Martijn de Geus

Martijn de Geus

Beijing, CN



Martijn is an award-winning Beijing based Dutch architect. 

He has been in China since 2010 and received PhD training under Chinese master architect Li Xiaodong, after being trained as an architect at TU Delft, in the Netherlands. He built his first building at age 19, after winning the ‘who comes after Rem Koolhaas’ competition. 

His design philosophy is inspired by his early experience working six years as a zookeeper of Gorillas in the Netherlands, and possesses unique creative thinking while understanding the Chinese way of doing things.

In China, at Tsinghua University's School of Architecture, he is teaching in, and co-ordinating the international Master's Program in Architecture. Martijn combines his academic work with projects as co-founder of the office maison h / 汉荷设计, an international architecture practice with offices in China and the Netherlands. Recent projects include China’s first sustainable home, the world’s largest insect hotel, an integrated mountain-landscape Winter Olympic museum and two village regenerations. 

He lectures frequently about his work, including at TEDx, MIT, Japan House Vision and TU Delft. Prior to starting maison h / 汉荷设计, Martijn lived, worked and studied in Europe, the US and China. During this period he worked with architects Li Xiaodong, MVRDV, Behnisch, Marc Koehler and Herman Hertzberger. His academic work is published in international journals, and he has co-authored three books on the public realm in contemporary urban space. 

Martijn's School Blog on Archinect:

China Builds : Mainland China's only English MArch program

In the School of Architecture at Tsinghua University, Beijing, the English Program for Master Architecture (EPMA) provides a nationally accredited post-professional program in integrated architectural design. It combines a global network with local implementation. The program is focused on the construction of the human habitat, and the application of advanced building technologies.

Category Title


maison h, Architect/ Founding Partner

Jul 2015 - current

World Architecture Magazine, Beijing, CN, Editor

Aug 2012 - current

Tsinghua University, Beijing, EPMA Teaching Staff

Apr 2012 - current

Li Xiaodong Atelier, Beijing, CN, Project Leader/ Architect

Oct 2010 - current

Tsinghua University, Beijing, CN, Assistant Researcher

Sep 2010 - May 2012

Vision Included, Rotterdam, NL, Design Director/ Founder

Nov 2008 - Jul 2011

MVRDV, Rotterdam, NL, Architect

Feb 2010 - Jul 2010

MVRDV, Rotterdam, NL, Architect

May 2009 - Jul 2009

Marc Koehler Architects, Amsterdam, NL, Project Architect

Sep 2008 - Jun 2009

Behnisch Architekten, Los Angeles, CA, US, Junior Designer

Mar 2008 - Nov 2008


Tsinghua University, Beijing, CN, PhD, Architecture Theory

Part-time PhD with Prof. Li Xiaodong.

Title: Towards a Cognitive Perception of Space.
A comparative study on two traditions of spatial representation, between Europe and China.

Aug 2013 - current

Tsinghua University, Beijing, CN, MArch, EPMA

International program for post-professional master degree at Asia's top university in Beijing.

Sep 2010 - Jan 2012

Technische Universiteit Delft (TU Delft), Delft, NL, BArch, Architecture

Sep 2004 - Jan 2008


Best Urban Planning - AIM Competition 2011, 1st Place

Overall winner - best urban planning in AIM Competition 2011
Topic: green transformation of former steel factory site in south-west Beijing.

Within Beijing we observe the potential to define urban anchor points with distinct identities. Three of such clusters are already well established (Haidian, CBD, Shunyi), if the New Southwest clusters is to compete with these areas, it needs a truly unique identity. Within our view of the Long Life Strategy, it is eminent to start with these observations, creating a legacy that inspires future generations.

So we canʼt propose more of the same superficial, arrogant, shiny image of premature urban infusion. No more glittery high rise egotistical urban nothingness.

We propose a truthful, authentic and unique experience. An identity constructed by substance. Through its functional meaning, the high quality living environment, the community potential and its strong connections to the surrounding urban fabric, the Shougang area can become a true Urban Habitat. Our proposal is based on regional typological precedents that created unique points of urban refuge areas within the traditional Chinese urban fabric. (e.g. Summer Palace, Forbidden City, Siheyuan, etc).

The former Ertong Factory site thus becomes a specific urban oasis, an urban monument perhaps, inside the desert of generic buildings that Beijing has come to be.


Community Center Belgium - Open Oproep 1609, 1st Place

Multifunctional village accomodation
This design concerns a community center in Loker, West-Flanders, Belgium. Loker is a village with 600 inhabitants and has a rich community life, that required a replacement of the existing village meeting center. In our proposal parts of the existing building remain as a compact box that houses the fixed program. Over it, we designed a large roof-scape, that blends in with the topography of the neighborhood and the typologies of the surrounding houses.

Project is recently completed, will open on September 30th, as it was selected winner of the ‘Open Oproep 1609’, an invited competition organized by the Belgium association of architects.


Startersstipendium, Grant

Prestigious starting stipend for developing ‘Vision Included’,
by The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB). Only three individuals per year.


Building for Bouwkunde competition, Honorable Mention

On 13 May 2008, the Faculty of Architecture of the Technical University of Delft was reduced to ashes. The Dutch architectural community was in shock. Nevertheless, this community soon joined forces to set to work again. After all, the loss of the faculty building also offers new opportunities. That's why the Faculty decided to organize an international open ideas competition.

Honorable mention:
With almost 1500 registrations and a final of 471 international submission, we are very proud to announce that our design ‘Ego-eco System’ has been awarded an honorable mention in the TU Delft 'Building for Bouwkunde' competition.


Who comes after Koolhaas? new Stylos Pavilion, 1st Place

At the start of November 2005 the D.B.S.G. Stylos student society of the faculty of Architecture of the TU Delft held a competition for a new pavilion.

The jury, consisiting of Jo Soeter, Jo Coenen, bOb van Reeth, Mick Eekhout, Kees Kaan, Sasha Klinkhamer, Patrick van Dijk and Thijs Paardenkooper, conducted their first round of deliberations in December 2005, at the end of which 58 designs had been sifted out and 6 remained. The designers of these 6 concepts were then given the chance to further develop their plans under the supervision of university teachers and to present them for the second jury round. This finally took place at the end of March 2006 and the jury considered my BlackBox to be the most suitable new Stylos pavilion.

Definition Black Box:
"A device or theoretical construct with known or specified performance characteristics but unknown or unspecified constituents; and means of operation."
"Something that is mysterious, especially as to function."


Areas of Specialization