architects and published their first book: Re-Public: towards a new spatial politics. Despite their young age they have already had the honor to be selected as curators for the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam and the first BMW Guggenheim Lab team in New York. In 2012 ZUS was selected as ‘Architect of the Year’ in the category small offices.Their work has been widely exhibited in a.o. the Venice Biennale, the Design Biennale Istanbul, the Architecture Biennale in Sao Paolo and the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. They hold teaching positions at various design schools including the CAFA school of architecture in Beijing and INSIDE at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague.
Van Boxel and Koreman head an international and multi-disciplinary team consisting of architects, urban planners, landscape architects, a graphic designer and a cultural economist. A professional design team is selected for each specific project.The list of ambitious projects ZUS is working on is expanding rapidly. In the field of landscape architecture ZUS has realized designs like Printemps à Grand Bigard in Brussels, the Central Park of the World Expo 2010 and the landscape of the Dutch Pavilion in Shanghai.ZUS designs large scale urban plans, such as Almere Duin –a coastal neighborhood containing 2650 houses, currently under construction– and A2 Maastricht –a city-wide infrastructural redevelopment plan which was designed jointly with the the Royal BAM, largest contractor in the Netherlands. Recently ZUS was asked to draw up the new master plan for the Futian District in Shenzen.
The Schieblock is the successful redevelopment of an abandoned office building in the center of Rotterdam. The project garnered attention for the fact that ZUS wasn’t only involved as architect but also as initiator, developer and real-estate agent. In 2012 the project was shortlisted for AM NAi prize and was awarded the Job Dura encouragement award. Currently ZUS, in partnership with the IABR and others, is occupied with the execution of Test Site Rotterdam: a complex urban renewal project which aims to redefine the current approach to city development. The multi-million dollar project is underway with the Luchtsingel (a crowd-funded pedestrian sky bridge), Europe’s largest rooftop farm (which was awarded the 2012 Green Building Jury Award) and a city park of 5.000 m2.