Our Philosophy

"Architecture has to embrace your identity and make it flourish.”

Having the Courage to Dream

“We love to take clients on an inspiring detour and let them discover a whole new world to fall in love with; A world fitting them as a glove and making their identity, the community and the world around flourish.”

We like working together with ambitious clients who have the courage to dream.
This courage to dream, and to see apparent boundaries and limits as a hotbed for endless possibilities and unique approaches, is at the core of what we do. We always start by thoroughly exploring the cultural-historical and natural context and above all the histories of our client. We do not aim for the obvious route, but rethink existing conceptions in the field and look for meaningful detours that make life so interesting; detours you would never have thought of yourself. This way we free ourselves from adapting to existing (architectural, or societal) dogmas or ‘being fashionable’ and bring something unique into being, expose hidden treasures, and surprise all involved.

We believe timeless one-of-a-kind architecture is nested within three connected levels:
It lives within the hearts of the people, it engages the community and it is in harmony with the wider ecosystem.

Embracing your Identity


Everybody is unique and we feel it is our responsibility to make architecture in close dialogue with our clients and future users that will embrace, express and fertilize one’s unique identity and make it flourish. Architecture that because of its unique quality and originality gets under your skin, makes you feel proud, where you fall in love with. Architecture that keeps surprising and amazing you while at the same time fitting you as a glove.

Creating a Sense of Belonging


While everybody is unique, we strongly believe we are all unified by difference.
We create buildings and interiors that activate people and communities to meet and connect, where differences can be celebrated and people can reconnect by what they have in common. This way existing communities can flourish and new ones can arise. Communities where people feel safe and invited to embrace and express one’s unique identity and at the same time re-connect to each-other, making joint memories and developing a sense of belonging.

Serving the Wider Ecosystem


We want our clients to be proud and our buildings to be in harmony / balance with the earth we inhabit. Bureau Fraai takes much effort in a sustainable future. Not building is of course the best thing to do, but while we áre we focus on two things; 1) revitalizing existing buildings as smart as possible and 2) designing new buildings that will last and have the flexibility to serve multiple future functionalities; Adaptable durability as we like to call it. And while we are building in the end, we take much time in research on what building materials we use with the least possible impact on the world.

 

INNOVATIVE CRAFTSMANSHIP

We have an intrinsic interest in what we call innovative craftsmanship. We get excited when we elevate the quality of our architecture with custom-designed elements, and when we reinvent old-school craftsmanship by fully applying the technical novelties of our time. This results in a refined material and technical aesthetic expressing a unique strong architectural identity. We apply innovative craftsmanship to custom-design (building) elements to create unique architectural experiences perfectly fitting and expressing the unique identity of the place, community and you as an individual.
 

LET’S MAKE IT PERSONAL TOGETHER

As our ambition is to embrace and grasp the client’s or user’s unique identity in our architecture, we cannot do this without these clients and future users. For each and every project a close understanding of, and collaboration with our clients is vital for a proper end result. We see our projects as a joint journey.
Each and every project has its own trajectory. For small or midsize projects, we believe in a close personal relation and collaboration with our clients. For bigger projects we love to work with our top-notch partners (specialists) in the field of user centered design.

DESIGNING THE INBETWEEN

We pay a lot of attention to the design of ‘the in-between space’ which includes the design of the actual physical borderline between interior and exterior, and the design of collective and communal areas where lifes intersect.

ADAPTABLE DURABILITY

We believe a smart and durable approach to architecture plays an important role in creating a healthy world. Architecture and our living environment have to serve the community in the long term. A smart and adaptive durable approach to architecture is indispensable.
Therefor for us, a building should embody durability through timeless aesthetics, a first-rate technical and socio-cultural quality and most important by being extremely flexible for future changes. This way a building will be able to withstand or adapt itself to the continuously changing demands of time.
 

THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL

As we see it a healthy planet is our joint responsibility and our buildings should be in harmony with their natural living environment. If we all take care of our own living environment, together we can make the difference and support the vitality, viability and evolution of our living world. This starts by thinking local. We think that especially we as architects can contribute in this joint effort by balancing our buildings with the local ecosystem through a smart use of circular, bio based and local materials.

* fraaiheid

In 2012 we founded design label Fraaiheid (together with Sjoerd Schaapveld) as a platform for designing, developing, and selling our own products and furniture worldwide. Not only a successful design label, Fraaiheid is an important platform and showcase where we experiment and explore craftsmanship, materials, products, details, and production techniques as part of our architectural work.

Bureau Fraai

Meet Our Creative Team


Rikjan Scholten

Rikjan Scholten

architect/ co-founder
Rikjan is co-founder of Bureau Fraai, and chairman of Club A 'BNA netwerk Amsterdam'. He conducted his Master’s research at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn NY and received his Master’s Degree from the Faculty of Architecture at Delft Technical University. From 2005-2014 he worked at renowned Dutch firms such as UN Studio, Architectenbureau Marlies Rohmer and Personal Architecture, alongside taking on projects for private clients. He assisted the municipality of Eindhoven in the implementation of ‘Het Nieuwe Werken’ in their organisation, and he co-developed their tender procedure towards sustainable municipal buildings.

Daniel Aw

Daniel Aw

architect/ co-founder
Daniel is co-founder of Bureau Fraai. He completed his Master’s Degree at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture and earned his degree in Building Science and Constructional Engineering at the Tilburg Avans University of Applied Sciences. From 2006-2014 he worked for renowned firms in and outside the Netherlands such as Studioninedots, Claus & Kaan Architecten and Ministry of Design (Singapore) where he built up an extensive experience in educational, housing and public projects.

team

We work on our projects together with dedicated people with different backgrounds. Both national and international, from product designers, (interior-/landscape-) architects to urbanists. Current and former team members are:
Livia Tanasa, Max Mehl, Frederieke Hakman, Joost Körver, Henrik-Jan Haarink, Liana Arpinte, Margarita Vogatzi