Designing Constructlab

For some years now Collective Works has been a fundamental part of Constructlab. Where Collective Works could be perceived as a collaborative work-structure that departs from the practice of two individuals (Peter Zuiderwijk and Karin Mientjes) Constructlab is a transdisciplinary design-build network that breaks with traditional divisions of labor. This team of designer-builders – as well as sociologists, urban planners, graphic designers, curators, educators and web developers – collectively carry the creative process from the drawing board to the field. The shared vision of a collaborative way of working combines the creative with the practical, the thinking with the doing.

Having developed many projects within Constructlab the question emerged how to make the complexity of these collaborative design-build processes tangible? How could Constructlabs diversity be portrayed and how could design reflect analogue connectivity?

These thoughts resulted in two projects:

Convivial Ground Publication

Editors: Joanne Pouzenc, Alexander Römer and Peter Zuiderwijk
Design: Collective Works
Publisher: Jovis Berlin, April 2023

Looking at Togetherness through the lens of conviviality, exploring daily life within and around different projects, Convivial Ground follows up the narrative experience and explores modes of learning and working within Constructlab’s practices. The book proposes to open up cross-disciplinary debates on the necessary conditions for the existence of sustainable impactful collaborative projects and practices.

Piece by piece Convivial Ground invites the reader to discover the work of the transdisciplinary European design-build network Constructlab. Taking Ivan Illich’s understanding of conviviality as a departure point, the essays, conversations, stories, and images in the book reflect on the specificities of collaborative practices as situated experiments, and on their possible roles in the creation of convivial societies. Exploring contemporary conditions of togetherness, learning, and working, the book is not a “how-to” guide, but an invitation to cooperatively write new convivial narratives.

Constructlab, a digital network

In collaboration with Alex Römer, Buurmen and Lieke van der Meer (Studio Muis) Collective Works designed a digital networking platform for Constructlab. Aim of the platform was to make the networks wealth of experiences accessible and showcase its variety. The content of the new digital networking platform was prepared with the help of a digital symposium On the Network, at which four different workshops took place. They all dealt with Constructlab’s core concerns from different perspectives, concerns which represent the common thread of the new platform: communal learning strategies, climate activating, collaborative financing models, the perks and responsibilities of engaging with territories and communities. Accustomed to thinking and working in projects, the creation of the website was a project in itself for the members of the network and the public.

Funded by the Fonds Soziokultur, it brought the main European associations into a close, albeit spatially separated, mode of co-working. The result of this transnational teamwork equally emphasizes the chances of togetherness and collaboration. It is more than the online display of an impressive portfolio, it is a visualization of the size of the network, its vast knowledge and the diversity of its members and associations. Each of them gets its own page, links between actors and projects are mapped, recurring typologies and methods are explained. The website is a statement, a presentation of the inner workings that does not demystify or disenchant Constructlab’s practice but, on the contrary, makes you want to dive into the multiverse of the network even more.

Visit Constructlab at:


Commissioned by:
Core team Constructlab site:
Collective Works
Lieke van der Meer
Alexander Römer
Core team Convivial Ground publication:
Joanne Pouzenc
Alexander Römer
Peter Zuiderwijk
Karin Mientjes