Onix was founded in 1994 and since then has designed and realized projects that range from urban research and housebuilding to school and public facility construction and experimental structures. Onix’s approach is distinctive as a consequence of the company’s exceptional sensitivity to the practical dimension of every individual project. Under the surface, the theoretical foundation is continuously active and evolving. In 2005, this approach led to the publication of the book entitled Awaiting Significance, which presents the development of Onix during its first decade.
Onix is an internationally oriented architectural office that is primarily active in the north of Europe. The head company in Groningen, in the Netherlands, and the subsidiary in Helsingborg, Sweden, jointly employ more than 20 members of staff. The management of both sections is in the hands of Onix’s founders, Alex van de Beld and Haiko Meijer, in conjunction with Allart Vogelzang and Berit Ann Roos.
The office has developed its own way of working, based on a horizontal organization that gives each member of staff the opportunity to develop himself/herself into an all-round specialist in the field of design and construction. To clients, this means that, when working with an Onix employee, they are always dealing with someone who is involved in all aspects of the design process. Onix’s architects are building designers who are accustomed to co-operate with other disciplines. As a result, the requirements of the client and the users are translated into architecture in which construction, climate, installation and technology are assigned a sustainable, integrated form.
Onix’s projects illustrate a sharp awareness of the relationship and desired harmony between a building and its surroundings, regardless of whether the environment is an urban or a natural one. Onix represents sustainability in architecture and regards it as an essential responsibility to produce ‘inclusive architecture’ – architecture that excludes no one in advance but, in contrast, is hospitable and democratic.
At present, Onix is working on various projects in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and
the Netherlands. Diverse local partners are involved in the realization of these. Co-operation with other disciplines such as landscape architecture, urban planning and visual art is continually pursued and exploited in order to arrive at design strategies that are sometimes generally valid and sometimes geared purely to a specific design issue. All these projects articulate a far-reaching, cultural, urban and architectonic ambition.
The office has been honoured on several occasions, and was named ‘Architect of the Year’ in 2010. In addition, Onix represented the Netherlands at the architecture biennial in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in 2008, with a contribution entitled Tangible Traces. The title refers to creation and discovery as elementary factors in the genesis of uniqueness and identity. Non-modern notions such as craftsmanship, tradition and context are confronted with state-of-the-art technologies and concepts in order to induce new design solutions.