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Personal profile


“My role is to critically examine the thinking of the student, which connects theory and practice, with a focus on the social consequences of a design.”

Research profile

In his educational activities and research at the Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/e) Jacob relies on his background in architectural theory and philosophy, dealing with the assessment of designs and design decisions. His department focuses particularly on the social-physical space: the relationship between humans and their environment. The aim is to train people to serve society with adequate knowledge, effective skills and a well-founded attitude by discussing and investigating the conditionality of these competencies relying on a scientific attitude.

Students are supported in finding their way in a vast network of possible relationships. The challenge is to examine the conditionality of a particular position, arrive at a reflective equilibrium and make this concrete as workable, enchanting design. By examining the conditionality of decisions, interrogating intentions, considering possible consequences, and discussing intentional and contingent use with an eye on the requirements of many user groups, students arrive at a solid foundation for their own position.

Academic background

Jacob Voorthuis lectures in the philosophy of the built environment at TU/e. He graduated in Art History at Leiden University of Leiden in 1988, specializing in Art Theory and Aesthetics. In 1996 he defended his doctorate, which attempted to confront the subject of architectural design and its role in society with philosophical analysis. He has a special interest in the relationship between spatial practice and design, his research is concerned with the possibility of judging designs and design decisions from the perspective of a developing ontology of use, the attempt to remodel our conception of use and the useful in design thinking.

Affiliated with

  • Rotterdam Academy of Architecture
  • Tilburg Academy of Architecture
  • Groningen Academy of Architecture

Partners in (semi-)industry

  • Maurer United Architects BV
  • Het Nieuwe Instituut


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production


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