A social intervention to restructure and connect.

Our approach to creating architecture, interior, landscape and urban design is inclusive: integrated with social, practical, economic and climate issues.

U/Define cannot be fixed in a defined signature or style. We load every project with a unique vision. By considering program, spatial qualities and social versatility as equal in the architectural processes, unexpected solutions arise. Making the world more interesting, better, more sociable and perhaps bolder than what is expected.


Socially engaged.

Now more than ever, we need public space as an extension of our personal living environment. The strengthening of the local social network and the cohesion between various neighborhoods should be facilitated by well-considered interventions in the urban fabric, a pleasant fordability of the streetscapes and a well-considered spatial organization of indoor and outdoor spaces.

A socially conscious architecture interacts with its surroundings. We want to design environments that not only function well, but also create added value for their users and for the built landscape through their substantive presence, form and materialization. Integrated into the local urban fabric, an empathetic architecture offers its facilities. An infrastructure that evolves along with it strengthens social anchoring.



Thorough studies prior to the design phase result in a synthesis of urban fabric, historical context, public experience, socio-cultural atmospheres and economic development.

As a team, we use an evolutionary strategy in the creative process of making architecture: developing multiple ideas in all phases of a project and intensively iterating and contextualizing them to test the goals and needs of the client. In this way we discover unexpected potential in the program and the context of the assignment to broaden and deepen the individuality of the project.

The cross-fertilization with rational research, adaptable design and a nature inclusive attitude result in an unconventional realism, charged with social affection, beyond meaningless formalism, vain historicization or narrow functionalism.


Culturally influenced.

Our projects reflect the family history of a pragmatic contractor instinct, combined with an intense inspiration of search and discovery in the design processes. Learning from the environment, through participation and co-creation, is a requirement to create a design that fits into its surroundings while at the same time advertising a strong identity specific to the users.

The best answer is formulated for each project, free from presuppositions and frenetic attempts to give form to content. Each project has its own methodology and system to arrive at a solution. We communicate our designs and intentions in a universal language. With words, models, visualizations, drawings, mock-ups and BIM software, everyone can participate in critique, collaboration and dialogue in co-creation. This process allows us to anticipate conflicts that may arise in construction phases with greater accuracy.



Users must be able to identify with the place where they reside and grow. The architectural intervention should stimulate their inspiration and help to strengthen the social identity of the building in an environment.

It is the designer’s task to create a flexible and appropriate spatial framework in dialogue with the various users, which encourages an intuitive use of the building and its surroundings.

We regard architecture as a process of dialogue with clients, users, local residents, stakeholders, authorities, experts and consultants, in all fields, at every stage of the design and construction process. Societal relevant architecture is made in collaboration with others. This approach is part of our working method and of our work process from the first sketch to the final delivery.


Future proof.

Future-proofing requires a building that is made to change. We regard theoretical research and practical application in design for change within a circular economy as practically inescapable and unavoidable.

By using change-oriented building as a strategy from the start of the design process, surprising, spatially high-quality spaces are created, where by focusing on integrated design – from smart multifunctionality and stacking over logical implementation of techniques to polyvalent furniture design – the focus is complete and without complexity can be placed on the core of the matter: adapted to the needs of today, flexible enough for the needs of tomorrow.

In combination with the use of sustainable materials, this contributes to less waste production and the depletion of natural resources and closes the material cycle.



The climate challenges that befall us require the architect to step outside the comfort zone of the traditional architecture and construction world. Building in itself is not very sustainable because we constantly use new raw materials, increase the energy demand and consume more space.

We contribute to a better harmony in the relationship People – Planet – Prosperity if we deal with this in a smarter way. Not high-tech, but rather simple solutions that are maintained and adapted in the long term.

Sophisticated construction methods, smart use of space and consciously climate-adaptive and nature-inclusive design are the motors for a healthy, social living environment. They stimulate biodiversity and the experience of nature, improve water management and air quality, introduce reusable and CO2 reducing materials and optimize construction, energy and maintenance costs.



U/Define has an international background and has a feel for and experience with the local context. We work on an extensive range of sustainable and innovative assignments across Europe, with an extraordinary variation in size and program: feasibility studies for real estate development, research projects in transformability of existing buildings, circular extensions for housing, multifunctional furniture and wayfinding for hotels, …

Combined with considerable proficiency from accomplished projects we enjoy working on an international platform in co-creation with clients, users, expert advisors, academical institutes, contractors and other architectural offices. As a design and project architect, we have the necessary infrastructure and experience for collaboration on common software platforms, efficient data exchange (BIM), video conferencing and (inter)national commuting. We implement project management, quality assurance and financial follow-up in straightforward open communication.


A Belgian studio with an international background.

With over 37 years of professional experience in Belgium and abroad, U/Define has a sober, thorough, but also fresh, ambitious and future-oriented approach and view on realizing projects. The studio has been able to work on challenging and original projects and researches on different scales and levels.

The foundations for U/Define were laid with the start of the design process for Le Toison d’Or in 2009, a mixed-use project in Brussels. With the realization of this project in 2014, commissioned by Amsterdam-based UNStudio, arch. Wesley Lanckriet founded architecture studio U/Define. In 2016 arch. Robby Vandenhouwe joined the studio as partner. His background as architect and project developer ensures a strong interaction and a broad experience on which the studio can rely.

Both Wesley Lanckriet and Robby Vandenhouwe are academically active. Wesley Lanckriet was connected to the VUB, actively involved in researching change-oriented and future-proof building design within a circular economy. Robby Vandenhouwe teaches BIM and Architectural Design at the Department of Applied Architecture of Howest University of Applied Sciences. In our studio, BIM is imbedded in the daily processes.