Profile Space Encounters


Space Encounters is an internationally operating and award-winning office for architecture led by the brothers Gijs and Joost Baks. We create innovative and remarkable architecture on all scales. It is with great joy and sensitivity that we design buildings and spaces for living, working and playing which take a resounding position and have a lasting positive impact on their surroundings and users. Our broad expertise ranges from commissions regarding building transformation, sustainable living solutions and building in complex urban contexts.

We approach each project as an invitation to find in a contrarian and hands-on fashion an answer to the question: What is the best the project can be? In every collaboration we see a shared exploration into the pursuit of well-made architecture, which involves an open and optimistic attitude in finding the best responses.

As a team we discuss our views on architecture and architectural thinking regularly. The following lines of thought are some of the recurring themes in these conversations.

Architecture is about the future

We aim to design revolutionary, optimistic buildings. We believe that through our work we challenge the status quo and strive to improve it.

It has to be an experiment

In our designs, we aim to connect to people with imaginative and articulated architecture that results in strong images, whether ornamental or abstract, hand-crafted or technological, spectacular or quiet. We intend to let the poetics of architecture speak by surprising combinations of program, material and users.

Lyrical minimalism is our way to deal with economic constraints

We believe that fewer choices make better projects. In the unavoidable process of retrenchment, we bring our designs to their essence. This lyrical minimalism, to us, is the concurrence of essence and accident. In doing this we don't shun the banal and excel in making buildings express great value while being economical to build.

We foster respect and understanding with our clients

By taking adequate time to think with our clients during the design process, we provide solutions of greater clarity and quality. Together, we identify the core questions of a commission and cultivate shared positions from which we collectively evaluate the architectural proposals that follow.

Thinking and doing

The curiosity for innovation and refreshing perspectives keeps us moving. In a controlled mixture of soberness and capriciousness we combine conceptual thinking and craftsmanship. Associative thinking and spontaneous creation are generated by physical modeling.

We are storytellers

We see architecture as a romantic discipline that is approached scientifically. We are romanticists working with and within rationalised paradigms to create conditions for the richness of places to unfold. Telling stories to uncover the potential of assignments, places, and sights is part of our DNA.

Is the complexity of the city comparable to the complexity of nature?

We see the city and nature as the same thing only with different conditions. Operating within existing (urban) landscapes means the transformation of existing multiple and parallel realities. Therefore, all creation is transformation and for a promising future, sustainable and radical inclusiveness is needed without losing the identity of places. To achieve this existing structures or buildings need to be revalued to create more living than destruction. How can they be the basis for something better? We believe in the smart desification of our current cities by means of transformation of and the addition to the existing buildingmass.

The endless space of the universe

We approach architecture in a holistic way. The line between nature and architecture is diffuse to us and although our main clients are human, our vision is not anthropocentric. We consider humans as part of a complex system; our spaceship earth. We do not strictly build for humans, but consider a bigger picture by not only accommodating contemporary needs, wishes and objectives, but also by imagining what the future could be and facilitate it. Hence, our buildings are open structures, subject to change and transformation.

Let's take an optimistic position

We do not pretend that architecture provides all solutions, but are convinced that good architecture is relevant. Knowing that the result will be a realised building, model or sketch manifested on a 1:1 scale, stimulates a natural optimism for us. Making architecture requires an optimistic willingness to do the work and this optimism is based in the trust in, the curiosity for and the dedication to the journey ahead.


  • 2020 Winner Gulden Feniks
    Het Platform, De Nieuwe Stad
  • 2020 Winner Stadsbouwprijs Amersfoort
    Het Platform
  • 2020 Winner Architectenweb Award Office Building of the Year
    Het Platform
  • 2020 AR Building honourable mention for Heuvelinkprijs Arnhem
  • 2019 Dezeen nomination Emerging Architect of the Year
  • 2018 Nomination Amsterdamse Nieuwbouwprijs
    CPO Apartments Zaaiersweg
  • 2018 Winner Frame Award Emerging Designer of the Year
  • 2018 Winner ARC17 Interior Award, Sony Music Entertainment office
  • 2017 Winner The International Architecture Award
    Joolz office
  • 2017 Nominated Geurt Brinkgreve Bokaal
    Joolz office
  • 2017 Nomination Geurt Brinkgreve Bokaal
    CPO Apartments Zaaiersweg
  • 2017 Winner BNA Building of the Year (Stimulating Environments)
    Joolz office
  • 2017 Winner Next Step Award
  • 2016 Nominated ARC16 Interior Award
    Joolz office
  • 2016 Finalist Dutch Design Awards
    Boring Collection
  • 2016 Winner Milan Design Award
    Boring Collection
  • 2014 First prize Best Architecture Almere
    Rebel House


