Matthijs Bouw

Design Critic in Landscape Architecture

Matthijs Bouw is the Dutch founder of One Architecture and Urbanism (ONE), an award-winning Amsterdam and New York-based firm. ONE is a global leader in the use of design to conceive and advance climate adaptation and mitigation projects, including Manhattan’s coastal protection, and many large scale nature-based solution projects around the world. He directs the Urban Resilience Certificate Program at the Weitzman School of Design, where he is a Professor of Practice, the McHarg Center fellow for Risk and Resilience and a fellow at the Institute of Urban Research.

Bouw’s work at UPenn theorizes and positions design as an integrator and innovator among scales, disciplines, actors and issues in urban resilience and water management  projects.Additionally, he researches how to achieve and increase ‘resilience value’ in the implementation of complex projects. He is a member of the ULI panel that writes the ’10 principles for building resilience’.

Bouw’s practice is known for its unique approach in which programmatic, financial, technical and organizational issues are addressed, communicated and resolved through design. Bouw has been a pioneer in the use of design as a tool for collaboration, for instance through the development of ‘Design Studios’ as an instrument to support the Netherlands’ Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment with its long term planning, with such notable projects as the Deltametropolis Studio and Randstad 2040.


The office works on flagship resilience projects in New York, Boston and Houston. A co-leader of the BIG Team that won the Rebuild by Design competition for the flood protection of Manhattan, ONE is currently part of the multi-disciplinary teams executing the first phase of the East Side Coastal Resiliency project for Lower Manhattan, as well as the Financial District/Seaport climate resilience masterplan. In Panama City, Bouw is the urban designer in the ‘Water Dialogues’ team. In the Philippines, he is the urban planner for the Asian Development Bank on New Clark City, works on nature-based disaster reduction in Tacloban, and leads the design for Building with Nature Asia. In the Netherlands, One are part of the ‘Hackable City’ team for Buiksloterham, a large scale brownfield redevelopment in Amsterdam-Noord based on the principles of the circular economy, and is currently working on the climate adaptation strategy for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region.

He is the co-editor of Building with Nature: creating, implementing and scaling Nature-based Solutions (nai010publishers, 2020).