WaterSchool M4H+ – Studio Makkink & Bey building (Source: Studio Makkink&Bey).
An Experimental Catalyst for the Future Living and Working Environment: The WaterSchool


  • Rianne Makkink Studio Makkink & Bey
  • Barbara Kaczmarczyk Studio Makkink & Bey





In the times of climate crisis, cities face acute challenges. Over 80 per cent of all climate change emergencies and disasters are water-related: floods and drought, pollution, water conflicts, rapid urbanization, a growing demand for food and energy, and migration. Many of these have historic roots in our lifestyle choices, our preference for specific kinds of technology, and energy usage. The omnipresence of water challenges and the way in which we have addressed them in the past give us the opportunity to treat water as leverage for comprehensive changes.The WaterSchool M4H+ in Rotterdam responds to this opportunity by raising awareness of our enormous water footprint and the ways we can reduce it through possibilities and solutions offered by design.

How to Cite

Makkink, R., & Kaczmarczyk, B. (2023). An Experimental Catalyst for the Future Living and Working Environment: The WaterSchool. Blue Papers, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.58981/bluepapers.2023.2.08





methodologies and case studies

Author Biographies

Rianne Makkink, Studio Makkink & Bey

Rianne Makkink is a Dutch architect and designer who graduated from Delft University of Technology in Architecture. In 2002 she co-founded Studio Makkink & Bey, a practice built on experimental research methods and collaborative approaches in public space projects, exhibition design, architecture, product development and interior and product design. This diversity in implementation reflects the notion that everything is inextricably linked. Her design strategy is to not only think about structure as an engineer would, but also to look at the context.

Barbara Kaczmarczyk, Studio Makkink & Bey

Barbara Kaczmarczyk is a transdisciplinary educator, designer and writer based in Rotterdam. As an educator and designer, Barbara is committed to creating spaces for non-institutional knowledge production that challenge dominant histories. As a writer, she draws from diverse literary genres to propose non-anthropocentric, speculative narratives. In parallel, Barbara works as a movement and yoga therapist. This experience allows her to think through and with the body, and nourishes her interest in choreographic and performative dynamics of various environments. Currently, she has a work placement with Studio Makkink & Bey, where she looks at water through the lens of metaphor and symbolism, developing a program that proposes different attitudes to water.


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Brandon, Elisavetta M. 2021. “90% of Rotterdam is below Sea Level. So the City Built an Office Building that Floats.” Fast Company, November 11, 2021. https://www.fastcompany.com/90695615/90-of-rotterdam-is-below-sea-level-so-the-city-built-an-office-building-that-floats.

International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. 2021. “Down to Earth.” Accessed June 13, 2023. www.iabr-smb-downtoearth-waterschoolm4h.nl.

Jansen, Maurice, Amanda Brandellero and Rosanne van Houwelingen. 2021. “Port-City Transition: Past and Emerging Socio-Spatial Imaginaries and Uses in Rotterdam’s Makers District.” Urban Planning 6, no. 3: 166–80. https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v6i3.4253.

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Studio Makkink & Bey. n.d. “Home.” Accessed June 13, 2023. www.smb-waterschool.nl.