Master Vacant NL

Interdisciplinary Design Research Master Vacant NL at Sandberg Institute

At the 2010 Architecture Biennale in Venice, we showed that thousands of inspiring, vacant public buildings in the Netherlands have the potential to be reused for innovation. This installation was awareded with both a Dutch Design Award and the Rotterdam Design Prize.

With the two-year masters program Vacant NL, the Sandberg Institute is realizing its ambition to train architects, designers, craftsmen and scientists to become specialists in the temporary use of buildings and other spaces. It is the world’s first masters program in Vacancy Studies. This interdisciplinary design research master is all about transforming and creating affordances on-site.

Studio Vacant NL -

Directed by landscape architect Ronald Rietveld and philosopher Erik Rietveld
the program revolves around design research on the potential of vacant spaces. Insights and solutions from different fields of knowledge are combined to address the topic in an integrated manner. Several unique buildings are available for experimentation and for making site-specific design interventions. One example is ‘Vacant Appsterdam, the headquarters of 2000 young appmakers in temporarily vacant cultural heritage in Amsterdam’s Westerpark.

Vacant Appsterdam: HQ of 2000 appmakers

Without doubt, what the Netherlands need in the current decade is a multidisciplinary
team of talented specialists in temporary reuse of buildings and other spaces. The challenge posed by Vacant NL calls for a range of visionary, unorthodox and unsolicited interventions. Design and build the impossible!

Our book Vacancy Studies: Experiments and Strategic Interventions in Architecture presents the lessons we learned from experimentation in art & design education and in real life. Find more on the book here.


The students of Master Vacant NL present their work here (in Dutch): and the reviews of their graduation show (June 2013) by architecture critic Tracy Metz can be found here and by De Architect here.

Background readings:

International press on RAAAF’s Vacant NL

Interview De Architect with Ronald & Erik Rietveld (in Dutch)

– Rotterdam Designprijs Juryrapport smal

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