Terraforming world's metropoles

Urban Reef is a young and adventurous startup that researches, develops and designs situations and interactions for a more-than-human urban environment.

Reefs are porous, labyrinthic shelters; are water-retentive structures; can host a spectrum of buffers and micro-climates; thus providing grounds for a climate-adaptive and multi-species world.

Including all life in design

The city is a shelter for all life, not just humans. Urban Reef questions the human relationship with nature: it is not to control, deny or fix the environment, but rather to stimulate its diversity by creating habitats that give room for spontaneous growth. To live together with multiple species on planet Earth we (humans) need to give more space to wilderness and nature in cities: both physically and in the collective thought.

The city ís a living reef

Urban Reef sees the city as a living landscape, a reef. Through research, design, technology and theory we develop samples of the bio-inclusive city. The wilderness-stimulating prototypes are called Reefs. Depending on their application they have a specific name: Rain Reef, Tidal Reef, Zoo Reef. Reefs are labyrinths of shelters generated by natural algorithms and are printed with (living) materials. With capillary abilities they can absorb water and provide a diversity of micro-climates and nutriens, thus creating more opportunities for organisms to live in the city. Humans can connect with the reefs through senses and sensors.


In 2021, Pierre and Max founded Urban Reef. Since then they have been aided by a broader team of interns from disciplines such as design, visual arts and IT.

Pierre Oskam


Pierre (PhD Design, MSc Landscape Architecture) is concept designer at Urban Reef. He teaches architecture at TU Delft since 2018. Pierre´s doctoral research (2021) linked ecological philosophy to design. He is interested in innovation for a connected and green city.

Max Latour


Max (MSc Architecture) is computational designer at Urban Reef. As a researcher, he is affiliated with the Robotic Building Lab of TU Delft. Max is interested in developing data-informed designs, in which functionality and aesthetics are closely linked.

Living Material lab

The living material lab consists of experiments with (natural) materials to use for 3D printing, for example mycelium, bacteria and clay.

Natural Growth lab

The natural growth lab deepens in on the way how materials, shapes and physical conditions play a role for communities of organisms to thrive.

Design & Interaction lab

The design & interaction lab seeks out to ideate, visualise and prototype the reefs for growing the bio-inclusive city. It includes philosophical theory, computational design and prototyping with 3D printing techniques.


In the quest for the bio-inclusive city we work as much as we can from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Julia Pongratz Product Design; Lieke Luikens Product Design; Matteo Volonterio Visual Design; Pierre Oskam Concept Design; Max Latour Computational Design

Paul Huttinga Information Technology; Benjamin Slabbekoorn Urban Design; Kim Bighelaar Urban Design;
Pierre Oskam Concept Design; Max Latour Computational Design


Urban Reef is located at an inspiring place: Innovation Dock Rotterdam. Here we set up our different research and design labs. Interested? Contact us and come to our meet-up every last Friday of the month!

Video Urban Reef

The video above gives you a short introduction about our vision, methodology, projects, ongoing research and ideas for the future.


Urban Reef is made possible by funding and support from Citylab010, Gemeente Rotterdam, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, Stichting Droom en Daad, VP Delta Dutch Water Innovation, Technische Universiteit Delft, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Hanzehogeschool Groningen, Dutch Design Foundation and BlueCity Lab.