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Transitional Territories 2020-2021

Transitional Territories 2020-2021 — Inland, seaward. The Trans-coastal Project

As a modern project, territory was synonymous with the colonization of nature. Contemporary urbanism faces the aftermath of it: sea-level rise, climate crisis, displacements, soil exhaustion, ecological decay. The urban project is increasingly mediated by the frequency and distribution of extremes – i.e. flood, drought, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, subsidence – and the passive (eventually active) spatio-morphological, socio-ecological and political changes that follow.

There is consensus on the need to be responsive to a new instability of nature/culture and the self, and yet a sense of interruption, of distance, remains at sight. A disorientation of space, time and identity (Latour, 2020). Partial adaptation, restauration strategies (bouncing-back tactics) deliberately deviate the attention and gaze from what lays underneath the surface: the uncertainty about and the form (spatial, ecological, political) of inhabitable land under the new climatic regime.

What is the status of the territorial/urban project defined by emergence, juxtapositions and transitions in water, soil, weather and forms of inhabitation? What are the material and ecological practices needed to design with—instead of against—the states of crisis? Hence, the central question is how an informed and radical re-organization of water, land/soil, built environment and societies ought to contribute to a new condition of living.

The object of the new three years cycle of Transitional Territories Studio is the de- / re-territorialization of places, structures and cultures between land and sea. Four extremes geographies and four lines of inquiry will guide our research and design practice, wherein the specific project location of each thesis is of choice of each student. ‘Inland, seaward. The trans-coastal project’ aims at developing practical approaches—by design—to socio-ecological coherence and equity by working across fields of knowledge, scales and subjects, endogenous and exogenous forces, inside-out and outside-in.

Studio Leader
dr.ir. Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin

Studio Coordination
dr.ir. Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
dr.ir. Luisa Calabrese

dr.ir. Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Urban Design Theory & Methods/Landscape Urbanism

dr.ir. Luisa Calabrese
Urban Design/ New Media

dr. Fransje Hooimeijer
Environmental Technology & Design

dr. Diego Sepulveda Carmona
Spatial Planning & Strategy

dr. Nikki Brand
Interdisciplinary Planning & Design/ Policy Advisor

dr. Daniele Cannatella
Landscape Architecture/ Cartography

dr.ir. Joep Storms
Applied Geology, CEG-TUD

ir. Geert van der Meulen
Water Management

Raquel Hädrich Silva
International Development Studies/ Sociology/ Oceanography

Graduation Sections/ Chairs
Urban Design Environmental Technology & Design
Spatial Planning and Strategy
Landscape Architecture
Hydraulic Structures & Flood Risk (Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences)
Applied Geology (Coastal Morphology)(Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences)

Joint Design Studio, AA Architecture Association, Diploma Unit 9, ‘Third Territorial Attractor’

Transdisciplinary Lecture Series ‘Five Conversations on the Present (state of)’ Lecture Series and ‘Project’ + ‘Motion’ Masterclass Series Program. Lecture Series co-hosted with Dalhousie Universities, School of Architecture in the Faculty of Architecture and Planning, (co-sponsored with Faculty of Environmental Sciences).

For the academic year 2020-2021 the studio focuses on the de-construction and re-construction of the geographic space of four climate zones, informed by four lines of inquiry and identified scales and subjects of concern. The studio will collectively investigate the possibility of diverse spatio-temporal formations and inhabitation between land and sea—seeking a revised balance between society and nature.

The studio entails (a) collective and (b) individual work: (a) a cross-domain research project that involves historical, scientific, cultural, political and technological investigations by confronting both objective and subjective analytical and representational approaches. The role of this phase of the research is twofold: to orientate and localize the individual projects and to construct the fundaments for the studio narrative. (b) A graduation project embedded in the collective research not only in the outset but throughout the entire graduation year. The graduation thesis deals with and develops a strong proposition on the materialisation and expected outcomes of its designed project.

The studio builds upon a long-established collaborative platform (science, engineering, technology and arts) on ways of seeing/seizing, mapping, projecting change and critically acting on highly dynamic landscapes. At the core of the Delta Urbanism Research Group, the studio is embedded within/and supported by the interdisciplinary TUDelft Delta Futures Lab, in close collaboration with the CEG and TPM Faculties. Joint design studio with Architecture Association School of Architecture, Diploma Unit 9.


Four lines of inquiry
subjects. composition. alteration. limit. projections

— ‘Matter’


— ‘Topos’

— ‘Habitat’

— ‘Politics’
Climate Regime
Displacement (after belonging)

Four geographies
Temperate (special focus on the North Sea and the Dutch Delta)

Scales and subjects

Project Location
Land, coastal or sea locations/ cities and specific sites at one of the four (climate) geographies. The coastal zonewill be defined by the level of exposure and scope of action of each individual project. The specific project location is of choice/ open to each individual project.

Studio Assignment
During the graduation year students will be asked to reflect on aspects of spatial morphology (scale, form, structure, performance), landform (geology, altimetry/bathymetry, topography), and the diachrony and diversity of mechanisms (e.g. extractivism, logistics, energy production, coastal management, migration) re-shaping the land-sea dynamics. TT studio individual projects will be sited in different coastal locations of choice. Students are encouraged, starting from their personal motivation, to formulate their own assignment, which may vary from constructions and public works to urban areas, landscapes and regions.

Studio 2020-2021 Program

Following the lessons learned in the past 2017-2020 cycle on the North Sea, the studio starts a new three year-long research and pedagogical project (research by design studio) on trans-coastal and climate zones: ‘Inland, seaward’.

The studio offers an interdisciplinary and collaborative applied program, structured by a lecture series and masterclass with invited lecturers from relevant fields of knowledge on contemporary critical spatial theory, representation and practice. Two studio exhibitions and symposia with visiting critics will mark the closure of MSc3 (December 2020) and MSc4 (June 2021) by presenting collective and individual results. Inland, seaward. The trans-coastal project aims at developing practical approaches by design to socio-spatial and ecological coherence and equity. This is achieved by material and localized interventions generating applicable urban design knowledge — working across fields of knowledge, scales and subjects, endogenous and exogenous forces.


The studio is structured into two phases:

MSc3—Research Module

September-November 2020: Collective research phase (parallel to individual proposal/ research hypothesis development), concluded with the production of an Atlas, digital research platform and curatorial project.

November 2020: study field trip and online field work project

December 2020: development of the individual design concept, one-day symposium and exhibition with invited external design critics.

October 2020-February 2021: Lecture Series ‘Oppositions’ and Masterclass Series ‘Project’ and ‘Motion’ with invited lecturers from different fields of knowledge and partner institutions reflecting/ informing on contemporary material and ecological practices.


MSc4—Design Module

January 2021-June 2021: Individual design phase, guided by studio exercises and workshops on design thinking, representation and new media.

June 2021: End-of-the-year studio exhibition and symposium with external design critics reflecting on the final outcomes of the studio.