Jo Coenen was born in 1949 in Heerlen, graduated from the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning from the Polytechnic University of Eindhoven in 1975.
Having completed his studies, he worked as an assistant in the same University and established important professional relations all over Europe.
In 1979, he took part in the project for a new building in the Faculty of Arts in Amsterdam with Professor Aldo van Eyck and the architect Theo Bosch, before opening his own studio in Eindhoven in 1980.
From the start of his academic career, Coenen has taught in various schools and national and international universities (Aken, Karlsruhe, Lausanne, Milan and Delft). In 1987, he was appointed Professor in the Karlsruhe University of Technology, of which he has been an honorary professor since 1995.
In 2001, in Holland, he was appointed Professor of Public Buildings in the Department of Architecture in Delft University of Technology.
An integral part of his work, and based on his experience as Chief Architect to the Dutch government, in 2006 he founded the MIT Research Centre in the same university, where Coenen gives utmost importance to artistic relations between past and present, in particular on the issue of design.
Since 2009, he has lectured in Architecture & Transformation in the University of Maastricht.
Coenen has often been invited to exhibit his works in various Biennials and Triennials such as the Biennial of Venice (1980), the Triennial of Milan (1995) and the Biennial of San Paolo (1997).
He has participated in various international projects, symposiums and conferences.
He was invited to give a conference at the RIBA in London (The concepts of a living city), in the Getty Centre in Santa Monica (Building in the old context) and the Collegio Ufficiale de Arquitectos de la Comunidad di Valencia (Experiencias it Edificios publicos).
Coenen presides over various national and international juries, including that of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in Sydney and a member of the jury in Neubau der Zentral und Landesbibliothek Berlin (2014).
He won various prestigious awards and recognitions for architecture, including the Dutch BNA-Kubus for all his work (1995), the Dutch Building Award for ‘Glaspaleis’ (Glass Building) in Heerlen (2005 in collaboration with W. Arets), the BNA “Best Building of the Year Award” for his Vesteda tower in Eindhoven (2007), the “International Architecture Award” for the Public Library in Amsterdam (2008), the “WAN Civic Building of the Year” award for the Public Library in Amsterdam (2009), the International Architecture Award for the Forum Mosae project in Maastricht (2010) and an award for his participation and planning for IBA Hamburg (2013). Influenced and inspired by his contacts in central and southern Europe, he has created numerous architectural development and urban development projects.