  • Schipper Bosch Ontwikkeling, Amersfoort
  • Van Wijnen Ontwikkeling, Diemen
  • Synchroon, Utrecht
  • Edwin Oostmeijer Ontwikkeling, Amsterdam
  • Being Development, Amsterdam
  • Heijmans, Rosmalen
  • CBRE, Amsterdam
  • Leyten, Rotterdam
  • Stebru, Nieuwenkerk aan den IJssel
  • Kondor Wessels Projecten, Maarssen
  • Kondor Wessels Vastgoed, Amsterdam
  • Boelens De Gruyter, Amsterdam
  • Flow Real Estate
  • VORM Ontwikkeling, Rotterdam
  • Edge Technologies, Amsterdam
  • Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, Den Haag
  • Apenkooi Events, Amsterdam
  • Certitudo, Den Bosch
  • Lingotto
  • Mevrouw Meijer, Amsterdam
  • Karbouw, Amersfoort
  • De Berg Real Estate, Amsterdam

Competitions (tenders and selections)

  • 2022 Architectenselectie, Rotterdam, 1st prize
    Het Gele Gebouw,
  • 2021 Prijsvraag Buitenplaats Koningsweg, Arnhem, 1st prize
  • 2021 Ontwikkeltender Westersingel, Rotterdam, in collaboration with ZUS, final round
    Go West
  • 2019 Architectenselectie, Bern (CH), in collaboration with Frischi Beis Architektur, 1st prize
    Siedlung Holliger
  • 2019 Ontwikkeltender Bakemapark, Amsterdam, final round
  • 2018 Ontwikkeltender Kenniskwartier Zuidas, Amsterdam, in collaboration with Powerhouse Company and So-iL, final round
  • 2017 Ontwikkeltender Schalkwijk, Haarlem, final round
  • 2016 Architectenselectie, Groningen, 1st prize
    NCG office
  • 2016 Architectenselectie, Amsterdam, 1st prize
    Joolz office
  • 2015 Architectenselectie, Amsterdam, 1st prize
    Clink Noord
  • 2014 Ontwikkeltender Watergraafsmeer, Amsterdam, 1st prize
    Zaaiersweg apartments
  • 2014 Architectenselectie, Amsterdam, 1st prize
    Sid Lee office

Jury member

  • 2021 Architectenweb Awards
  • 2018 BNA Gebouw van het Jaar


  • Academie van Bouwkunst, Amsterdam
  • Rotterdamse Academie van Bouwkunst, Rotterdam
  • Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, Delft
  • Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, Den Haag
  • Fontys Academie voor Architectuur en Stedenbouw, Tilburg

Selected publications

  • 2020 April Bauen in Stahl Steeldoc, Radikal schonend, Het Platform
  • 2020 August Bouwen met staal magazine, Een typologische cross-over, Het Platform
  • 2020 May mrisse Zeitschrift fur Baukultur (DE), Zusammengefasst, Het Platform
  • 2020 May Bauwelt (DE), Ontwikkeling, Het Platform de Architect, Start-up Space Encounters
  • 2019 September de Architect, ARC19 Awards, Synchroon Office
  • 2019 April Domus magazine (IT), Space Encounters creates temporary museum of Dutch creativity, The Museum
  • 2018 December de Architect, Cover photo, Transito
  • 2018 November D, Gezond bouwen wordt de number one thing, Joost Baks
  • 2018 June FD Magazine, De Kantoortuin, JOOLZ Office
  • 2018 April Dude, dutch design magazine, Rebel Bar, Transito
  • 2017 November de Architect, ARC17 Awards, Sony Music Office
  • 2017 September de Architect, Start-up Space Encounters
  • 2017 September Monocle, Youthfull exuberance, JOOLZ Office
  • 2017 July FRAME Magazine, Space Encounters implants the green office trend into a former factory, Joolz Office
  • 2017 April Jaarboek Architectuur in Nederland 2016-2017, JOOLZ Office
  • 2017 April de Volkskrant, Space Encounters wint eerste Next Step Award
  • 2017 February Architectenweb Magazine, Inside-out, JOOLZ Office
  • 2016 November de Architect, ARC16 Awards, JOOLZ Office
  • 2016 October Dutch Design Today, Boring Collection
  • 2016 April Corriere Della Sera, Cover photo, Boring Collection in Milano
  • 2014 January de Volkskrant, Delicaat doosje, Rebel House
  • 2013 July Wallpaper* Magazine, Architects Directory, SH House
  • 2013 February MARK Magazine, Sharpens the rear, SH House
  • 2012 November A10 new European architecture, Delicatessen kit, Dames Dietz
  • 2012 August Architectuur NL magazine, Dames Dietz
  • 2012 March Industrieel Bouwen met Hout, Dames Dietz
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